My work continues to be busy, so I haven’t been writing a lot here, but I do manage to find time to post various links of interest to the Centipede Farm Facebook page. I figured I should pop in here quick and talk about music things I’ve been to or done lately. Leah and I went to see The Black Keys at the Val Air with busted AC, the place was packed and probably 110 degrees. I looked like I’d been in some kind of sweat-filled dunk tank. They played wonderfully though. I’ve seen some bands tend to play their songs faster live than they sound on record; the Black Keys, at least that night, played things a little bit slower, which I think suited the atmosphere of the sweltering August night. It was pretty rock and roll.
I saw the diva of mom-glam Leslie Hall, with her band Leslie And The Ly’s, bring their celebration of all things snazzy to a rainy Tuesday morning at the Iowa State Fair. Considering the weather and the early hour, they drew a respectable crowd and really pulled out all the stops when it came to silly props and between-song skits. Hanging quilts, a giant cat, and a tractor called Glitter Plow. Grace plays drums, the only live instrument they use in the show, as everything else is on a laptop other than vocals, and I can’t stress enough the level of skill it takes to be able to stay on beat with something prerecorded like that. Grace kicks ass. They’ll be at something called Inglert in Iowa City on September 16.
We did two Why Make Clocks shows this past weekend, and there were actually people at them. Saturday night’s show was at Vaudeville Mews with Noah’s Ark With A Spaceship, a great band we previously met and played with in Omaha where they’re from. They make a loud raucous guitar-noise-pop sound that I’d place in the lineage of Swervedriver. They’re on Slumber Party Records where they’re labelmates with Thunder Power and Outlaw Con Bandana among others. We got to hang out with them some before and after the show as well, and they are a fun bunch of cats. Some variation on what used to be called The Chatty Cathys opened, a group of young fellows making a Pavementy kind of racket, and they were quite enjoyable. In between was another very youthful outfit (14 to 16 years old, I believe), The Seed Of Something, which involves Dan’s wife Kim’s son Jasper and is also currently sharing drummer Will Tarbox with Why Make Clocks while they look for another. They’re really good and we’d like to see them keep at it, so if you know a kid around Des Moines who plays drums well and likes driving indie rock sounds, get in touch.
The following night both Why Make Clocks and The Seed Of Something played a double-birthday-party show at Des Moines Social Club along with The Atudes, Christopher The Conquered, and Poison Control Center. The birthdays in question were of our very own Dan, and of Pat from PCC, both of which were on Monday. Everyone put on a great show, though the sound in the Black Box Theater room of the DMSC was as usual a bit off. Friendly vibes abounded. PCC continue their “Never Ending Tour” tonight at The Slowdown in Omaha, and tomorrow night at The Lift in Dubuque , then a whole bunch of other places. I’d suggest checking the lengthy list of dates listed on their MySpace because chances are if you’re reading this, you’ll have an opportunity or two to see them in the next few months.
Finally, just last night, we did the second-ever show of the reunited Fetal Pig, opening up for the amazing Mahogany Frog from Winnipeg. MF first came to our attention when Why Make Clocks ended up playing with them at Big V’s in St. Paul. We liked them a lot and told them to get in touch if they ever thought of coming to play in Des Moines. They do mostly instrumental psychedelic prog-rock epics with lots of keyboards. It’s partly a recreation of prog circa ’72, but also very modern; I caught a lot about their set that I think fans of stuff like Battles would get into. Hell, anybody can get into stuff this good. While they were playing I kept thinking to myself they might be the best band in the universe.
Leah got me a bag of gummy centipedes!