Iowa City Weekender: November 17-19

Hello and welcome back to another edition of the Weekender. As Thanksgiving week approaches, we all aim to take a few shortcuts to getting what really matters about the holiday: eating a lot of food, spending time with people that you care about and drinking box wine. This week’s column is no different. In a regular week, I take the time to filter things into my own language from releases, emails, websites and the like. I’m going to skip that filtering step. This edition will feature selective quoting with commentary added when needed. Alright, let’s move onto Thursday, or today.


‘The Rotten Truth About Human Behavior: Society Through the Lens of Garbage’ // UI Natural History Museum, Biosphere Discovery Lab (3rd Floor) // 7:00 PM // Free, All Ages

I became interested in this event by the title of the talk. It’s a really smart thing to talk about. When you think back in time and think about all that prior trash, it would be interesting to learn more about it and what it can tell us about a civilization. Here’s a description of the talk:

Intentionally discarded materials make up the bulk of the archaeological record. In other words, we see past societies largely through their garbage. How does this shape our understanding of them? How do conclusions based on garbage differ from conclusions based on interviews or written histories? How can we accurately interpret the garbage patterns of non-industrial societies, given that our relationship to trash in the modern U.S. is so different?

This talk is a part of the Explorers Seminar Series being run by the museum. More information can be found at their website.

Mates of State w/ Generationals // Blue Moose Tap House // 7:00 PM // $15 Adv., $17 Day of Show; 19+

Mates of State were born of chance encounters in Lawrence, Kansas. After 14 years and a lot of hard work playing shows around the world, the husband-and-wife duo of Kori Garder and Jason Hammel have risen to the top of the indie rock scene. Known for their emotional lyrics and strong songwriting, the voices of Garder and Hammel combine into excellent harmonies that fill nice, clicking synth pop-style instrumentation. The new album Mountaintops continues in this vein while making some small refinements. The release is another quality release to their solid oeuvre. If you like Spoon or indie rock bands in that vein, Mates of State is worth the door price. Generationals are playing in support. They were here in April of this year. This was how I described their music then:

Their music culls heavily from the AM radio era as they record on analog technology and very much recall the harmonies of girl groups and the melodies of pop bands at that time. While they are calling upon that sound, they are not pure revivalists as they mix these analog sounds with synthesizers, drum machines, and considerably more modern, new wave flourishes.

This should be a solid show for a Thursday night. You can get tickets at the door or online.


Greg Brown w/ The Pines // Englert Theatre // 8:00 PM // $25, All Ages

From my own perspective, Greg Brown is an excellent folk musician. I’m not going to describe him though; I’ll let this rather elaborate sentence from the Englert do it:

One of American folk music’s most prolific and profound singer/songwriters of the past three decades, Greg Brown has earned respect from his peers and a far-flung, passionately-devoted fan-base via a burnished, intimate baritone, a seemingly effortless gift for swinging, organic melody and–perhaps most of all–a humble, unvarnished poetic grace that can imbue even the most mundane, everyday human endeavors and emotions with quiet dignity, startling insight and gently twisted humor

I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Seriously though, it’s a show worth checking out for all the folk fans.

Jeremy Messersmith w/ Lucy Michelle & the Velvet Lapelles & Joe Fassler // The Mill // 9:00 PM // $8, 19+

Jeremy Messersmith writes very nice, tidy pop songs. The lyrics can be a little dark, but the music itself is very poppy and serves as a nice contrast. When he decides to go more acoustic, his distinct voice works very well and gives him a little bit a grit, adding a country/folk edge to the music. His music would appeal to fans of Sondre Lerche, Nick Drake, and Kings of Convenience. He’ll be playing with Minneapolis-based gypsy folk band Lucy Michelle & The Velvet Lapelles and Joe Fassler.

If you are on the fence on this show, watch this video. The song is beautiful and the video is Star Wars done in paper animation:


The Uniphonics w/ Mad Monks & Twin Cats // Gabe’s // 8:00 PM // $7, 19+


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The Uniphonics are back from their tour to Colorado, and it appears from the flyer that they are definitely trying to party with their friends Mad Monks and Twin Cats as well as their fans. They are so committed to the party that, starting at 8 PM, there is a free keg. On top of free beer, you’ll get some good music from some of the best bands working in this city. If the free keg wasn’t enough to make up your mind, there is also a picture of Bob Ross painting happy trees on the flyer. That should sell all of the non-believers.

The Big Lebowski // Englert Theatre // 12:00 AM // $3 General, Free with UI ID; 18+

A classic of the cult circuit, one of your friends has probably quoted this movie at you, with or without your knowledge. A movie about one big payday and a great amount of intrigue, the star of this movie is a man that should be an icon to all: The Dude. A great film that peppers its mystery with ample amounts of comedy, this is a solid midnight movie to watch.

In a last event, LV Arts Editor Kent Williams will be spinning as Chaircrusher. He’s spinning with DJ Supa Rusty as a part of the celebration for Clancy Everafter’s new release Iowania. The show is free at the Blue Moose. The doors open at 8:00 PM. If you want to dance this Saturday, definitely spin into the Blue Moose.

I won’t be here next week, but I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. Take care and have a good weekend! We’ll see you in two weeks!


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