Continuing the trend of jaw-droppingly awesome shows at Codfish Hollow Barn in Maquoketa, this Friday, June 21st, it will play host to actor John C. Reilly’s non-film music endeavor John Reilly and Friends.
For the past few years Reilly has been working with some musician friends of his to bring a revue of old country and folk music of the likes of the Stanley Brothers, Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, The Everly Brothers, Claude Ely and the Delmore Brothers to name a few. With regular “Friends” sidekicks Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond and Tom Brosseau (solo and of Les Shelleys) Reilly cut two 7-inch singles on Jack White’s Third Man Records.
The band is doing a run of dates through the Midwest from June 13th to June 22nd, with a stop at the wonderful Codfish Hollow Barn in Maquoketa, IA– home of many Daytrotter.com Barnstormer shows as well as a few shows put on by the Biehls themselves. Joining Reilly, Stark and Brosseau will be Mt. Vernon, IA native Dan Bern (who headlined his own show in May), Willie Watson— formerly of Old Crow Medicine Show (OCMS’s “Wagon Wheel” has been covered by Darius Rucker and climbing the charts currently), and Sebastian Steinburg– formerly of Soul Coughing and these days a go-to bass sideman (Marc Ribot, Dixie Chicks, k. d. lang). That’ s one hell of a lineup with lots of varing backgrounds, so you can count on some pretty inspired performances!
According to Brosseau’s website, there will be copies of the Third Man Records 7-inches as well as “the official John Reilly and Friends teeshirt” at the merchandise table. Tiffany Biehl also told me about exclusive stickers with art done by Dan Bern and limited-edition posters done by the Biehl’s and sent me images of those:
John Reilly and Friends Codfish Hollow Barn Sticker
John Reilly and Friends Limited Edition Codfish Hollow Poster available at the show.
As usual, there will be camping available (with no service hookups), food vendors with soft beverages and just good old fashioned great times with other people who are there for the music. Coolers are welcome. Here is a list of what food will be available onsite:
Grilled chicken sandwiches
BBQ pulled pork sandwiches
All beef hotdogs
Brats and sauerkraut
Nachos and cheese
Beef taco nachos
Vegetarian bean nachos
POP- Mt.Dew Pepsi, Diet Pepsi,Sprite
At the time of this writing there are still tickets left, but you should expect that this show will sell out this week. Doors are at 6:30PM with the bands hitting the stage at 8PM. The tickets are $25 in advance (plus some minimal service charges).
I was interviewed in The Cedar Rapids Gazette Arts and Entertainment magazine Hoopla– click here!
Click Here to visit the Third Man Records page on John C. Reilly and purchase his two singles.
15 June 13: The Assembly at the Women’s Club of Minneapolis: Minneapolis
16 June 13: Miller Caves: Milwaukee
17 June 13: Muskegon Unity Church: Muskegon MI
18 June 13: Ramsdell Theater: Manistee MI
19 June 13: The Magic Bag: Ferndale MI
20 June 13: Radio Radio: Indianapolis
21 June 13: Codfish Hollow Barnstormers: Maquoketa
22 June 13: Old Town School of Folk: Chicago
The winter had overstayed its welcome in Eastern Iowa this year and with the frost finally succeeding and the bulbs pushing their greens up in anticipation of flowering, we can finally (hopefully) start looking forward to Spring and Summer and to the recent announcement by Codfish Hollow of the first show in the barn this year!
Last year we saw two really amazing events in the Codfish Hollow Barn stage even without an official Daytrotter Barnstormer show. July 4th brought a mind-melting and body-dehydrating appearance by Counting Crows and their touring Outlaw Roadshow lineup for what would certainly be for the 650 people who saw it the best show they’ve ever seen. The laid-back and mellow atmosphere seemed to coax a normally grouchy Duritz to hang out with people outside the venue and pose for pictures and pause for autographs. The show inside the barn was electric and even with the failure of the stage electric fans the bands sweated their way through their sets and Counting Crows put forth an unprecedented 3 hours on stage! Codfish Hollow then put all their political chips on support of the Democratic Party with a chilly October show featuring a lineup headlined by Pieta Brown and Dave Zollo and the Body Electric.
On May 4th (May the Fourth Be With You!) Codfish Hollow returns with a show featuring Dan Bern! Called amusingly enough, “Bern in the Barn” the lineup also features Outlaw Roadshow veteran Field Report as a solo performance by Christopher Porterfield, 2013 Outlaw Roadshow act Daniel and the Lion, Cincinnati band Pomegranates, Athens, GA band Twin Tigers who have a sound somewhere between Lou Reed and Sonic Youth and maybe Barnstormer alums Suckers, and Iowa City guitar popsters Chasing Shade. You should check out Chasing Shade’s song “Sunburned Bones,” BTW.
So, click on all those links above to find out what these bands are about– but it’s looking like a wonderful evening of music for a very resonable $18 in advance. There will be the regular lineup of food vendors onsite, and the scattering of fire rings to keep warm– this barn is down in a hollow for gosh’s sakes, and the sun quickly ascends the road out of there in the evening, and 10 degree temp drops are not uncommon– so pack a sweater, kids!
These shows at Codfish Hollow are always wonderful and are special shows for bands and fans alike and are really a must-see for anyone who can make it. Much love, respect and gratitude is due Tiff and Shawn Biehl for continually bringing the magic to their barn.
The food vendors will be providing Grilled chicken sandwiches, BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, Hot dogs, Veggie dogs, Nachos and cheese, Chicken/pork nachos, Vegetarian Bean Nachos, Chips, Giant Dill pickles, Candy bars, POP- Mt.Dew Pepsi, Diet Pepsi,Sprite, Bottled water, Coolers are welcome. That means bring your own booze if you want it!
For the last couple of weeks Daytrotter has been featuring some of the notable sessions from the previous Barnstormer shows, so when Codfish Hollow posted to Facebook yesterday about some big news coming up, I figured it was going to be a Barnstormer announcement since Codfish Hollow has had the distinction of being the home base for these shows.
The first leg (Featuring Counting Crows, Good Old War, Foreign Fields, and Filligar) has already been onsale for a week. It starts in Asbury Park and heads north through Connecticut and upstate NY to Ontario then criss-crosses down through the Great Lake States and the Shenandoah Valley, passing back & forth through Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana, and Virginia before traveling down south to Alabama, South Carolina, and Mississippi just west of the Tennessee state line. It ends in Maquoketa, Iowa and Rock Island, Illinois where all the bands will celebrate Independence Day at Codfish Hollow Barn playing a Barnstormer show and then retire to Rock Island to record Daytrotter Sessions. (emphasis mine)
The details for this show are only just finalizing right now, so there isn’t any information about tickets yet, but considering that the venue (also known as a “barn”) has a reasonable capacity of around 500, these tickets will be as rare as hen’s teeth, as they say. I’ll update this post with any information that I get.
This week marks the 41st anniversary of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair, which took place August 15th – 18th, 1969 in Bethel, New York. The stories and myths of Woodstock continue as that generation looks back on their history. A festival planned with idea of a gathering of music, camping and art grows to epic proportions as over twice the expected crowd shows up. The idea of a music festival changed forever and subsequent festivals in history would always be judged in the light of that event.
Last year saw the beginning of the Daytrotter.com Barnstormer shows– coincidentally on the year of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. These shows were and are the brainchild of Sean Moeller– the Master of Ceremonies for everything Daytrotter. The idea started simply enough– pick a handful of Daytrotter favorite bands, load them in a bus and tour the Midwest countryside playing in barns. Daytrotter fans will show up and hear these bands, generating interest in Daytrotter and in these bands and hopefully the bands will be able to make some money selling merch. After learning some logistical lessons in touring and playing non-standard venues a good time was had by all!
I draw the comparison between Woodstock and the Barnstormer shows not to suggest that the Barnstormer shows are or will make their place in music history like Woodstock did, but to show that the original idea of Woodstock is the same– bring good music talent to a rustic setting, provide camping and art to mutual benefit of everyone involved. Based on the buzz of last year’s small Barnstormer runs, and the first one from this year the formula works and people who aren’t from this part of the country are interested in being part of it.
Frankly speaking, some of my favorite bands of 2009 and 2010 came from these shows and most of the headliners have gone on to perform to larger audiences and have become regulars on the festival circuit– notably Dawes and Local Natives— but other acts like Suckers, Ra Ra Riot and Delta Spirit are also gaining in national recognition. Seeing bands that can play the big stages of Coachella, Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo in a small intimate setting like Mooney Hollow in Bellevue, IA, Codfish Hollow Barn, Seacrest Octagonal Barn and others locations in the Midwest is nothing, if not pure magic. The bands and crowds feed from each other for what the bands generally say are their best performances.
The three Barnstormer tours (plus one Fourth of July show) have been in a changing list of towns with two notable exceptions– the Seacrest Octagonal Barn in West Liberty, IA and Codfish Hollow in Maquoketa, IA. Both locations draw very good crowds. In the case of Seacrest it seems to be related to the relative closeness to the Quad Cities and Iowa City/Cedar Rapids (and it is a really interesting barn!). In the case of Codfish Hollow it seems to be partially due to the proximity of these same cities, but also because of the efforts of Shawn and Tiffany Biehl who seem to have enough friends and relatives to damn near fill their barn– but also because they have really made the location part of the attraction. Literally located in a hollow– there isn’t enough parking near the barn for the growing crowds– nor is the winding gravel path down there wide enough for passing traffic. The solution? Have a shuttle to take campers and people parking down to the event. Not just any shuttle though– it’s an open-air hayride pulled by an honest-to-goodness International Harvester tractor! This year they opened a rustic art gallery on site making use of the unoccupied farmhouse, too. Adding to the charm of it all is an open field where fans and bands play horseshoes, fire rings scattered around to provide heat and light and the amazing food sold onsite by The Lunchbox which includes their famous “walking tacos” and chili.
Next Sunday brings a staggering number of bands back to Codfish Hollow— the headliner is Daytrotter and playbsides.com favorite Roadside Graves from New Jersey. I had the opportunity to see Roadside Graves last year in Bellevue at Mooney Hollow. They were in the area in between stops on their tour because they were taping their first Daytrotter session. Sean Moeller hooked them up with Mooney Hollow to play in trade for a place to sleep. It was a Tuesday night, so that didn’t bode well for a workweek crowd, but the few that showed up got an amazing and energetic show. People I’ve talked to that did make the show, still talk about that show– in fact, Tiffany Biehl says that show made her an instant fan of Roadside Graves and she is really excited to bring them to her barn!
This show on 8/22 was already an idea at the Barnstormer III show in April and has taken form and gained acts continually since the announcement of the show following the July 4th “Barn on the Fourth of July” show and the lineup is made up of some notable bands– most of whom are up-and-comers, but some are buzzworthy. When I talked to Tiffany at the Dawes show at Gabe’s last week she said that there might be a couple of other acts added to the eight (!!!) bands on the bill. Here’s the breakdown with a few words on each band with their essential links to help you learn more:
Last year’s two Daytrotter Barnstormer tours brought bands and fans together in unique barn settings. These shows were not without their challenges– but proved to be memorable and transcendant experiences for the bands as well as the fans. Most of my favorite band and music experiences from 2009 were as a result of these shows– certainly in the case of Local Natives and Dawes we are seeing two bands from these barns on impressive career arcs. Both bands just finished “barnstorming” SXSW this year with multiple shows all with rave reviews from press and fans.
This year’s first Barnstormer show– which will be the third– will take place April 27th through May 1st and include shows in Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois. Unlike the first two tours last year, these will have a cover charge of $10. From last week’s Daytrotter e-mail:
We know that all of you Barnstormers enjoyed the freeness of the first two tours and we thank you for making the tour what it is. With the acts that we have set for No. 3, we need your help to pay for everything… Each night, half of every paid admission will go to someone who needs help. Maybe it’s someone you know. We are choosing one individual or family — based on your nominations — to receive some help from the Barnstormer. So, write email@example.com with a story of someone who’s fallen on hard times and could use some assistance. We’ll take the best five stories and do what we can to make things a bit better.
The cover charge is a notable change– when I talked to Sean about this last year he said that since he really doesn’t spend any money for promoting daytrotter.com– these shows were going to be used as a method of promotion and his promotional budget would pay for part of it. Plus, the bands were playing these shows understanding that they’d get some needed exposure and hoping to sell merchandise and they were crashing at people’s homes and camping out– in Bellevue all of the bands were put up in a bed and breakfast operated by the owner of Mooney Hollow. While I don’t expect that the living conditions for the bands will be changed much, I’m sure that the $5 per head will be welcomed!
The idea of giving the other half of the money to a needy family or individual is great, and certainly in line with Sean’s idea of giving back to these little towns like the one he grew up in.
$10 certainly isn’t a lot for five Daytrotter-approved up-and-comers anyway. The band line-up looks pretty good and it already has some buzzworthy bands in it. Free Energy, originally from Minneapolis now living in the land of Philly cheesesteaks, has been getting a lot of blog press lately with their brand of power-pop. Dawes and Deer Tick-BFF’s Delta Spirit have done three Daytrotter sessions since 2007. Ra Ra Riot purvey a kind of organic unplugged britlikepop with a nod to some Smith-y ideal or a tip of the scooter helmet to mod groups like The Jam or The Police. The strings serve only to underscore the pining sentimentality, frankly. Pearly Gate Music is Zach Tillman– whose brother is J. Tillman of Fleet Foxes so you seem to be guaranteed a familial if not familiar pedigree. The tracks I’ve listened to on his MySpace page a strong in melody with slightly cockeyed perspective. I’m interested to hear this in a live setting– he apparently made fans of the Fleet Foxes fans when he opened for them. Nathaniel Rateliff is a new signee of Rounder Records. His sound is a melange that stands undecidedly somewhere between indie, country, bluegrass and the long tradition of folk music.
A nice selection of strong musicians and artists– just what we’d expect from Mr. Daytrotter.
DAYTROTTER PRESENTS: BARNSTORMER III SCHEDULE (generously lifted from daytrotter.com):
This week Daytrotter.com posted the details of the upcoming Barnstorm Tour– to be called “Daytrotter Barnstormier II” and will start Thursday, October 8th in Milwaukee, WI and wrap up on Tuesday, October 13th in Johnston, IA.
Via the @realdaytrotter twitter account and the weekly e-mails Sean Moeller (master of ceremonies, general cool guy) had been dribbling out details about the upcoming shows so very little of this is a surprise to those of us who watch Daytrotter goings on closely.
This tour, which is apparently “Barnstormier” than the July shows, happens to hit three of the same stops– the barn of the very cool Biehl’s in Maquoketa (now called Codfish Hollow), Mooney Hollow Barn in Green Island south of Bellevue and the Seacrest Octogonal Barn. Sean also added on two Wisconsin stops– the very cool Turner Hall Ballroom on 10/8 and the Treinen Farm in Lodi on 10/9. The tour wraps up on the 13th at the Simpson Farm outside Johnston, IA (Des Moines).
As with the previous shows, these will be free and all-ages– except for the Lodi, WI show where you will gain admission to the other attractions for a measly $5-$8. The bands and Daytrotter are just tryin to recoup expenses by selling posters, teeshirts, records and other stuff in addition to passing the hat.
The bands are a mix of new and some from the July run. Dawes is kind of the headliner– their sound is one that evokes the 70’s SoCal sound– slightly country rock with impeccable harmonies– think Eagles, CCR and CSN with a little Band thrown in. Christopher Denny has a unique sound that at times reminds me of Dylan’s Nashville Skyline period. The Suckers from Brooklyn sport an angular almost No-Wave pop sound and Milwaukee is bringing the guitar power pop. Listening to the Daytrotter sessions linked below, I’m getting pretty stoked for this run! On a couple of the shows we get Paleo and Snowblink from the first tour.
Here are the shows broken down with links to the bands’ Daytrotter sessions where you can find out more about them:
When I started talking to Sean Moeller of Daytrotter.com (who signs his missives as “Mr. Daytrotter” amusingly) in May about his idea of “an RV Tour of Iowa Barns” I was both excited and a little worried, frankly.
Sean said that he wanted to give something back to Iowa– his home state– in addition to raising the awareness of the “recording studio with a website” that is Daytrotter.com to its neighbors.
Indeed, while music geeks like myself have been aware of the freely-downloadable mp3’s of the recording sessions done in the Rock Island-based studio– few others I interact with personally (i.e.: not Internet-based life) are aware of the musical bounty that is Daytrotter.com.
Daytrotter has been compared to the infamous BBC Radio One John Peel Session done for almost 40 years by the late DJ-cum-tastemaker where bands recorded special sessions due to musicians’ union rules which resulted in oftentimes better performances than were captured for their albums. Similarly (though not due to labor rules) Sean and his staff of merry recordists are credited with bringing great bands and artists to the attention of the music community at large by recording special sessions, too.
These sessions, usually lasting a couple of hours are a stripped-down, almost “Unplugged” affair where the acts are encouraged to use the equipment– largely vintage– that the studio has which includes an array of pianos, keyboards, mics, amps and drums.
Many of the bands I’ve talked to who have done sessions at Daytrotter compare the experience to what it might have been like to record at Sun Studios during its heyday. Come in, plug in and record the magic– very much a warts-n-all approach as there isn’t much editing or “do-overs.” In some cases it gives the bands an opportunithy to re-imagine a song already released, or try a new song or possibly a choice cover.
The studio is in a perfect location– Rock Island is near I-80 and any act touring the U.S. will likely be driving by. The bands who are invited to do a session tend to be of the D.I.Y. aesthetic anyway so the inspiration that sometimes comes with improvising a session tends to be captured, making every session a gem.
Sean told me that up until the Daytrotter Barnstormer Tour, he hadn’t done any promotion of Daytrotter to speak of. Certainly, Daytrotter sells itself– any blog who covers the acts that Daytrotter records has linked to them at one time or another.
The idea was a simple one– take a handful of acts who have recorded with Daytrotter and take them on a “Caravan of Stars”– type tour to the towns and cities of Iowa and surrounding states providing a free show to the people. It was not designed to be a massive revenue-generating event– just a way to give back. These free shows would largely be put on in the most iconic of Iowa structures– the barn.
While I relished the idea of a collection of hip bands selected by Daytrotter playing for free in quirky barn venues, I was concerned about the turnout or how the promotion would work. Of course I’d do what I could from playbsides.com and I was spreading the word every chance I got– but having been in bands in the 90’s and knowing a bunch of regional bands over the years I’m well aware of the fickle tendencies of small town audiences. There is an addage shared extensively about the success of a band in Iowa and how many cover songs they do. My hopes were that that hip indie-lovin’ crowd existed where they hadn’t 20 years ago. Plus, the bands he picked were largely unknown– I didn’t know any of them (except Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin) before the tour and I follow the site!
So, did the tour go as planned? Given the really short window Sean gave himself to pull bands, transportation and venues together it was an astonishing success! On July 6th Sean had all of the details sorted out to post to his site. It would run five days starting July 26th and have Local Natives– a Silverlake, CA band as the one constant act. The other acts would dovetail in and out of the lineup as their schedules allowed.
I managed to catch two of the shows– the one in my hometown at Mooney Hollow Barn, and the West Liberty, IA show at the Secrest Octagonal Barn.
Mooney Hollow Barn Show – Sunday, 7/26/09
The Bellevue show didn’t have the attendance that we would have hoped. Sean was hoping for at least 100 people per stop, and the promotion for the event locally wasn’t extensive. I had a carload of friends coming in from Cedar Rapids and I knew that my family was going to show. The Bellevue Herald that week had a front-page article on the show and I think there were a couple of other places, but it was a Sunday-night show so that is usually a tough night for a draw.
As many times as I had driven past Mooney Hollow Barn on Hwy 52 with its iconic silo with the fiddle painted on it, I’d never actually been in it. It is an amazing venue– a barn converted to a dancehall in the late 70’s it enjoyed a pretty constant flow of middle-tier country acts until it closed in the early 90’s. It holds about 600 people and has a poured concrete dancefloor with the venue logo on it. The stage is outfitted like the Grand Ol’ Opry and has posters of some of the acts that had played there over the years. It has a two bars and a kitchen, so you can get food there, too.
It was a great place to see these bands, and every one of them commented on how cool Mooney Hollow was. The crowd was receptive and excited to see the bands and showed the bands their appreciate. Beer was cheap, and the crowd was ready for the show.
The first band up with a new band out of Chicago called Stranger Waves. They were raw, punky pop and kicked things off in high-gear. They played a 45-minute set running through all of the songs on their EP that they just recorded. Humorously, they needed to bust out their laptop to burn CD’s to sell to folks, but I think they sold a few! This was the only stop on this tour they played, but I think they were going to play some Chicago shows with Catfish Haven after their Madison stop. Certainly a band to watch!
Next up was Paleo, who did a solo acoustic set that was astonishing. Super low-key, but the guy is a gifted songwriter. I thought that this must have been what it was like to see Dylan when he played the coffee shops in New York City at the beginning of this career. He took a break in the middle of his set to let a girl he was touring with named Natalie Jean (from Flagstaff, apparently) play a small set of songs. She did a couple of original songs and a cover from The Wizard of Oz. A pretty girl with a pretty voice– I can’t find anything about her anywhere. I gave her a business card, maybe she’ll reach out to me.
From San Francisco, originally from Canada is Daniela Gesundheit aka Snowblink who brought with her a small band. Her Gibson SG with vestigial deer antlers seemed to convey the earthy-yet ethereal sound of Snowblink. She used two mics– one with a more dry mix, and the second mic an avalanche of reverb. I still have a major crush on the song “Stand Where A Fruit Tree Drops The Things It Doesn’t Need” from her newest release Long Live. She encourages audience participation on percussion, and she handed out bells to the crowd, which was neat. She invited the crowd to jingle along.
Shifting gears again, we got the R&B tinged rock from Chicago’s Catfish Haven. This was when things got back on to the party groove. These guys set up, plugged in, and damn near burned the barn down with their set. I had been listening to their new album Devastator regularly to get ready for their show. Two standout tracks from that amazing album are “Set In Stone” and “Play the Fool” I played it that weekend for my family to get them in the mood for the show. I can’t say enough about this band– they are like an update of Motown act Rare Earth. Everyone was on the floor shaking ass, which is the way it should be. In the middle of the funky mahem they pulled out a cover of “The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em)” by The Greg Kihn Band and I thought the roof was going to cave in!
Their set was done too early– they didn’t do “Play the Fool” and the crowd wanted to get more songs, but they stuck with the agreed timeslot and let Local Natives get set up. That is one of the impressive things about these shows– they get done pretty early, so even if it is a week night show, you get home at a decent time.
I was a little concerned about how Local Natives was going to follow the sheer rawk power displayed by Catfish Haven. Well, once the band got set up I didn’t worry any longer! Local Natives was the surprise of the evening for me (and pretty much everyone else). Two songs into their set, and I turned to my friend Al from Bellevue and said “WTF are we seeing!?!” I was astonished by how polished they were– spot-on harmonies and percussion-heavy arrangements. It was like seeing U2 before they got all PopMart and Blackberry– when they were hungry. The band performed with such commitment and emotion– I hadn’t seen a band perform like this in years. Their album Gorilla Manor has been delayed a couple of times, and it should be coming out in October. The set closer “Sun Hands” is nothing short of insanity on stage– raw emotion. They are playing a bunch of shows at Spaceland in LA this month before they tour Europe again. If you get a chance make sure you catch this band while the tickets are still cheap.
After Local Natives was done, people hung out for a while buying merch finishing beers. A bunch of us were seriously considering driving to Madison for the next night’s show. Thankfully, the 2-hour drive home sobered me up enough to just wait to hit the West Liberty show that Tuesday.
Secrest Octagonal Barn – Tuesday, 7/28/09
My wife and daughter didn’t make the Sunday show in Bellevue, but I convinced them to make the West Liberty show– it was less than an hour’s drive from Cedar Rapids so it was pretty easy to commit to. The only bummer for my wife was that she wanted to see Catfish Haven and their last show was in Madison the previous night. This show had Snowblink and Local Natives from Bellevue, and substituted Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin and Hip Hop MC Mac Lethal to the bill. I was vaguely familiar with SSLYBY through Daytrotter and only had a couple of minutes to listen to the Daytrotter session for Mac Lethal, but it sounded pretty good, and I knew that he was part of a group of MC’s that was getting some buzz.
The barn as described was an Octagonal barn and was a facility one could rent out, so it was set up for audiences, and the show ended up being in what would be considered the hay loft on the second floor.
The show was supposed to start at 6:30PM so we raced down there, and found out that things were running late and they hadn’t even set Snowblink up– who was the first act in this lineup.
My daughter was pretty happy to see Snowblink, and their sound is pretty much up her alley. The set was very similar to the Bellevue show which included a Snowblinkish version of “Jolene” by Dolly Parton, which was pretty cool. This time, however, they invited members of Local Natives to come on stage to help with percussionAfter the show, she went up and introduced herself to Daniela and they talked briefly about a possible show at Coe College in Cedar Rapids.
By the time Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin hit the stage there was a pretty large crowd, over the 100 desired, I think. They ripped through their set with good energy, I wasn’t as familiar with their songs, but I’d definitely see them again.
To shake things up, Sean put Local Natives up following SSLYBY leaving Mac Lethal as the last act of the night. I was really excited for Sherry and Rae and Rae’s friend Chelsea to hear Local Natives because I was so amazed by their live show.
They didn’t disappoint– in fact during their tribal percussion the floor started bouncing a bit unnervingly. I tried to reassure myself that this barn had been here since 1883 and withstood storms and the weight of hay for most of those years and a little bit of bouncing from a crowd of people wouldn’t be a challenge.
Their set was pretty similar to the Bellevue show and ended with “Sun Hands” which is an excellent way to end their set. I tried to capture the energy of that song in the picture above– the band is all over the stage for that song. I know that Local Natives made a bunch of new fans that night.
Next up was Mac Lethal. He was having to make do as a one-man show as his DJ/Producer was not able to make this show, so he commented about having to stop his set to switch songs. I think that he is a really skilled MC, but I got the definite idea he was a bit uncomfortable following these bands– certainly he wasn’t able to showcase the constant energy of his regular set having to mess around with his sampler. For whatever reason, his set had more negative tone to it than the other bands. He started his set talking about driving around lost that day and seeing a monkey doll hanging from a noose in a tree and dove into a tirade about that. Certainly, if he saw that it is pretty bad, and there is some of that in the in the sticks of Iowa. Not that I’m opposed to some pissed off MC’s, but the vibe of his set was markedly different than the rest of the show. He commented on the other acts performances being great a couple of times describing Local Natives show as effectively handing Jesus his pink slip, which I thought was pretty funny. One track I thought was pretty good was one called “Black Widow.” I need to spend some more time with his catalog and maybe see him in a different setting before I’d ever dismiss him as an artist.
I heard that the following night he collaborated with Local Natives– I would have loved to see that. I like MC’s fronting live bands, and I think the right combination can make for a powerful performance.
As I write this, Sean has started to “leak” the information about another Barnstormer run in October. Starting on October 8th and going to October 13th, the show will hit three of the barns from the July run– Maquoketa (10/10), Bellevue (10/11) and West Liberty (10/12). This is great news! The Biehls, who generously lent their barn in July had over 200 people at their show! We have enough time now, to really build the buzz for the Bellevue show, and I’m sure West Liberty will get the crowd from Cedar Rapids, Davenport and Iowa City again.
The bands confirmed so far is a band from California called Dawes, who recalls The Band, CSNY and a little CCR and has amazing harmonies to boot! Christopher Denny is a folksy balladeer who’s voice sounds a lot like Nashville Skyline-era Dylan. Another band committed is Milwaukee band Maritime who has a jangly UK pop influence like Smiths or the Alarm. Again, bands I’d never heard of, but already becoming a fan of. For repeat performers we get the dreamy, wonderful Snowblink (yay!) and Paleo. Apparently there will be other acts added as well.
Sean Moeller is one of those rare guys who just seems to know how to jump headlong into a project like the Daytrotter Barnstormer Tour and catch lightning in a bottle. He trusts that the people of state he grew up in will come out and support it. The buzz is growing, too.
So, if you have any possible way to get to Iowa to any of these shows– do it. If this run of shows is anything like July, it is something you will remember for a long time. Good people, great bands in barns.
Daytrotter Barnstormer 7/26/09 at Mooney Hollow Barn Slideshow
Daytrotter Barnstormer 7/28/09 at Secrest Barn Slideshow
Daytrotter.com— the purveyor of freely-downloadable mp3’s of sessions recorded by a wide-range of artists and bands– have decided that they want to take a handful of their favorite acts on a mini-tour through some Iowa towns with a stop in Madison (just because they love that place!). These shows are FREE and ALL AGES. All the bands are hoping for are some new fans, and possibly sell some merch.
It is a move which gets its tradition from the “Caravan of Stars”-type tours that happened during the 50’s and 60’s where bands would roll through a bunch of cities stopping of at ballrooms across the midwest– back when places like Melody Mill in Sageville, IA outside Dubuque would get bands like Johnny Cash, The Ventures, and the Everly Brothers. If the bands didn’t tour like that, these little towns and cities wouldn’t have been able to get this kind of entertainment.
Daytrotter reached out a couple of months ago looking for barns they could play in– I made a couple of suggestions, and one of the stops will be just outside my hometown of Bellevue, IA at Mooney Hollow Barn!
While exchanging e-mails with Sean from Daytrotter, he said that some of the impetus of this tour is to let people in Iowa know about Daytrotter. Certainly when I’m talking to folks I know about this they have no idea what Daytrotter is– even though the work that they do is world-reknowned and has been accurately suggested to be the successor to the BBC Peel Sessions!
I’ve said on more than one occasion that we Iowans should be proud of Daytrotter and its “little studio and website that could” success!
Hopefully, this will be successful enough that this becomes a yearly event!
The lineup of bands is pretty interesting and varies slightly for each of the five stops. However, San Diego band Local Natives will be performing at all of the shows. From this lineup, I was familiar only with Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin and Paleo. Someone Still Loves You is a great indie pop band from Springfield, Mo that has done two Daytrotter sessions already (which is how I found out about them initially) and Paleo is known as the “song a day for a year” guy. So, it will be interesting to hear those acts in a live setting. Snowblink is a pretty dreamy type of music driven by the breathy vocals of Daniela Gesundheit.Snowblink has been compared to Cat Power, and I hear that. Catfish Haven is a surprising R&B powerhouse from the Windy City that reminds me of Mad Dogs and Englishmen-period Joe Cocker, frankly. I can’t wait to see them in a live setting! DAYUM! They’re going to be at the Bellevue stop, which is super-duper! Mac Lethal is an MC from Kansas City, MO. He has a great flow that reminds me a lot of Chief Xcel or Chali 2na.
So, a pretty wide swath of indie goodness represented. I’m going to hit the Bellevue stop and shoot some pix and provide some coverage. If you have the ability and are in the region, stop out to one of these shows!
11 am — Davenport, Iowa: Morning performance at the Bix 7 road race course at the turnaround: 110 McClellan Blvd. (Performing — Local Natives) Local Natives Daytrotter Session