Well despite the steady rain, day one of the 80/35 music festival was a success. I stuck to the main stage all day, and the acts were better than the turnout at Billy Mays' funeral.
Things kicked off at four p.m. with Tilly and the Wall, an indie group out of Omaha that's known for ecletic attire and tap dancing. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about Tilly. The group connected really well with the audience, and made the show feel informal, fun, and just a damn good time. The crowd that came to cheer on Tilly was so eccentric and they gave off a really chill vibe that made the overall atmosphere even better.
Matisyahu, the Hasidic Jew rapper/beat boxer/reggae singer/country-star/flava flav stand-in (just kidding on the last two)followed Tilly, and he was surprisingly good. Well, until he sang the same smooth reggae tunes over and over again and lulled me into a slumber and I was forced to take refuge in the nearest Starbucks. Quite the different crowd out for him than Tilly...definitely the hippie style, but still, such a fun group of people.
Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks followed up Matisyahu, and it was a surprisingly un-entertaining show. Sure, the tunes were good, but the sound sucked. The bass was too loud,the singing was inaudible, and there was very little crowd interaction. I mean, the atmosphere still rocked, but there was something missing from the overall performance. That something could have been band member's that got along, practice-time, or desire to be in Des Moines. Not impressed, Steve.
OK, so let's talk about Public Enemy. The hip hop stars, with Flava Flav in tow, were supposed to take the stage at 9:30. Well, it was nearing 10:30 when Chuck D started doing his thing. Oh, and Flava Flav? He was in a "hospital" in "Nevada" for "exhaustion." Really, Public Enemy? Really? OK so Chuck D still rocked it, with or without his clock-toting cronie, but it was definitely a disappointment. Regardless, the crowd still rocked out, and your wonderful arts staffer's ears may never be the same again. It was unfortunate that by the time Public Enemy was really going at it, the rain was pouring down and made things a little unpleasent. Could have been worse though.
Overall, a great first day at 80/35. Let's just hope the rain holds off tomorrow. Regardless, your loyal staffers will be updating the blog tomorrow night, and watch out for a constant stream of fabulous twitter updates from dailyiowanarts.
--Rachael (who was really hoping Flava Flav would throw her his clock)