Sunday, April 6, 2008

Dead Venue By the Time the Last Band Began

I was at The Mill for five hours straight Thursday night. But I was casually late — or just 45 minutes late, which apparently in show time is early — and had hoped to enter the smokey venue as the second band finished.

First local Iowa City rockers Great Lakes Music hit the stage playing breakup ballads and other tunes reminiscent of Songs Ohia or Murder By Death. Frontman, Eric Langley tapped his legs wildly, guitar hanging over his shoulders, as he wailed State Road 63. The band finished just in time for the unmemorable someone's took to the floor.

Two-and-a-half hours in a lanky Bob Dylan-inspired Cory Chisel grabbed the microphone thanking the crowd for the time. Slurping a glass of red wine over the typical shots downed by most musicians, Chisel oozed a sense of class easily forgotten once entering any musicians lair. Chisel's backup group, known as The Wandering Sons (complete with one female pianist) were just that for most of the set, simply watching and waiting to be called upon since the frontman played around three songs solo during the group's time. Boasting the fact that the band wasn't selling merch, Chisel did plug the group's first EP dropping May 30.

The seven-person band stole the peak performances even before locally grown Deathships had a chance at the amp. With songs like "These Four Walls" the group's folksy, rocksy, bluesy sound echoed with bar patrons well into the Deathships' set.

At 1 a.m. the headliners finally arrived asking for shots and claps — but most of the audience was subdued or had left. And before they finished, I did too. 2 a.m. is my closing time on a school night. While as much music as possible is a good thing, it's just not possible to keep listeners for more than five hours.


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