About seven months ago I began working in the Iowa City area, which kept me here a few nights a week and allowed me to check out some of the local bands and venues. Next week I start a new job that will take me away from Iowa City, essentially bringing the IC Noise music blog to a close.
Here are my closing thoughts on the Iowa City music scene: There are fewer active local indie rock bands than I imagined when I first arrived here. The most common genre of music played by local groups seems to be of the “jam band” variety. There are some nice venues here and the occasional open calendar dates lead me to believe local and outside bands could easily find gigs here.
Here are some final IC Noise statistics:
First post: March 29, 2014
Last post: October 12, 2014
Shows reviewed: 12
Albums reviewed: 2
Posthumous Rank Is: Garbage Scow Captain, Class 3
Thanks for reading!
Yes, I’m still here. No, I haven’t been to any shows in or near Iowa City lately. Yes, I’ve been busy with both good and bad things. No, I won’t go into detail here. Yes, the U of I students are back so more shows will be happening at the bars. No, I’m not familiar with electronic group Cosby Sweater…
Last night I headed over to Gabe’s to hear a folk-pop trio from Sioux City called Illium. The band was a no-show, which is too bad because they would’ve had a bit of a crowd to play for (people were hanging out, even with some last-minute improvised acoustic music filling in for their absence).
Tomorrow night I may go check out a show at The Mill featuring Furia (from Northfield, MN), with Cedar Rapids band Bull Black Nova opening. Music starts at 9 PM, $8 cover, 19+. Those who want to get more bang for their buck may instead head to the Blue Moose, where you can hear five acts for $10.
THE SAPWOODS w/ Dylan Sires and Neighbors: 6/12/2014 @ Public Space One (Iowa City, IA)
The Sapwoods (who I’ve written about a couple of times already, and plan to write about again soon) held an album release show at Public Space One in Iowa City, located downtown next to the United Methodist Church (and at least part of the building containing Public Space One seems to be under the church’s ownership). The music performance area has a nice stage and a PA system appropriate for the space (loud but not overpowering). The sale of alcohol is prohibited there (possibly a combined result of all the liquor license red tape and the UMC’s stance on alcohol), but The Sapwoods came prepared by offering complimentary chips, cookies and soda!
Dylan Sires and Neighbors (from Waterloo, IA) served as the opening band. I’ve heard and read a lot of positive comments about the group but I don’t believe I had ever heard them (live or recorded) until this past Thursday night. Despite the band’s performance starting over an hour late, which had negative ramifications (shortened sets by both bands, rushed sound setup), I have to say the band otherwise is really worthy of the hype.
What do they sound like? Some of the songs have a bouncy feel, accenting on the beat. If I had to compare them to another group, I’d say they sound a bit like the mid to late ’60s work of The Kinks. Dylan plays a 6-string Rickenbacker through a Fender tube amp (was it a Blues DeVille?), and the resulting tone is excellent. The bassist is a tall guy who plays some good lines and provides decent backing vocals. Both the bassist and drummer play to complement the songs, rather than take them over, and the two communicate well on stage with each other.
What impressed me most about this group was their song arrangements. The songwriting is decent (mostly standard major and minor chords), but any bands wanting to learn how to keep the listener’s attention by way of arrangements would do well to study this group. I can’t think of an Iowa band from the past twenty years who’s done it better. A song introduced as “Standing in Line” started out average, but then went into so many variations that drew you in and kept your attention as it went on (I especially liked the part in three). I strongly recommend checking out Dylan Sires and Neighbors’ live show if you get the chance.
Again, I’ll write more about The Sapwoods soon.
Tonight local group The Sapwoods is having a CD release show at Public Space One (120 N Dubuque St) in Iowa City. Opening is Waterloo band Dylan Sires and Neighbors. $5 cover.
Alpha Consumer cancelled their show at Gabe’s this past Tuesday. So much for that plan. And, as I suspected, I was not able to attend any of the dates of the Firecracker 500 Festival.
Not a week has passed, and I’ve already decided to change the name of the blog. My first choice, “ihearic” (I Hear I.C.), didn’t seem to be used for music blogs. Then I recently discovered a local community organization, iHearIC, that hosts monthly art events. So…now I’m going with “IC Noise”.
The Mission Creek Festival is taking place next week, and I’m still contemplating which show(s) I want to attend.