Show Review: Wye Oak/Callers/Alexis Stevens – The Mill – 4/4/2011

Photos by Adrianne Behning

Bittersweet?  Dewi Sant cancelled due to illness, so Alexis Stevens filled in.  Sweet.  Her voice is sexy, low, and textured like that of Sam Phillips or Jonatha Brooke, and she weaves it beautifully with her electric guitar. She plays rhythmically, using just a little reverb to mellow the sound. Whether about sad memories of California, or self-described silly songs “Crazy”, Alexis writes songs with emotion and perspective.

Brooklyn’s Callers dial in more reverb and play with free-form abandon.  They create music of complex rhythm and simply gorgeous vocals. Sara Lucas’ singing is nuanced and epic, Ryan Seaton’s guitar was driving and atmospheric, and drummer Don Godwin’s beats are crazy and tight.  For one song, Godwin strapped his floor tom to his chest and played both top and bottom skins in a fast, tricky rhythm. Callers’ music is precise and well-orchestrated, yet original, offbeat, and sad enough for it to be an appropriate soundtrack to a David Lynch film–and Sara even bears a passing resemblance to Isabella Rosselini.

Wye Oak closed the festival with authority, Jenn Wasner’s guitar blazing full of power.  Andy Stack plays keyboard fills and bass lines while playing drums with his right hand.  Their sound is large for a duo, and they pulled the crowd in with their careful fury. Don Godwin of the Callers contributed to a couple songs by playing a tenor horn, including a random yet wonderful cover of Danzig’s “Mother”. Closing their set with a loud and lovely version of the Kinks’ “Strangers” and a short encore, Wye Oak’s return to Iowa City was a perfect finish to the 2011 Mission Creek Festival.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.