Iowa All Stars Tour: Curt Oren is getting the bands back together

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Curt Oren returns to Iowa City on his "Iowa All Stars Tour" Friday, March 27 at the Trumpet Blossom
Curt Oren returns to Iowa City Friday, March 27 as part of his “Iowa All Stars Tour” at the Trumpet Blossom

The Iowa All Stars Tour

Trumpet Blossom Cafe — Friday, March 27 at 9 p.m.

Curt Oren, the iconoclastic saxophonist and former fixture of the Iowa City music scene, heads back to town to kick off his Iowa All Stars Tour on Friday at the Trumpet Blossom Cafe.

It’s been almost three months since Oren relocated to Minnesota and this tour is a chance for old friends to catch up, play a few shows and collectively showcase some of the best (and most outlandish) of what Iowa’s independent music scene has to offer.

“I think what’s most exciting for me coming back to the Midwest is being back with people I know and love,” Oren said. “That’s the entire reason this tour was organized in the first place, to have a chance to hang out with my friends that I only get to see maybe every month or so.”

The tour features Dana T, Extravision, Dylan Sires and Neighbors, along with Brooks Strause and The Suicidal Ideations (a band specifically created for this tour only). All of the acts are made up of local Iowa artists who have strong bonds with one another that began far before this tour. Though Oren has played with all of these musicians previously, the tour promises to take their collaborations to an entirely different level.

“All of the material that we’re playing is going to be new in some sense, as we’ll all be collaborating and making each other’s songs our own,” Oren said. “We’re all also in the process of writing, recording and releasing new records, so a great deal of the material will be completely unheard before.”

However, it’s not just the music of the tour itself that’s unique. Oren’s performances and tours always end up with some sort of ongoing joke, taking music-making to a realm of theatrics that many aren’t used to. In Oren’s most recent tour he tried, in vain, to get sponsored by Planet Fitness, and then, in his own words, took it upon himself to “spread the word about this great company” with frequent Facebook updates offering tongue-in-cheek praise for the business along with photos showing his car plastered in “Planet Fitness” stickers during the course of his tour.

“I feel like for my tours in general, and this tour especially, I try to make them more than just some guy playing music for you,” Oren said. “This tour is just going to be seven buds in a car for 10 days, so the opportunity for jokes is endless.”

The tour will make stops in places like Cedar Falls, Ames and Fairfield in addition to towns outside of Iowa such as Columbia, Missouri and Rock Island, Illinois. Each stop will be just as theatrical, engaging and odd as the last, but never quite the same.

“These shows are going to be completely unlike anything people have seen from these bands. We’re all good friends, and we all have a great respect for each other’s music,” Oren said. “We’ll also all be collaborating with each other in new and different ways each night, so each performance promises to be a wholly unique experience that won’t ever happen again.”

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