Iowa City Weekender: May 23-26

4onthefloor play alongside Filligar and The Western Front at The Mill on Friday, May 24.

School’s over, and what that mainly means to me is less country rap on my block and more parking for my gigantic vehicle. What it might mean to you is that you’ve got a bunch of time on your hands and nothing to do. Well, here it is: some stuff to do this Memorial Day weekend.

Thursday 5/23

Third Annual Shelter House Reading | 7pm | Prairie Lights

A relaxing and philanthropic way to start your weekend. Of the Folk is the publication and theme this year, promising stories of laundromats and butcher knives. 10% of all purchases this day at Prairie Lights will go to Shelter House, Iowa City, so even if you can’t make it for the reading, go pick up a darn book! More info at the Prairie Lights website.

Yo La Tengo | 8pm | The Englert | $25

Like The Sea and Cake and Sufjan Stevens, Yo La Tengo brings back memories of my last years of high school and my first days in Iowa City… and the first time I discovered Pitchfork Media. As I was coming out of a nu-metal phase that I don’t like to talk about, iTunes, Yo La Tengo, and Pitchfork pulled me into a whole new indie hipster realm, just in time for the University and my inevitable run with KRUI. Though I’ve now fallen off with both Yo La Tengo and Pitchfork in the last 6+ years (and gone into a whiskey-fueled alcoholic rage *winkwink*), songs like “Moby Octopad” and “Sugarcube” from 1997’s I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One still hit some heart-strings. It’s almost like my heart is beating with theirs all together…as one. Their sound has grown and changed over their centuries-long career and as most write-ups state, they remain one of the most respected and critically acclaimed musical acts in the business. Treat yourself to this one, you will not be disappointed.

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Soulshake (downstairs) and Mixology (upstairs) | 10pm | Gabe’s | 19+

So once you’ve been sufficiently chilled by the Tengo, might as well head to Gabe’s to dance! You can kick it downstairs with Joe D and his decks or upstairs with the light-up hula-hoops and computers. Win-win in my book! Mixology this week will serve as a launch to the Detroit Electronic Music Festival (DEMF) and EDC Chicago and will feature Matt Rissi and BTsunami.

Friday 5/24

Party on the Patio | 6pm | Gabe’s | Free

So you slept in Friday morning because you danced like a maniac and now it’s about 5pm and you’re getting a little hungry…might as well go kick it with DJCJ and Rich Rok! Get a few drinks in ya and you might end up dancing some more. Cheap drinks, free food.

4onthefloor w. Filligar, The Western Front | 9pm | The Mill | $10

4onthefloor is some down-home rock and roll, sounds kinda Southern, and a song title like “Junkie” makes you wonder. But with an album title like The Spirit of Minneapolis, I’m pretty sure these guys live north of us. Filligar was touted as one of the best American bands by a blog in Boston and opened for the Counting Crows, they play keyboard-based melodic blues. The Western Front bring the spirit of Iowa to their home base, fun, folk-tinged pop in flannel.

Video direct link

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Saturday 5/25

Iowa Renaissance Festival | 11am to 6pm, Saturday through Monday | Amana Colonies

As with everything these Internet days, people don’t know how to spell it so they shorten it. Ala, Renfest. This year’s Iowa Renfest (yes I have trouble spelling it too so I’m using it) takes place in the beautiful Amana Colonies, the perfect place for an event like this. Six stages of entertainment, jousting, a bazaar, food court, beer garden, wine room, and history lessons; because we all need to be reminded that Game of Thrones takes place on a fantasy planet and that there were actual people on Earth with similar real life stories and skills (minus the dragons and magic…maybe?). All details can be found here.

The Shivas w. Raw Mojo, Jeff Roalson, Crystal City | 9pm | Gabe’s | $6 | 19+

The Shivas hail from Portland but I wouldn’t pin them with a Portland sound, at least not with the older stuff that I’ve heard. Psych-influenced garage-y riffs with male/female dual vocals, works out very nicely. Raw Mojo is always a fun one to see here in Iowa City and the bill rounds out with other local support Jeff Roalson and Crystal City.

Sunday 5/26

Shaved Women w. Supersonic Piss, Conetrama | 7pm | The Trumpet Blossom Cafe | Suggested donation

Full disclosure: author’s band is playing/producing this show


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So you’ve spent all day watching the new Arrested Development, like I surely will have (if Netflix can keep their sh*t together), and you don’t have anything to do tomorrow because it’s Memorial Day (hallelujah!), and there are two awesome punk shows blocks away from each other, admission for little or no money. Sounds like a pretty killer Sunday.

The first is this one! Shaved Women hail from St. Louis and sure know how to put on a show. When I think of Shaved Women or listen to Shaved Women, all I can really say is ‘heavy’ and ‘punk as f*ck’. Killer breakdowns, catchy hooks and an out-of-control live show. Supersonic Piss are a buncha blunderbusses just blunderbussin’ the blunder outta the busses. Their music is also good. I DUNNO GUYS I HATE WRITING ABOUT MY OWN BAND. Conetrama seems really tight, they’re in high school and according to your good friend Joe Ross, they are ‘catchy but punk as f*ck’. As if the two can’t be mutually exclusive! THIS STARTS RIGHT AT 8PM because they are in high school! Anyway this one will be really fun and the Trumpet Blossom is an awesome place, come hang out and we’ll talk about Arrested Development and then people will scream at you!

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Good Habits w. Truck or Dead Horse, Point From Rooftops | 8pm | Gabe’s | Free

Some other homies are playing down the street at Gabe’s around the same time, but it is in the writer’s humble opinion that maybe this show should start later so people can go to both! Maybe someone will read it. If not, come on, just go back and forth, you need a jog anyway.

Good Habits is a unique Iowa City offering, some of the only two-piece guitar pop and they do it well. Truck or Dead Horse features some of my favorite dudes now residing in Chicago, prog-influenced rockers. Point From Rooftops is noise, I’m pretty sure, and noise is awesome. No way to correct me if I’m wrong!

I hope I’ve given you some good weekend options. See you at Renfest, I’ll be dressed like Theon Greyjoy!

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