The Slow March to My Celebration of Being Elderly Is At Least Littered With Great Music

The Heartless Bastards play Wooly’s on July 27

On Monday, I turn 32. It isn’t an age that is easily celebrated or anything. In fact, I’m of the mindset that after, say 30, you really only need to celebrate the tens, 40, 50 60, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130 (yes this is how old I plan on being when I die). I think the best use of your birthday as an adult is to analyze the year you just had and decide if you lived your life the way you want, and if maybe you should make changes. You know, figure out what works and what doesn’t.

So, at 31 I had a lot of ups and downs. Professionally, I was stuck in the mud. I am pretty much exactly where I was at 30 with little sign of breaking that. This has caused me great stress and monetary struggles. So, obviously at 32, I need to change that. That seems to be the biggest change I need to make. I need top figure out a way to not be in such a stagnant state and find a way to better support my family. So, 31 has been a little rough, but it’s cool, I think analyzing my failures is the first step towards correcting them, right?

However, it was 31 year old me who finally started writing publicly. By finally swallowing my fear and allowing you to read shit I’ve written instead of my usual start something and then bury it that I did pretty much from adolescence on, I have been able to broaden my horizons, learn more about my hometown and make lots of new friends and gain experience and confidence. So, that’s something, right?

Anyway, all confusion about the maturation process aside, it seems as if the promoters in this town are excited for the day of my birth, so they have decided to almost ridiculously pack this week with a bunch of cool national acts, so let’s dive in.

Jane Rose & The Dead End Boys – July 24 Gas Lamp

Some fun Nashville rockabilly with an awesome female lead. Should be a hoot and it should be quick and loud.

Todd Snider and Hayes Carll – July 25 Wooly’s

Todd Snider is a gifted wordsmith and awesome songwriter, but this show is all about Hayes Carll for me. He is a country star who brings a lot of the swagger lost in the pop-ification of the genre.

Nachtmystium – July 26 Vaudeville Mews (All Ages)

Those who tell me about metal shows say this one is pretty special. So, if you’re into metal, maybe check this one out.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals – July 26 Simon Estes

80/35 Vets Grace Potter and the Nocturnals return to Des Moines in support of their new album, The Lion, The Beast, The Beat. I like them. I like this new album more than the last one, and some of their early stuff is breathtaking. Also, she’s very pretty, if that’s your thing.

Scott Lucas and The Married Men – Vaudeville Mews – July 26 (21+)

The lead and brains behind the great Local H, Scott Lucas has devoted a lot of time to this new project, which shares some of Local H’s tendencies, but not a lot of its sound. Still, a great show to check out.

Heartless Bastards w/ Love Songs For Lonely Monsters – Wooly’s July 27

Heartless Bastards are incredible. They are part folk, part country, part garage rock. Their new album The Arrow has been in rotation for a while now. They are incredible. Plus, the great LS4LM from Des Moines open. This one will be awesome and completely can’t miss.

JEFF The Brotherhood – Vaudeville Mews – July 29

Another one that I am super excited about. JEFF The Brotherhood are filthy garage rock that is just quick and loud. I am super pumped about that. And hey, it’s a late show, so maybe at midnight we can all celebrate me being old.

The Empty Spaces w/ No Good Deed and Ladysoal – July 30 Gas Lamp

Hey, it’s my birthday.


80/35 Set Times Released – Let The Agonizing Begin

Hey, 80/35. Thanks tons for making me pick between Little Ruckus and Now, Now. Ya, big bunch of jerks, ya. And I’ll miss the start of Christopher the Conquered? (Photo from Little Ruckus’ Facebook page)

The final acts for 80/35 were released today, and they included three favorites: Mark Mallman, K-Holes and Little Ruckus. All are huge additions for me personally. I like Mark Mallman’s un-subtle brilliance. K-Holes features Jack Hines, formerly of the incredible Black Lips and well, we all know my affection for Little Ruckus.

Now comes the daunting part, the decisions. Seems every festival, there’s some tough choices. But also, in the heat of the moment plans go by the wayside. Last year at Lollapalooza, my biggest conflict was Death From Above 1979 vs. Big Audio Dynamite. Wanna know who I saw? The Drums. Sometimes things happen, so don’t set your plans in stone or anything. Be versatile, be available. Maybe check parts of sets here and there if you can.

Before we get into my biggest conflicts, here is the schedule. It is pretty incredible, but look at the Kum and Go Stage on Saturday. That is just ridiculous for a free stage. If you’re a little light in the wallet, that lineup is as good as anything you will find in any city in the world. Oh, and all the Iowa acts, oh the Iowa acts are so good.

Friday, July 6

Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Stage
5pm – Fucked Up
7pm – Dinosaur Jr.
9pm – The Avett Brothers

Hy-Vee Triathlon Stage
5pm – 80/35 Play In Slot *
6pm – Tajh
7pm – Bright Giant
8pm – Pieta Brown

Kum & Go Stage
5pm – Dustin Smith & The Sunday Silos
5:45pm – Dumptruck Butterlips
7pm – Useful Jenkins
8:15pm – Freddie Gibbs
9pm – DJ Eight Ten
10pm – Alex Brown
11pm – John Solarz

Saturday, July 7

Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Stage
12pm – 80/35 Play In Slot *
1:30pm – Christopher the Conquered & His Black Gold Brass Band
3:15pm – Greensky Bluegrass
5pm – Atmosphere
7pm – Leftover Salmon
9pm – Death Cab for Cutie

Hy-Vee Triathlon Stage
12pm – 80/35 Play In Slot *
1pm – Little Ruckus
2pm – The Sun Company
3pm – Mumford’s
4pm – Maxilla Blue
5pm – The Sundogs
6pm – Mantis Pincers
7pm – Leslie and the LY’s
8pm – Dead Larry

Kum & Go Stage
12:00pm – Derek Lambert and the Prairie Fires
12:45pm – Now, Now
1:45pm – Delta Rae
2:45pm – Mark Mallman
3:45pm – Night Moves
4:45pm – Jaill
5:45pm – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
6:45pm – K-Holes
8pm – Dan Deacon
9pm – Jade Reed
10pm – Jesse Jamz
11pm – Brad Goldman

Friday seems pretty cut and dried for me, personally. Wellmark stage. Maybe pop in for Tajh and, for sure, Freddie Gibbs in between bands.

Saturday, though, Saturday is an issue.

Conflict Number 1 – Play In Winner vs Play In Winner vs Derek Lambert and the Prairie Fires

The play in winners would either be Seedlings, Holy White Hounds or Love Songs For Lonely Monsters. Two of them would be up against each other on Saturday along with Derek Lambert and the P-Fires. All four bands are incredible and each have their own pros. Seedlings are a little folk, Holy White Hounds have their garage rock sound down. LS4LM are their anarchic sound would fit in well with an outdoor venue, and D-Lamb are a little classic rock. But where they are similar is that they’re all from Iowa and they’re all awesome. I think this is a game day decision.

Winner – Iowa

Conflict Number 2 – Little Ruckus vs. Now, Now

The inspirational dance machine Little Ruckus up against the the spacey pop of Now, Now and well, gosh I just don’t know. Part of me says go with the out of towers because you’ll have a better shot at catching the locals at another date. However, the Iowa bands tend to go all out at 80/35 (as CtC’s last two years have shown) and when the Sandwich Eating Crew go all out, they go all out. Now, Now are incredible and their album is amazing and has been in my rotation for a while now but Little Ruckus will be the show most people say “Dammit, I can’t believe I missed that” and the people who do see it will get to hold it over everyone else’s heads for all of eternity.

Winner – Little Ruckus (then hopefully the end of CTC’s set)

Conflict Number 3 – Mumford’s vs. Mark Mallman

Mumford’s will undoubtedly be fired up. This is the first time they’re playing 80/35 and when they bring their “A” game, very few bands can top them. It’s just that Mark Mallman is special and, I just can’t see a scenario where I miss his set. There is a fifteen minute time difference, so hopefully I can race down the street and catch the end of Mumford’s set.

Winner – Mark Mallman

Conflict Number 4 – Jaill vs. Atmosphere and Jason Isbell vs Atmosphere

I ain’t missing Jaill. I just ain’t. But good lord, Atmosphere is incredible. I think the real loser in this will be Jason Isbell, as I think I will catch all of Jaill and then the end of Atmosphere. Then at 6 there are the Mantis Pincers, which just might be their last show, so um, hmmmm….

Winner – Jaill and Atmosphere and hopefully Mantis Pincers

So my schedule looks like this, in theory:

Friday – Fucked Up, Tajh, Dinosaur Jr., Freddie Gibbs, Avett Brothers, Solarz

Saturday – Something awesome from Iowa, Little Ruckus, CtC, Mark Mallman, Mumford’s, Maxilla Blue, Jaill, Atmosphere, Mantis Pincers, K-Holes, Dan Deacon, Death Cab For Cutie, Goldman

Boy, that kind of hurt, and what’s funny is in one month, this might all change.

So look over the schedule and blaze your own trail or follow me around all weekend, if you desire.

I’m gonna do my best to bring back Song of the Day-ish for 80/35 starting tomorrow. Since I only have a month at this point, it may actually be of the day with no -ish. Aren’t you all lucky.

This Week @ Des Moines Is Not Boring…and other stuff

This week at Des Moines is Not Boring is well…Monday from I got busy/am lazy and wasn’t able to get anything written this week. So, DMiNB reprinted my now world famous (somebody from Kitts and Nevis read it! I don’t even know where that is!) GDP review. But, they’re good people and deserve your click, so head that way.

Incidentally, I want to try and feature some more metal acts, but well, I don’t really listen to metal. So, while I build up my knowledge, I want to send some love out to a couple of places that do know what they’re talking about.

One would be the Facebook group Iowacore. They post lots of stuff about upcoming shows to check out.

Also, my friend Curtis Morgan from Becoming the Villain and The Boston Hell Mask has started a new blog over at Iowaheavymusic

If you’re looking for something to do tonight, head to The Space For Ames to see Kimya Dawson, Patrick Tape Fleming and Kate Kennedy. They kick so much ass and this will be awesome. Head here for more info.

Partial Lineups Announced For Nitefall on the River and Ankeny Unplugged

Two summer concert series have announced partial lineups, and they are pretty okay, so I thought I would share.

The first is the annual Nitefall on the River which is one of the more famous concert series in the state. Every year, Simon Estes Amphitheater hosts many well known and legendary National, International and Iowa acts. This year is no exception and here are the early details:

Sat., May 26 – Hairball – Doors 7pm, Show 8pm – $20/25

Fri., June 1 – The Nadas w/ Steve Poltz – Doors 7pm, Show 8pm – $15/20

Tues., June 12 – Jimmy Cliff – Doors 6pm, Show 7pm – $30/35

Wed., June 20 – Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers w/ Cornmeal – Doors 6pm, Show 7pm – $25/30

Thurs., July 5 – Yonder Mountain String Band – Doors 7pm, Show 8pm – $20/25

Thurs., July 26 – BoDeans – Doors 6pm, Show 7pm – $15

Advance tickets are on sale on Friday, April 20 at 10am at Tickets will also be on sale at Wooly’s (504 E. Locust St.) with no service fees.

I’m personally most excited for Jimmy Cliff. I caught about ten minutes of his set at Lollapalooza in 2010 and it blew me away. I am excited to get the chance to rectify my mistake.

Also, don’t sleep on Bruce Hornsby. While the name may elicit groans from some people because of his Adult Contemporary status, he is actually a very gifted singer and songwriter.

For more info head to

The other series that released at least a partial list of bands is the now annual Ankeny Unplugged. Sponsored by the Ankeny Jaycees and held in Wagner Park in ,um, Ankney obviously, this features many of the best Iowa has to offer in an outdoor, acoustic setting. This years announced bands are:

Christopher the Conquered & His Black Gold Brass Band
Fierce Bad Rabbit
Patrick Tape Fleming (of Poison Control Center)
Elizabeth Arynn
James Biehn
The New Bodies
The Host Country

Readers of this site will know where my tastes lie, but it will also give me a good chance to see some acts I am less than familiar with, like Fierce Bad Rabbits and The Host Country. Should be a heck of a time.

Head to

Your Complete GDP Song of the Day-ish

I figured to make it a little easier, I would catalog all of the GDP bands songs of the day into one post. Yes, I stole this idea from Des Moines Music Coalition’s website. What of it?

The Beatnicks

Unknown Component

The White Elephant


Hath No Fury


Trouble Lights

Christopher the Conquered & His Balck Gold Brass Band

The River Monks


And here is the schedule:

6:00 – Unknown Component
7:00 – The White Elephant
8:00 – The Beatnicks
9:15 – Hath No Fury
10:45 – Mumford’s

6:30 – Trouble Lights
7:30 – Tires
8:30 – Love Songs for Lonely Monsters
10:00 – The River Monks
11:30 – Christopher the Conquered & His Black Gold Brass Band

If you are planning on going, you should by tickets now at because you save $5. So, buy tickets now.

Your Weekend To Do List!

An oldie, but a goodie.

Last week I wrote a weekend guide with pictures of my kid, and like a whole lot of you read it. I mean like two and a half times my previous best day and four times my usual audience. My hope is that it wasn’t just pictures of the best looking kid in the world that brought you here. If it was, my hope is that most of you also went to some of the shows I posted about, like you’re supposed to. This weekend there are three big ones.

Fine, I will post one more picture.

Rampage Jackson chain

Des Moines Social Club Presents: Subjective Vaudeville w/Trouble Lights, Jordan Mayland, Comedian Ben Gran and The Flying Eagles Acrobalance Troupe – Vaudeville Mews – 4/13 10pm

Remember that video I posted when I debuted this blog and again when I did a preview for Trouble Lights at GDP?

You know, this one:

Well, I get the honor to present to you Trouble Lights’ Des Moines debut. They promise a very special show, and well if you watch that video, you know what they’re capable of. If it was just them, well, it would make the show a can’t miss. However, Jordan Mayland, from Tires, Keepers of the Carpet, Mantis Pincers, Nuclear Rodeo, Volcano Boys, The Wheelers (and I’m sure a bunch more) will play a solo show. He’s awesome. I mean, look at that list of bands he’s partially responsible for. Also, a funny comedian and some people doing cool acrobat stuff. Neat.

Oh, and I guess I will be the host for this show, which could be a train-wreck considering how little I like being in front of crowds and the fact that I’m a little sick. So, come say “hi” and maybe bring me some cough drops and words of encouragement.

Gross Domestic Product – Hotel Fort Des Moines – 6pm>

I have pretty much been pushing this show from day one of this blog, so I feel I may have said enough. Hopefully, I will see you there. If you are new here, scroll through the archives or click here for the official preview at DMMC’s website. I contributed to some of that, if you’re a Murphy Completist (which I know you are).

Ragged Blade Band w/ Ladysoal – 8pm Gas Lamp 4/14

Last week, I forgot a lot of cool shows. That’s just how busy a weekend it was. One of those was a particularly egregious error of not including my sometimes stomping grounds of the Des Moines Social Club and their awesome rock and fashion show featuring one of the most talented bands in the world, Ladysoal. So, I will remedy that by saying if you don’t want to go to GDP for whatever reason, then you should head to Gas Lamp to see Ladysoal open for St. Louis’ Ragged Blade Band. Should be an awesome show.

So there you have it. Once again, I have planned your weekend. You’re welcome.

Fine, one more:

Back, by popular demand.

Road Trip Wednesday – Lollapalooza

There is an unfortunate truth in life that there is shit you want to do and shit you have to do. If you’re lucky the shit you have to do will allow you to do the shit you want to do. The last two years I have been lucky enough to go to this festival and had just the time of my life both times. This year looks to be no exception. While I’m not sold on the headliners, the middle and lower tiers of bands are just incredible. From Sigur Ros on down to JEFF The Brotherhood way down towards the bottom, there just doesn’t seem to be a lot of slack. It will make conflicts tough and going from stage to stage even tougher.

Unfortunately for me this year, the shit I have to do does not allow me to do the shit I want to do as I just don’t have the financial ability to pay for two tickets, four nights of a hotel and food and other essentials items (read: whiskey). In fact, just before the lineup dropped, I had to make the uncomfortable decision to cancel the hotel I had already paid for (for a full refund, luckily). So, I need you all to go in my place. Go and drink in the breathy gibberish of Sigur Ros. Go and dance to the excitable gibberish of Die Antwoord. Go and feel the synth power drench your soul with M83. Go and shout lines from Community to Childish Gambino (might I suggest “He’s like if God spilled a person”.) Go and smash some heads to JEFF. Go and swoon over Sharon Van Etten. Go. Just don’t pay any attention to me if you do go as I sit in the corner and pout and curse the mistakes I’ve made in life.

Go here for the full lineup. Hrrumph.