Joshua Hoffman, your regular Weekender columnist, is off on vacation. As such, this edition of the Iowa City Weekender has been hijacked by yours truly. Still reading? Great, because there are lots of exciting events to check out this weekend. Lets talk about them.
Thursday, June 20
Cursive w. Digital Leather, The Olympics | 9:00 p.m. | The Mill | $15 (19+)
There’s a soft spot in my heart for Cursive. Their unique brand of indie rock–alongside much of Omaha’s Saddle Creek record label–defined most of my hormone-addled high school years (which were crazy awkward). Fast forward a decade and Cursive are still at it, having released five albums over the last ten years.
Although Tim Kasher’s signature voice remains a Cursive staple, the band has undergone a series of creative transformations since their debut in the late ’90s (brass made a brief comeback, for one), and with their latest album a year and a half behind them–not to mention an ever-rotating cast of touring companions–it’s difficult to make any guesses as to what this show’s set list might entail.
My guess, though? It’s going to be a good one. Although they enjoy regular national tours, Cursive–and perhaps Saddle Creek Records as a whole–have made it a point to turn The Mill into a regular pit stop on their trips through the Midwest, and for good reason. Opening for Cursive are Digital Leather and The Olympics, the latter of which opened for Jeff the Brotherhood earlier this year at The Mill during the 2013 Mission Creek Festival.
Friday, June 21
Wenonah Hauter reading | Prairie Lights Book Store | 7:00 p.m. | Free
Wenonah Hauter, executive director of D.C.-based watchdog organization Food & Water Watch, will read from Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America, which discusses corporate control of food in the US as well as what individuals are doing to fight back against this corporatization of the food industry. Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System called Hauter’s book “required reading” for those interested in “reclaiming” our food industries.
The School for Scandal opening show | West High Auditorium (2901 Melrose Ave)| 8:00 p.m. | Ticket prices vary
Despite the flooding in lower City Park, Riverside Theatre’s Theatre in the Park program has found a new home in West High Auditorium. This Friday, you can catch the opening show of The School for Scandal, an “18th century satire that pokes fun at the eccentric British aristocracy and their snooty culture of gossip and extravagance.”
Lets be honest. Who can resist the chance to take the 18th century British aristocracy down a peg or two (Lets not forget the battle of Charleston!)? They’ve had it too good for too long.
Red Meat w. Crystal City, The PBJs | Gabe’s | 10:00 p.m. | $8
When I picture San Francisco’s oft-discussed Mission district, honky tonk music (their description, not mine) isn’t exactly the first thing to come to mind. Red Meat may have grown out of a garage in the Bay Area, but their music is deeply tied to its members’ childhoods in Missouri (Scott Young), Ohio (Michael Montalto), Iowa (Jill Olson, Smelley Kelley), and Oklahoma (Les James).
Self-described as “Bakersfield-style country music,” I haven’t quite gotten a handle on what that means in my brief listening sessions, but I can say for certain that this brand of country is actually quite hard to come by in Iowa City on most weekends. Roots music fans take note.
Saturday, June 22
The Noise FM w. Lizard Ballroom | Yacht Club | 10:00 p.m. | $6
The Noise FM are a beat-driven indie rock group based out of Chicago. The group initially began in 2005 as a one-off project with the intention of producing material for a benefit concern, though a short-term project soon turned into a full-time gig, and the group has been playing consistently ever since. Their songs demonstrate an impressive level of polish, typically driven by powerful vocal melodies by brothers Alex and Austin Ward. Check them out below.
Abe w. B-Tho, Jo Jo Montana, TayBeez Fasheez, Drug Muzic, DJ Pat, Cimi Hendrix | Gabe’s | 10:00 p.m. | $5
Who needs hip hop? We all need a little bit of hip hop. This show features a throng (a throng!) of mostly local hip hop artists with rapper Abe featured as the headliner. This event encourages attendees to wear all black attire, presumably as some sort of team building exercise. TayBeez Fasheez will be making an appearance at this show as well, who many may have seen via his well-produced music video for the song, “I’m from Iowa City,” seen below.
Ghost Town w. Hello Ramona, I Cry Wolfe, Dream Annabelle | Blue Moose Tap House | 6:00 p.m. | $10-12
Ghost Town hits upon a pop niche that is, as far as I can tell, an evolution of the teen pop-rock subgenres popularized by groups like Fall Out Boy and Panic at the Disco over the last decade or so. That said, their songs are catchy by design, and they don’t adhere to any one style of music. Ghost Town instead prefers to mix and match subgenres to create a sort of electro/screamo/dubstep/pop hybrid that I am officially titling “millennial rock,” because why not? If your song has a dubstep breakdown halfway through the second chorus, congratulations, you are millennial rock. Sorry, but I’m the arbiter, here.
Sunday, June 23
Super Sunday Pub Quiz | The Mill | 9:00 p.m. | $1
Here’s a gentle reminder to check out one of the best pub quizzes around.
Join Jamie and Lindsay, Mistresses of Quiz, for the cheapest non-free 90ish minutes of interactive entertainment in town! Expand your stores of useless knowledge, stretch your creative side, and (maybe) find out which of your friends is the nerdiest. $1 per person. Winning team takes home the pot, second place takes home… something. –via The Mill
Silk/Slag w. Alex Body | Gabe’s | 9:00 p.m. | Free
This show eclectic (see: sitar) show is free and features local favorite Alex Body to boot. Silk/Slag are an instrumental duo consisting of Ami Dang and ZT Christensen. The group has a penchant for complex instrumentation through a combination of sitar, bass and electronic implements, making them the perfect followup to Alex Body’s piercing voice and brooding keyboard work.
As an aside, Silk/Slag describe their sound as a “shifting pocket of floating houses, coastal drift, and dark sands,” which you can interpret how you wish.