A few years back, I visited Iowa City for the first time and went to an electronic show at a house that’s nicknamed the “Breast Imagining Center.”
A small group of people were gathered around the fire outside drinking beer from John’s Grocery, waiting for the show to start. When we heard the first muffled sounds beginning a set of music, we headed downstairs to a dimly lit basement where colored lights flickered with the synthesizer’s pulse.
House shows happen throughout the year and take place mostly in Iowa City basements. These alternative venues have different names, such as “The Breast Imagining Center,” “The Rectory,” “The Sauna” and “Dog Mansion” where many diverse and eccentric local acts perform, often with touring bands, in a variety of music genres including noise, industrial, punk and experimental.
An intimacy exists between the performers and the audience members at house shows — one that established venues often cannot achieve.