80/35 Song of the Hour – Mantis Pincers – Berlin

Video shot by the talented Tony Galloro

Mantis Pincers play Saturday at 6pm on the Kum & Go Stage

80/35 Song of the Hour – Tajh – Love Letter To D.M.I.

Tajh plays the Kum & Go Stage tonight at 6pm

I actually remember coming across this a while back and not knowing what to think of it. The video is excellently shot and kind of a cool cross section of Tajh’s life. The song is simple and the flow is cool. What caught me off guard about this is that here is a young man who actually likes Des Moines. He likes and represents his hometown and that town is Des Moines. It was one of the first things in a long time that made me realize that the next generation will come to revere this town the way I do, but not enough other people my age seem to.

So hooray for the younger generation. They are the ones that are going to take the groundwork so many of us have tried to lay and turn this city into something even better than what it is right now. Just, hey younger generation, while you’re out there breaking new artistic ground and shattering decades old stereotypes about Des Moines, can you get off my lawn while you do it? Thanks. Damn kids.

Meet and Greet Schedule

The Avett Brothers

I’m not one for meet and greets. Mostly because I’m terrible at small talk. I kind of don’t know what to say at these things. Do you just walk up and tell them they’re awesome? Do you act like you’ve been friends for years and their presence does not faze you? Do you try and think of an interesting question to ask? After you do that, do you then listen intently or just smile smugly knowing that you are smarter and better behaved than these other mongrels in line who probably burst into tears and screamed “I love you” to Seth Avett? Are you then the biggest asshole in the world? Do you burst into tears and scream “I love you”? These are all options and all things I’d like to avoid. Anyway, here is the schedule. The meet and greet spot is in the free area on Locust and 12th St.

Friday
6:00 Dustin Smith & the Sunday Silos
6:15 Pieta Brown
6:30 Avett Brothers
7:00 Seedlings
8:00 Dumptruck Butterlips
8:30 Bright Giant

Saturday
2:30 Maxilla Blue
2:45 Love Songs For Lonely Monsters
3:00 Delta Rae
4:00 Christopher the Conquered
4:15 Mark Mallman
4:30 Sun Company
4:45 Greensky Bluegrass
5:00 Leftover Salmon
6:30 The Sundogs
7:45 Mantis Pincers
8:15 Leslie & the LY’s (Also, did you know it isn’t The “LIES”, it is The “EL WHYS”. That shit blew my mind when I found that out, yesterday. I had been saying it wrong for years!)

80/35 Song of the Hour – Pieta Brown – Never Did Belong

Pieta Brown plays at TONIGHT at 8pm the FREE HyVee Triathlon Stage

Here is a fact about me. I built my music experience at the public library. I’d go and check out my limit of twenty cd’s at a time and listen to as many as I could as many time as I could before I had to take them back, or else feel the wrath of late fees on twenty items. I would always pick about ten or twelve albums I had heard of, either classics or something that was highly pushed, and then I would just browse. Things with cool band names or album art and things like that, I would take home and give a listen. But there was a good chance that if it was a woman with a guitar or violin or piano or even just a solo female singer, I would give it a chance.

I am just drawn to female singer/songwriters for some reason (a reason I’m sure Freud would have a thing or two to say about). I just like strong women with something to say. And if you’re in the music biz, you have to be a strong female. Pieta Brown is a strong female and always has something to say.

This song isn’t my favorite from her, to be honest. I honestly like her piano driven works a little better. But, it was the top hit on YouTube and is a good diving in point with her work, so I figured it would be the one I talk about. I do like the steel guitar and the country overtones. Plus, Brown’s voice is as beautiful in this song as it is in any song. She really has an amazingly calming voice. Something lulling without being boring.

Pieta Brown is a beautiful woman with a beautiful voice, but she is mostly a beautiful and gifted artist.

It’s Today! It’s Today! HOORAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Photo by the incredible Jill Haverkamp. It seems unfair to put in a caption of a photo just how much I admire Ms Haverkamp, so just know that Jill is in a small group of people who I have put on a pedestal in this town and am still sort of star struck to be around and somehow get to call friend (Jill, Zack Mannheimer, Chris Ford, Amedeo Rossi, Patrick Tape Fleming, Nate Logsdon, and Aeon Grey are all probably tied for the lead of people in this town who I revere the most. I’m gonna be real mad when I re-read this and realize I forgot some names. Becky Migas! Whew, almost forgot one (I will forget more, no worries) (I like parenthesis)) and we’ll leave it at that. One day, when I’ve had more booze, I will probably just pen a dumb-ass fan letter to On Pitch, post it on this website, and then immediately be super embarrassed by it. I’m a little embarrassed by this caption, in fact. Can we just move on and talk about something else? So, seriously in like 9 hours Damian Abraham will likely be shirtless on this stage and I couldn’t be more excited by that notion. And then Dino and then Avetts!? Holy shit. Wait, am I still in the caption? Crap.

Today is finally the day. Holy balls, it feels like it has been just for-ever since the last 80/35. Honestly, I don’t care if it is 200 degrees out today (and it practically is), I will be there for the opening note of Fucked Up’s set, on into Tajh and Dinosaur Jr., Freddie Gibbs and into the Avett Brothers where I will very likely start crying when they play “I and Love and You.” Don’t judge me, Iowa.

But before we begin today’s festivities, I figure since this is Iowa’s biggest music weekend, I will start the fest of right and do lots of previews. So starting right now at 10 am and going until 4 pm, Iowaves Music will have HOURLY updates. That’s right. I’m going to do reviews and promos and songs of the hour-ish because that’s how excited I am.

Here is where we begin. We begin with yesterday. I wrote something over at Des Moines Is Not Boring for a solid dozen of my favorite acts on the free stages. So go ahead and click the pic and head that way. Then be back here at 11 am then 12 pm then 1 pm then 2 pm then 3 pm then 4 pm and for something else, and then meet me at Fucked Up and we will smash faces together, like Iowans.

Even Lorelei is excited for 80/35. She will be at Little Ruckus’ set tomorrow, for sure. S!E!C! Oh, click to go to my DMiNB column.

After Show Jubilee

Click the pic for the 80-35.com page I stole this list from

There is more to 80/35 than just the three stages. The bulk of the venues around town are also planning shows to go along with the festival.

Friday, July 6

Vaudeville Mews After Party: Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt w/ Little Ruckus at 10pm. Admission is FREE.
Wooly’s After Party: Adult Swim 3 Dance Party featuring a local DJ showcase at 10pm. Admission is FREE.
The Gas Lamp: Matt Woods and the Thunderbolts w/ The White Elephant at 8pm. Admission is $5.
People’s On Court: On The Run (tribute to Pink Floyd) at 10pm. Admission is $5 with 80/35 wristband.
Americana: The Snacks at 10pm. Admission is FREE.
PBR Bar (Patio outside Mews) After Party: DJ 810 at 10pm. Admission is FREE.
Greenwood Lounge: Justin Appel & Heath Alan at 9pm. Admission is FREE.
The Underground: The Sun Company at 9pm. Admission TBA.

Saturday, July 7:

Wooly’s After Party: Dan Deacon x Weekend Records at 10pm. Admission is FREE.
Vaudeville Mews After Party: The Poison Control Center w/ PURE GUT at 10pm. Admission is FREE.
PBR Bar (Patio outside Mews) After Party: DJ 810 at 10pm. Admission is FREE.
The Gas Lamp: Delstars Reunion Show w/ The Violet Lights at 9pm. Admission is $8.
People’s On Court: Bluegrass My Ass featuring 80/35 mainstage bluegrassers at 10pm. Admission is $5 with 80/35 wristband.
Greenwood Lounge: Randy Burke at 9pm. Admission is FREE (21+ only).
House of Bricks: Superchief w/ Handlebar, Stutterin Jimi, Viva Montesa at 9:30pm. Admission is $5.
Americana: DJ Touchnice at 10pm. Admission is FREE.
Raccoon River Brewing Company: Thankful Dirt at 9pm. Admission is FREE.

Most of these start after Avetts and Death Cab are done, so they don’t include the Kum & Go stage featuring Alex Brown and John Solarz and Jesse Jamz and Brad Goldman on Saturday.

My personal choices would probably be either Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt w/ Little Ruckus or Matt Woods and the Thunderbolts w/ The White Elephant on Friday. For Saturday, I think missing Dan Deacon would be criminal, but, I could see why that wouldn’t be someone’s cup of tea. PCC or Superchief would also be solid choices.

Happy 4th, Here Is Some Listening Music

America.

So it’s the 4th of July, and I figured I’d take it easy. I mean, not easy enough that I got the day off from my day job or anything (hooray retail!) but I wanted to post something everyday regarding 80/35, so I guess I will do something that takes little thought.

Do you have Spotify? If you do I made a playlist. It is two songs from lots of 80/35 artists. I picked some favorites, some obscurities and “I And Love And You”. If you want to listen, be my guest.

Happy America.

Click here to access the list.

My 5 Favorite Random 80/35 Sets

Colourmusic (From their Facebook page)

The best part about any festival is the early to mid-afternoon show that you were sort of excited about, but then you saw and it totally blows you away. Because I am a professional (ha!), I have done my research, so no band at a festival I am attending completely surprises me at this point. However, there is always someone who you thought would be pretty good and totally blows you away. So, here are five of my favorite under the radar performances of 80/35’s past.

2008 – Colourmusic

Colourmusic was the one of the first bands that made me realize just how awesome music festivals really were. They are the reason I show up to shows as early as possible. Their art house meets garage band sound was mesmerizing. When I first was able to book shows, Colourmusic was the first non-local band I reached out to, and they were responsible for one of our most memorable shows. Colourmusic is amazing.

2009 – Maps and Atlases

Didn’t know what to expect, and then these mutli-instrumental folk came out and toured the globe with their unique and inspired set.

2010 – Dawes

Dawes has actually gone on to some solid success, but when I saw them, they were an early on one of the free stages. It just goes to show who may end up on one of these stages. And yes, for all you AVClub fans, their Sweet Laurel Canyon Sound totally ruled Des Moines.

2011 – Handsome Furs

Best known among my family and friends as either “The band that Dave dragged me to instead of seeing Grace Potter” or “Those two who were making out at Americana before their set”. On stage, their quick electronic pop and boundless energy is one of my highlights not just of last year, but of all my live music experiences.

2011 – Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band

Just pure fun in the sun from some awesome bluegrass musicians. This one snuck up on me, as I was just hanging out drinking a beer and relaxing when my sister called and demanded I come and see them. So, to be fair, I missed the first song or two. But after, it was an incredible performance.

Review: Little Ruckus – Tank Girl Vs. Cape Girl

Continuing with 80/35 Week, Little Ruckus plays on July 7 at 1 pm on the Hy-Vee Triathlon Stage

There are two sides to Little Ruckus, and both sides are on display at once. One side is the anarchic, possible cult leader, hell bent on casual destruction and sweaty street dancing. A sort of a dress wearing, sweating pied piper who wants you to live your life as weird and chaotic as possible. The other is the lyrical motivational speaker and possible cult leader who wants you to realize that the life you want to live is the appropriate life, and that life is weird and a-okay. Where the two meet is Tank Girl Vs Cape Girl and the realization of what being a member of the Sandwich Eatin’ Crew means to everyone and what being Little Ruckus means to Dom Rabalais. Buried beneath the incredible beats, the keys and the sweat is an album full of affirmations that YOU are special and that YOU are important. But also, those beats, keys and lyrics are all part of one of the most adventurous and special albums of the year.

I first heard Little Ruckus’ last album, 2011’s We Love Evil, earlier this year and I was immediately blown away. The sound, the attitude, the fun. It was all incredible (Here is my review.) What I took away from the album, though was that while it was a successful album from a sense that it sounded amazing and was easy to connect with, there were still some lingering doubts as to whether or not we were supposed to take this all seriously or not. Were we really to believe that in among the chaos and smashing and such, was there real sentiment involved? Was this just Dom Rabalais playing a character, or was he actually Little Ruckus? At the end of the day I decided I didn’t care and I still don’t. As someone much smarter than me once said, “Bob Dylan’s last name isn’t really Dylan, so who the fuck cares?”

Andrew WK had a lot of those questions about him as well, and honestly I think Andrew WK is a perfect comparison to Little Ruckus. Not musically, although the piano at the beginning of the track “Stay Free” reminds me a lot of Andrew WK and is pretty similar to the piano at the beginning of “Ready To Die” off of I Get Wet. Not close in a rip-off sort of way, just familiar. Almost an homage. But what people have come to realize was that WK wasn’t playing a character so much as he was using his platform to inspire and be creative. That’s what Little Ruckus feels like. It feels like a way to let people know how to live their lives, while also make you dance a whole bunch.

What Tank Girl does successfully is erase any lingering doubts as to the seriousness of it all. There is so much earnestness in among the hypnotizing and dance-able beats that there is no doubt that, yes, every single thing this album has to say is important and honest.

Though the lyrics take a more inspirational slant in Tank Girl, it certainly doesn’t stop being fun. This is still the same sweaty ass Little Ruckus from his prior album. He is still flanked by his ever present Sandwich Eatin’ Crew (S!E!C!) which allows for songs to be not just him, but also the lyrics of Lane Weaver and the vocals and some production from Phil Rabalais (Captain Picard) and Adrien Daller (Slaydrien) from Trouble Lights among other guest stars (Off topic, Shemp Howard and Futon City are such good nicknames to give yourself, as Lane Weaver does on this album) help support the ideas that Little Ruckus spills. The talents of the musicians are on display throughout and especially come to life in “Set My Spirit Free”, “Go Free”, and the surprisingly beautiful instrumental final track “Our Wedding”.

Tank Girl Vs Cape Girl is gorgeous at times, chaotic at others and inspiring always. It is the type of album that maybe tricks people into thinking they are just showing up and having a good time and forces them into much deeper thoughts and steers you towards personal triumphs like self respect and self appreciation. While dancing and yelling, you may just find yourself with the highest self esteem you could’ve ever hoped for. Suddenly, you’re pouring sweat while trying to think of your own S!E!C! nickname. (Incidentally, I am leaning towards calling myself Detective Beans or Hacksaw Jim Duggan, but I haven’t settled on that just yet).

Click the banner image to give the album a listen and maybe spend five dollars and buy it, if you can.

Welcome to 80/35 Week

Welcome everyone to my favorite week of the year. 80/35 is upon us, once again, and not a moment too soon. I personally need the distraction and the enjoyment that 80/35 brings. I just feel in my element at shows like this, like I’m bulletproof or something. I’m not sure why, but there is something about the festival atmosphere that just feels like “home” to me, and that somehow brings out my best. Or maybe my worst, I dunno, I ain’t no psychologist.

I have a lot planned for this week up to and including posting every single day in order to help maybe convince you that this is what you need to be doing this weekend, just in case you thought otherwise. While, the lineup itself is, in my opinion, the best since year one (which I think is near legendary status and may never be topped) there are more important reasons to attend other than just it is awesome.

Getting a band like Death Cab For Cutie or The Avett Brothers is a big deal for a city such as ours. For years we have had bands bypass our city in favor of nearby metropolises such as Kansas City, Minneapolis, and even Omaha. The managers for bands that would play a larger audience always site things like population and reputation as reasons to bypass us, even if we have some wonderful venues and tons of dedicated fans and artists.

What 80/35 does, in a sense, is remind the booking agents, record label execs and band managers of the world that Des Moines is a viable stop on their band’s tour, and other bands they may represent. It is such an easy thing to say, but a simple Google search tells me that the people who represent Death Cab For Cutie also represent a whole slew of talented and gifted artists. Same goes for Avett Brothers, Atmosphere, Leftover Salmon and Fucked Up. This isn’t just about proving to those artists that we can bring a crowd, it is about proving to the people who represent them, who maybe aren’t live and in person, that Des Moines is worth a stop for maybe another band they represent.

So what I guess I’m saying is even if you aren’t down with this year’s lineup, attendance is hardly optional. Show up, even if it means just free-loading, and be counted. Show the people at William Morris and Billions and High Road Touring, et al that Des Moines won’t be ignored. Show them that our citizens are just as capable of supporting a scene as any others.

So, what I need from each of you is to go to the event. Hell, a lot of it is free (and for real, look at what is free on Saturday. That is just something else), so there is very little excuse. Show up. Be counted. Continue making Des Moines the incredible city that we all know and contribute to letting the world know. Maybe this year ain’t your cup of tea, but maybe next year will be. Showing the agents of the world that we exist means they bring their bands here. Further, it will be that much more important if you know you contributed to something, and all you have to do is show up and maybe be surprised by an act you didn’t expect to like.

Don’t just want to go to the free stages? Head here for ticket info. Purchase your tickets through Midwestix and you get access to the exclusive MidwesTix VIP Lounge at Proof Restaurant (13th and Locust) within the 80/35 grounds. An easy way to get yourself some shade and A/C for what may prove to be a hot weekend.