The Kids These Days

Happy Chromosomes (Photo: Matt Butler)

The early show at Public Space One got Tuesday night off to an energetic start, beginning with Ames/Iowa City band So Much Fun. After an hour of solving the band’s technical problems, lead singer Nick Miller and his megaphone feverishly galloped about the Jefferson building announcing that the show was about to begin, but not until all in listening range were front and center. Tall talk for 8:00 pm, but So Much Fun did not disappoint.

Nick Miller is a great front man, and I was very impressed by guitarist Frank Driscoll and ultra-fast drummer PJ McManus. Together, they built crescendos that reminded me of the most raucus and soaring moments of Broken Social Scene’s self-titled album, except where BSS opted to put some breathing room between the build-ups – So Much Fun just kind of keeps raising the bar. Technically they should probably get more careful with these outbursts, but with the exception of a well-intended but strange Cranberries cover toward the end of their set, the show was… a helluva lotta Fun.

Video by Drew Bulman for Little Village

The Happy Chromosomes came on next, and quickly won the hearts of everyone in the room. Easy progressions set sail on Dan Roalson’s fast and funky bass grooves while Trevor Polk’s creative keyboard voicing made my lips keep curling up into involuntary smiles. Happy Chromosomes make fun, well-crafted songs, they are never boring and you will probably get more chances to see them because they are from Cedar Rapids.

Video by Drew Bulman for Little Village

Iowa City’s own Replacing the Robots sat us all down (we kind of needed it) for an intimate set as we prepared for the show’s headliner, Dinosaur Feathers.

Dinosaur Feathers is three guys “from Brooklyn,” but for me, their story begins back in Massachusettes where lead vocalist Greg Sullo grew up, apparently around some very supportive parents. When it came time for school, Sullo moved west to attend a small liberal arts college in Minnesota because he liked their progressive teaching style. Meanwhile, keyboard player and vocalist Derek was no doubt up to some similar hi-jinx, getting filled up with influences, and acting on his creativity. You can see it all over their faces when they play: They listen to everything, they practice a lot, they have a million ideas all the time, and somewhere along they way they picked up the belief that all their crazy ideas are not actually crazy at all. Dinosaur Feathers is all confidence. All three of them can sing like crazy, nailing 3-part harmonies throughout the set, and fearlessly layering genres without ever letting it getting soupy.

Whoever raised these chaps, I want to shake their hand and thank them for bankrolling Fantasy Memorial, an amazing album from 3 truly brilliant performers.

Video by Drew Bulman for Little Village

Video by Drew Bulman for Little Village

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