Iowa City Weekender: September 30-October 2

Iowa City is pulling out all the stops to welcome visitors for homecoming weekend, so here are the things we are most looking forward to:


The Poison Control Center w. Utopia Park, Mumfords | Gabe’s | 7:00 p.m. | $5, All Ages

Some of the state’s most promising indie artists will be at Gabe’s tonight with high energy shows that will get your weekend started properly.

The Poison Control Center, from Ames, have been perfecting their jump kicks and somersaults since their 2001 release, The Go-Go Music Show. With their latest release, Sad Sour Future, the band has officially burst onto the national scene, with great reviews coming in from coast to coast.

Give it a listen now on MySpace

Supporting acts, Utopia Park (formerly Porno Galactica) and Mumfords (Utopia Park + a bunch of other people), are also not to be missed. Drink your red bull, put on some ill fitting clothes and plan on thrashing around upstairs this Thursday night to some big, fun (okay, Sad Sour, if they insist) indie jams.


Gov’t Mule w. Yonder Mountain String Band | UI Pentacrest | 7:30 p.m. | FREE

Warren Haynes and Allen Woody of The Allman Brothers Band started Gov’t Mule in 1994 as a side project. When Allen Woody passed away in 2000 it was unclear what would become of the new band, which was heavier than The Allman Brothers and had established arguably greater mass appeal and a following (especially among younger listeners) almost equal to the band that had first brought them together in the ’80s.

On Woody’s passing, Haynes set out to produce a tribute album that would feature some of Allen Woody’s favorite bass players. This created collaborations with members of some of the biggest rock bands in the world spanning generations and genres, including: The Grateful Dead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Cream, Parliament Funkadelic, The Minutemen, Primus and The Who.

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This year Gov’t Mule came out with their first studio album in three years. Hit the Pentacrest this Friday to hear some of this new material as well as older tracks that draw from all of Mule’s jam rock, metal, funk and southern rock influences.

Opening the show is Yonder Mountain String Band, from Colorado, who I haven’t seen since the early ’00s, when I heard them play a 10 minute version of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” on one of the Iowa State Fair’s side stages. Very talented and funny bunch those Yonder Mountain boys.

The Thermals w. Cymbals Eat Guitars | The Mill | 7:00 p.m. | $12, All Ages

Since their formation in 2002, The Thermals have prided themselves on an excellent live show, lead singer/guitarist Hutch Harris sometimes taking it to the extreme of removing all his clothing on stage. Although the lineup has been somewhat revolving over the past eight years, their unique sound has remained a constant. Coining the term “post-pop-punk,” the band has become experts on catchy melodies, wacky yet intelligent lyrics, and downright danceable pop-punk structures. Their unique sound has caught the eye of many indie rock giants–the band has been tapped to work with members of Death Cab for Cutie, Fugazi and Explosions in the Sky, just to name a few– and such attention is not undeserved. Their live show is a do-not-miss.

Almost equally exciting is Cymbals Eat Guitars, who Village Voice named 2009’s “best new Brooklyn band.”

Click here to listen to the Cymbals Eat Guitars Daytrotter session.



Homecoming Show with Dennis McMurrin and the Demolition Band | Yacht Club | 9 p.m. | $7

The perfect way to celebrate starting the Big Ten season 1-0: Daddy-O at the Yacht Club. The king of feel-good funk in Eastern Iowa for close to 40 years, Dennis and the Demolition Band regularly blew up the Yacht Club in the late ‘80s with his guitar pyrotechnics, and bringing him back may have been Scott Kading’s prime motivation to buy and re-open the bar. There are many shredders in the world, but McMurrin is peerless when it comes to fusing virtuosity with funk; he’s the only white man alive who should be allowed to cover James Brown’s “Cold Sweat.” He plays the first Saturday night of every month at the ICYC and, although going to his monthly residency isn’t a graduation requirement at the University, it really should be.

Have a great weekend!


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