SLEEPWALKERS w/ Twins, Good Habits, Younger: 7/10/2014 @ Yacht Club (Iowa City, IA)
The show was originally advertised by the venue as starting at 10 PM and having just two bands perform (Sleepwalkers as headliner, Twins as opener), but the bill somehow doubled to include the bands Younger and Good Habits (while staying at the low cover of $5…way to go, Yacht Club!). I was running a little late, as I took the Dubuque St exit, only to find the road was underwater with no alternate routes from there to get downtown, so I had to double back on the interstate to find another way there). I believe Twins (from Waterloo, not from Germany) began their set right as I took the stairs down to the Yacht Club basement (about 10:20 PM), so I missed the entire performance by Younger.
After hearing Twins perform live, I’d say their sound is more reminiscent of Rockpile (Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe) than Thin Lizzy or Badfinger, but I wasn’t too far off. Twins plays some enjoyable throwback ’70s power pop and they had the crowd dancing. They’re a straightforward guitar-based band that I’d definitely be interested in hearing again. The set was short (eight songs total) and a few people asked for an encore…I didn’t disagree with that sentiment.
Sleepwalkers (from Milwaukee) played third. These guys play guitar rock, but I couldn’t pinpoint what their sound was reminiscent of (I’d still guess late-period Replacements). I found their songwriting to be a little too formulaic: There was an over-reliance on the tonic, subdominant and dominants for verses and choruses to songs, as well as the falling subdominant suspension (4-3) to the supertonic (2), but they did at least intersperse with some other chords to disguise the basic formulas underneath. Overall, they’re a good-sounding, well-rehearsed indie bar band (they also had some good banter between songs), but I don’t think any of their tunes will stick in your head the next day. There just wasn’t a lot of variety in the set.
I hadn’t heard of Good Habits (Iowa City) before. The trio seems to be a garage-punk hybrid. The first few songs didn’t win me over, but they did eventually crank out some older-style punk tunes that got my attention. Their fourth song was a bouncy type of punk music and the catchiest thing of the night (of what I heard). One of the songs towards the end of the set had a chorus with the same chords as “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone”, which I thought was fitting. I heard elements of Black Flag, Mudhoney and Cloud Nothings. The drummer played some good fills. Hopefully the guitarist’s amp issues aren’t serious. One bit of advice: The bassist may want to stay on the mic when doing backing vocals instead of gradually drifting away before the end of each line.