In our first “From the MoSS? Pit” dispatch, we teased that we would be attending the War on Drugs/Dirty Beaches show at Mission Creek. Yet no post materialized on Music or Space Shuttle? Trust me, it was for your own good. Dirty Beaches was a total letdown (rambled through two songs from the album, then droned on for 30 minutes). War on Drugs singer spent half the night yelling “Whoo!” That gave the crowd something to do, mimicking each one for the majority of the set. The sound sucked—but it was Gabe’s, so what else is new?!
But Sleigh Bells…well, yeah. Absolute fucking dominance.
Sixteen songs from their two albums. Relatively good sound at another venue notorious for bad sound (IMU Main Lounge). Energy aplenty. Sweet light show. And a great crowd (although smaller than I ever would have imagined—come on, Iowa City!).
I was far from convinced that the show would be a winner, as I endured two travesties earlier in the evening: Donnelly’s Pub was out of Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale, and Elite Gymnastics tried to scare everyone out of the IMU with its opening act. As scary as the absence of ale might sound, trust me, the Elite Gymnastics fiasco was much worse.
Constant shrieking guitar; off-kilter live drumming performed by someone wearing a “Fuck Real Life” shirt; a lame karaoke-style video display, which didn’t seem to help the vocalist, as he stopped “singing” (read: mumbling) at one point and then pointed at the video projection and said “these are the lyrics I should be singing, so, um…Iowa City!” It was bad, bad, bad. Which surprised me, as the recorded material on Ruin is pretty good. Alexis mentioned during the SB set that this was Elite Gymnastics first tour—a surprise to absolutely no one in attendance.
I did not take video of EG. I wouldn’t do that to my phone.
But I did grab some footage from the SB set. First up, the pre-concert intro music and set opener “Demons” (the lights come up around the 1:40 mark):
And I was able to get Alexis talking about this being their first trip to Iowa, before they lit into “Born to Lose”:
We got seven songs from Reign of Terror and a whopping nine from Treats (but not “Run the Heart,” sadly). They skipped my least favorite song on each album, and played a song that I love but didn’t think was a guaranteed inclusion in the set list (“Leader of the Pack” from Reign). Alexis sounded good, even while crowd-surfing, and they all seemed to be having a good time.
Just like the people in the crowd. (Including the pregnant lady who hung with the MoSS crew for the evening!)
Click here to see our friend Bill Adams’ photos from the show.
Next week: M83