Deep in the heart of Rock Island, every Monday night, something very special is happening. People of all ages venture out around 7:30pm and head to Rozz Tox, a hip little coffee shop that is so much more than just a place to have tea. In the back there is a performance hall where live music is enjoyed during the evening hours. One would suspect that a Friday or a Saturday night would be the busiest of times here, but Moeller Mondays have changed that.
I had the very fortunate opportunity to sit down with Sean Moeller, the man behind this phenomenon and got to pick his brain over all the cool things he gets to do for his job and what he envisions for our community.
Sean grew up in Bettendorf and went to the University of Iowa, majoring in Journalism. He had already been working at the QC Times since his junior high days and continued to do so throughout college and after graduation. He was a sports reporter but talked his way into being able to attend and review live shows and that grew into freelance opportunities. As he began covering more and more musicians, Sean felt compelled to feature the lesser known, more rare artists that didn’t receive as much publicity as the bigger, more famous ones did; he wanted to cover what no one else was reviewing.
And that ideal is also the inspiration behind Daytrotter.
Daytrotter is a website that features recording sessions of bands that are traveling across the country; Sean books them in the studio for a short time that works into the artists’ tour schedule and releases the music online.
It was a natural progression of what Sean has already been doing and it came together smoothly, like it was meant to be. With a sound engineering friend who already had studio space and an extensive list of musical contacts from his reporting years, Horseshack studio opened 2006 at 2025 18th Street in Rock Island, where they still record at for now. Very soon the studio will move to a new location in downtown Davenport where there will also be a live music venue with a bar that can house 300 people.
Sean Moeller has done a lot of the music scene of the Quad Cities and it can be seen at Moeller Mondays. The last one I attended the band Built to Spill dropped in for a quick set, joining three other fantastic bands: Kansas Bible Company, Springtime Carnivore, and Alanna Royale. There were about 100 people dancing into the night together listening to amazing music, where else are you going to find that in the Quad Cities? On a Monday night?!
Each week the line up of musicians changes and the genres vary too. It used to be that the artists performing were kept a secret until the doors opened, however now Sean is promoting who he books on Mondays to continue the momentum and keep building up a following. Many of the people who go to Moeller Mondays are the same each week and it has grown into a little community with a feeling of camaraderie amongst those who attend. It has become about more than just music, it is about a shared experience.
Sean has plans for the scene in the Quad Cities and how we experience music. He wants to keep growing Moeller Mondays, have live shows in downtown Davenport at the new Daytrotter space, and continue to work with the Codfish Hallow Barnstorms, a barn outside of Maquoketa that is quickly becoming one of the hottest spots around to see live music. He also has plans for new music venues to where he will be have several different avenues to choose from when deciding where to book whom, a pretty cool idea and one that our community will only benefit from.
Go check out a Moeller Monday at Rozz Tox, visit www.daytrotter.com to see which of your favorite musicians has visited the studio (there’s a good chance they’ll be on there), and support live, local music.