I want to start with a partial R.I.P. to The White Lightning Wherehouse. As Drew Bulman reported here, last week, the city paid a visit to the space and shut it down for live performances indefinitely. I’m not going to engage in any discussion of who is in the right and who is in the wrong. This is misplaced as the space is still doing its job: serving the artistic community of Iowa City by providing a space for bands to practice and artists to do their work. That said, the shows and the vibe there will both be missed. It’s going to be a huge loss to the community, one that will be felt for a while.
There is an upside to this whole thing though. Not too long ago, I saw a band from the Lehigh Valley (Pennsylvania) play at Public Space One. They commented on how cool it was that we had a space like that where small bands could get a gig, a place that fostered local creativity. They said they didn’t have anything like it in their home town. I remember thinking to myself how lucky we were to have two, when some places have none. So, that is why this is only a partial R.I.P.. The D.I.Y./ Indie scene isn’t dead in Iowa City because PS1 is still very much around (not to mention all the house shows). There is still a place for smaller bands to play here in town, and White Lightning can continue foster art without doing shows. Most importantly, while this might be true for some, the people who were at those shows at the Wherehouse haven’t gone anywhere. We’re still pounding the pavement and pushing pedals through this town. The spirit’s still in my heart and I’m sure it’s in many of theirs. Making room for local and touring bands to play, helping them find a place to stay–these things will never die in Iowa City. There will always be a way to get it done.
Alright, that’s enough on this. There’s a lot going on this weekend. The summer is here in full force now. It’s not official yet, but that’s slowly changing. Let’s go do things!
Everyday/Everynight w/ Homebody Fury & The Poor Nobodys // The Mill // 9:00 PM // $6, 19+
Hailing from Kansas City, Everyday/Everynight are an indie-rock band that take a thoughtful approach to their music, integrating elements of art rock and the drastic shifts of math rock into their distinct, urgent sound. They do not fall into the wave of indistinct indie-rock bands that seem to pop up more and more frequently as their music clearly has heart and musical skill in abundance. Sandwiched between Homebody Fury (who will play last) and The Poor Nobodys, Everyday/Everynight’s sound and style are well suited to the intimate confines of the Mill.
Gallery Walk // Downtown Iowa City // 5:00 PM // Free, All Ages
UIMA First Friday // hotelVetro // 5:00 PM // $5, 18+
Arts Fest weekend gets started with a gallery walk on Friday. (Find complete details on the Downtown Association’s homepage). Once you finish the gallery walk, mosey over to the hotelVetro for First Friday with the University of Iowa Art Museum. This event will offer an excellent opportunity to reconnect with the UI art museum, which has been looking for a home ever since the flood since the flood of 2008, and to find the others in town who share your love for the arts. You will be able to see Man Ray’s controversial 1926 “cinepoem” Emak Bakia, which is a part of UIMA’s video collection, as well as work from the talented participants of the Digital Media Academy, a new program started by We Are The World, an organization that works with at-risk youth in the local area. Sushi will be provided by Formosa and Doug Roberson (Diplomats of Solid Sound) will be spinning classic soul tracks for the entire event.
Big Funk Guarantee w/ Nikki Lunden & The Paper Hearts // Iowa City Yacht Club // 9:00 PM // $6, 19+
There are a lot of shows this weekend. I’m just going to put that out there. I could have easily written about the Simon Joyner show at the Mill (9:00 PM // $10, 21+–Facebook event page here) on this day or the Mud Dauber showcase at the Blue Moose (9:00 PM // $5, 21+), both of which will be excellent shows featuring lovely singer-songwriters. The reason that I didn’t is because it’s the summer and, I don’t know about the rest of you, but sometimes it’s nice not to think too hard and just groove. Big Funk Guarantee promise to bring the funk groove to your body. The outlet for Benny Soltau’s work, the band has a smooth soul/funk groove, perfect for the relaxed groove of the summer. Coming with excellent musicality and beautiful singing by Amanda Miller, Big Funk Guarantee will deliver what your body has been craving: a reason to dance and party.
Iowa Arts Festival // Downtown Iowa City // 10:00 AM // Free, All Ages
Spanning Saturday and Sunday, the Iowa Arts Festival will feature art in a variety of media. There are painters, photographers, sculptors, metalsmiths, jewelry makers, fiber artists, woodworkers, and 18 bands/artists that will be playing on two different stages downtown. If this isn’t enough, there will also be a culinary row where local and national restaurants will be serving up festival fare. Add Global Village, where kids can travel around the world in one day, and Children’s Day (Sunday), where artists will let children get their hands in the mix and make their own art, and the Iowa Arts Festival offers a little something for everyone.
The Dodos w/ Gauntlet Hair // The Mill // 9:00 PM // $10 Adv., $12 Day of Show; 19+
The Dodos exist at an intersection between sounds, something that can be seen on their most recent release No Color. On one side of their sound, there is the powerful drumming of Logan Kroeber, which recalls the dynamics of early Microphones records, switching from bombastic to restrained at the drop of a dime. Flip to another side, and you will find the intricate guitar work of Meric Long, featuring a lot of country-style finger picking mixed with straight ahead guitar rocking. Holding the album together are the soft, vulnerable voice of Long and the assertive voice of guest vocalist Neko Case. While I would never dream about this combination sounding good–how could such a psychotic mash-up of sounds ever completely work?–No Color is an excellent album from The Dodos, one that will stick with you. In addition to being excellent in the studio, The Dodos are excellent on stage as they bring the audience into their maelstrom of sound. With Gauntlet Hair in support, this show will be a solid bet for your Saturday night post-Arts Festival.
As you can see, there is plenty to do this weekend. Get out with your family, loved one(s), and/or friends and just enjoy your life. Keep it simple and have an excellent weekend!
If you would see your event here, email details and dates to the Weekender at Weekender@LittleVillageMag.com!