Todd and I spent the first night of March knocking back “14s” (you know, 7&7s) and the finest beverages offered by Bell’s (the stout and Two-Hearted Ale, to be specific) in the heart of The Mill in downtown Iowa City. While one could go to The Mill simply for the drinks and/or the ambience, we were also there to hear Memoryhouse, a nifty shoegazey/dreampoppy outfit from Toronto.
What we didn’t expect was a killer set by the opener, Tiny Fireflies—described on one blog as a “Chicago pop supergroup.” I don’t know about the “supergroup” classification, but the group was solid, possibly even on par with the headliners.
Tiny Fireflies proved a much more enjoyable experience compared with the last opening act we caught in Iowa City. Of course, that was Kreayshawn, one half of the odd pairing with Neon Indian. We spent a good deal of the Kreayshawn show hanging out on the ped mall or drowning our sorrows at the bar inside the lame venue, the Union Bar. (Or having senior pictures thrust toward us—OK, toward Todd—by under-21 coeds in an attempt to get drinks purchased for them.) So no, the bar wasn’t set very high, but within a few notes of the soundcheck, we knew we were in for something good.
Ethereal, jangly, low-end-driven…well, I could continue to list adjectives, but listen for yourself. The song below is called “Picture Perfect”; it’s the forthcoming single.
You’ll notice at the 30-second mark that two dudes decide to get a closer look at the performance, standing directly in front of the stage, flanking Kristine the singer. As you can see in the video, it was equal parts amusing, annoying, and unsettling?
Anyway, Tiny Fireflies played a handful of tunes; many of them had qualities that brought to mind The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, which is an OK thing to these ears. And they were excited about staying in a hotel with a pool, which was just kinda cute.
Memoryhouse didn’t disappoint when they took the stage. One of the highlights was “The Kids Were Wrong,” the second song on the recently released debut album, The Slideshow Effect. The live drums were augmented by some pounding programmed beats, giving the song some serious backbone. (I moved to get a better angle; please excuse the first 20 seconds or whatever.)
Another highlight came toward the end of the set. The guitar line winds through the Mill, and I think to myself, “How blatant of a My Bloody Valentine ripoff can you get?” until I realized they were covering My Bloody Valentine. I flipped the phone camera on about halfway through the song. (And yes, that is me yelling “Loveless FTW!” at the end of the song.)
All in all, good night out.
Future material for dispatches from the MoSS? Pit:
- March 30: The War on Drugs/Dirty Beaches/Wet Hair (Gabe’s)
- April 24: Sleigh Bells (IMU Main Lounge)
- May 2: M83 (The Pageant, St. Louis)
- June 11: Destroyer (Blue Moose Tap House)