Granted: 6 days and 6 nights into Mission Creek 2010, there were likely only a few frequencies still registering on my bruised and battered eardrums when the night began, but still, is it just me or did the Blue Moose sound spectacular for Camera Obscura on Saturday night?
I’m very stoked about the Blue Moose overall, but I can’t say that it sounds great every night. This week I was really conscious of how much it matters who’s running the board, and I must say I was super proud of our local crew. Especially the roamers that I saw at almost every venue, helping out wherever and whenever needed. Honestly, and I know this is only a drop in the bucket of your body of work, you guys totally made the festival.
Daytime Saturday: Literary Events / Support Group (for those in need of recovery from Friday night, and/or just the usual horrors of being a writer)
Everybody won at the Literary Deathmatch (follow @LitDeathMatch), and solidarity was in the air all day at the Mill as we Iowa City wordies not only lathered ourselves in great readings, but also got nitty gritty with our brothers and sisters of the free press. Together, brothers and sisters. Together we shall stay afloat upon the word, in print, on line, spoken, you name it – and we’ll do it ouuuuuurrrr waaaayyyyyyyy….
Saturday night was one of those nights that everything got fucked up, and then somehow everything worked out perfectly. Nothing was on time, orders were changed completely. For example, at Gabe’s, Grant Hart didn’t play last (as was scheduled) because someone noticed it would be unfair to ask anyone to play after The Tanks. They were right. Many things were simply late, but most of them were late to the same degree. By the time it was all said and done, it must have occurred to festival organizers time and time again that they couldn’t have planned it better themselves.
Wave of the future. Embrace it. Be it. Great for musicians because you just turn it on and do it. You can close your eyes the whole time if it helps. And then it’s over. If it was awesome, it will be a beautiful, singular moment. If it sucked, hey you tried and you were so cute about it! It’s not like you made us sit there and watch you all night.
Illinois John Fever at Dawn's at Dusk - Mission Creek 2010
Next Wave: Short Nights
One Saturday night per month – fuck that – every Saturday night: Get all the venues to share the bill, 3 bands per, and sell wristbands that’ll get you in all night, at all venues (make it under $10, no matter who it is). Stagger the shows like you did all week for Mission Creek, and all the bars will fill up properly at least a couple of times throughout the night, and with a more diverse group of people! People will try hippie music and punk music and pop music and hippie punk pop music, hell they’ll even go listen to funk if it’s included with the wristband! Come on! Let’s do it! $10 gets you into all the venues, every Saturday night = Iowa City becomes the world capital of trying out bands you wouldn’t have really paid to see, but are glad you did anyway.
Camera Obscura packed the house.
People came from miles around because they could: It was a Saturday, and it was Camera Obscura. And then they went to a bunch of other kickass shows, because they were going on.
Okay maybe this has more to do with Short Nights than it does with Camera Obscura. Stephanie loves Camera Obscura … GO READ HER COMMENTARY!
Did you notice how the Diplomats went on right after Camera Obscura and filled the evening’s pocket with some soul?
Well, it’s okay if you didn’t because a lot of other people did. The dance floor got busy at around 10 pm for the Diplomats, and hopefully at the same time there were also plenty of people at Gabe’s for Supersonic Piss. Set up to block the top of the Gabe’s stairwell, they were, so you know they cared if you were there. (Dork. LOL.)
Casiotone at Public Space One
Did anyone notice that Anni Rossi cancelled? Probably many of you did, but then were just stoked that Casiotone for the Painfully Alone played right at the perfect time, all messed up though everything was, practically right in between Family Van’s set and Grant Hart’s at Gabe’s.
Walking into a surprisingly well-lit Public Space One was a little bit like walking in late to a lecture, and I’d have to say Casiotone can lecture to me anytime. Based on what I own of his catalogue, even if he isn’t quite as inventive (many casiotone albums sound an awful lot like the last), I believe he shares the Shocklee brothers’ commitment to making real, heavy, elaborating beats. Where Chuck D spoke firmly and clearly, Casiotone also manages to consistently convey weight while mumbling. Public Enemy is a riot in a bottle, Casiotone is empathy. I recommend drinking both in hardy doses. I really appreciated the way he conversed with the audience, took requests, and generally just hung out with us. Did you notice how Bomb Squad was the same way? Gosh, what a festival!
Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Public Space One
Grant Hart at Gabe's
You know, sometimes, a guy with a guitar and an amp is all you need… Provided it’s the right guy, with the right guitar, the right amp, the right night, the right place, the right time, et cetera.
It also helps if that guy is (most famous as) a drummer. Guitar players . . . Who wants to listen to guitar players? Fuck that.
Thanks to his work as a founding member of Hüsker Dü, artist Grant Hart is responsible for many of the sounds and images that come to mind when we close our eyes and think “punk,” and a few nights ago, I got to stand around with him and listen to him play songs on a cool old guitar, into a really cool amp, in a room he’s probably been playing to for a really long time. I’d have to say that was pretty rad.
Alright! Everyone that’s straightedge! Punk someone that’s not straightedge! Everyone that’s not straightedge! Punk someone that’s straightedge! Go!
If I heard correctly, this is how the song began that pitted two guest vocalist punks against each other, in the pit, at Gabe’s, with a big crowd screaming along.
The pyrotechnics may not have gone as planned, but I swear to god I saw bottle rockets on the ground (obviously an excellent plan), and I can only imagine they never got lit because no one could see through the smoke bomb to light them. Cool and the gang, the fiber-optic ceiling needed to come down eventually and our lungs will recover. Crazy bastards.
The Tanks at Gabe's (Photo by Matt Butler)
Overheard said at the “secret venue”
What are those mattresses for?
They’re to keep people like you out.
and, from Eddie of Permanent Vacation (possibly the best short set, if only for it’s timing):
We had this space in Minneapolis that we had to move out of. Grant Hart just showed up with his truck and a trailer and his mom or his grandma with him, saying “hey I hear you guys need some help? I heard there’s some punks down here that need some help.”
Permanent Vacation, Photo by Matt Butler
Also at the secret venue:
What’s up with all these god damn songs? I’ve heard better dance music coming out of Slippery Pete’s. Is Lady Espina the only DJ in Iowa City who’s balls have dropped?
Rob Merritt, well known throughout the region’s arts, journalism and nonprofit sectors, established himself as a playwright in 2011 when The Summerland Project premiered as part of Theatre Cedar Rapids’...