The War On Drugs played Mission Creek at Gabe’s 3/30/2012. Photos Courtesy Kacie Krominga
Mission Creek started low and quiet Friday night as people slowly filed into Gabe’s to see the lo-fi bill that promised a night of dreamy textures and pop sensibility.
Kicking off the night was Iowa City’s own Savage Young Taterbug and Wet Hair, both known for their hauntingly loony storytelling and spastic syncopation. Together they carried the audience into a hypnotic state filled with surly vocals, hair-raising instrumentation and delicately crafted mixes.
Dirty Beaches slowly roused the fans from their trance to an upbeat frenzy with Alex Zhang Hungtai’s own blend of eerie cinematic distortion. Hungtai’s capitvated his audience by switching from shoe gaze behavior to thrashing his guitar and shouting at distant figures, demanding the attention of all in attendance.
The four-piece Philadelphia act The War on Drugs washed over the crowd like an evening breeze, performing mid-tempo anthems suited for long road-trips and scenic bike rides. The songs fleeted in and out of consciousness without even an introduction or a conclusion, filling the air with jangling guitars, fluttering trumpets and the strained bellows of Adam Granduciel. With the exit of band co-founder Kurt Vile, the band seems to have picked up where they left off, picking up the charming style of Granduciel and his drifting harmonica, bringing the rock influences of Springsteen, Dylan and Sonic Youth to the forefront. The War on Drugs brought the show to a halting climax with the guitar driven anthem “Baby Missiles” making it clear to everyone in attendance that the drugs have won.
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’...