The Mission Creek Experience, Days Three and Four

March 31

We’re just past the Mission Creek Festival’s halfway point, and the realization that Iowa City will soon return to its normal non-festival routine is a sad one. To be fair, there’s never a shortage of live music to see in our beloved city, but Mission Creek grabbed an adrenaline shot and slammed it straight into the heart of Iowa City.

Of course, due credit must be given to the Yacht Club, which has been consistently blowing minds with each passing lineup.

The venue has served as Little Village’s ad hoc meeting point as the nights have wound down, and we’ve been treated to some excellent surprises as a result. Although the impromptu rhyming session (video below) by Booker T’s bassist and drummer has already been mentioned, it’s worth highlighting these unplanned moments that turn good Iowa City festivals into great ones.

I’ve realized that a good portion of what makes the Mission Creek Festival so exciting is the fusion of local, national and international talent. Although I had a blast watching the Israeli group Carusella blow out ear drums at the Yacht Club, it wasn’t any less satisfying to catch local group Sarah Mannix and the Wandering Bears put on an absolutely charming performance at The Mill. The soothing melodies of The Daredevil Christopher Wright were also sublime.

With the number of venues under the Mission Creek umbrella, shows will inevitably be missed. Hopefully, the tUnE-yArDs were not one of them. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for loopers, but a looper that can hit a note like the tUnE-yArDs is almost too much for me to handle. The new “Gabe’s” continues to impress.

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Ah, this would not be a proper festival recap without coming back to our old friend, Public Space One, the little underground venue that I adore. Public Space One is just that: A space. There’s no bar, nor is there an elaborate stage. There are, quite simply, a few dedicated people in the Iowa City area who work hard to fill that space with live music. Why? The proper question to ask might be, “Why not?”

In addition to hosting talented bands that might not have found an open spot on the other venue listings, there’s something to be said about a place that one can simply come and go without the hassle of door checkers, hand stamps and so on.

April 1

It’s too bad the word ‘epic’ has become such an overused descriptor; There are few better words to describe the April 1 Mission Creek lineup. With Thursday being, as far as this city is concerned, part of the weekend, crowds packed just about every venue on the list. Granted, having Bomb Squad of Public Enemy fame on the night’s agenda, along with the Japanese psychedelic rock gods Acid Mothers Temple, certainly helps.

The Yacht Club, sporting a number of DJs and the aforementioned Bomb Squad, was forced to turn patrons away relatively early in the night. Those tenacious enough to get in, however, caught what might have been the best show of the festival thus far. When Bomb Squad took the stage, the group went hard and fast until 2:00 a.m., breaking out their brand of dubstep. Check out our more detailed coverage of the show to find out more.

The Mill also found its share of music-lovers, as always, catering to the indie rock crowd with headliner David Bazan. Although I nearly titled the Caroline Smith video, “Caroline Smith, featuring: The Incredibly Chatty Crowd,” the show was otherwise terrific. I’m all for having fun at shows, but it’s difficult not to pick up some secondhand embarrassment when an individual in the crowd is louder than the person on stage.

Ah, and then there was Gabe’s. First and foremost, the best coverage of Gabe’s Acid Mothers Temple show can be found here. That said, I can affirm Kent’s sentiments wholeheartedly. Simply put, Acid Mothers Temple, and guitarist Kawabata Makoto in particular, are staples of the psych rock collective. Last night taught us why.

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