07 July 2009


I was not very excited about this year's lineup for the 80/35 Music Festival, which is too bad because it is the biggest music event in Des Moines. The new location, just a couple blocks east from last year, seemed to work out fine. The main stage was good, but for some reason the festival just felt smaller than last year. Even though the bands I was most excited to see (Matisyahu and Tilly and the Wall) played on Friday night, the fact that they were both on the main (braclet required) stage, coupled with the crappy weather ensured that I stayed home. But Saturday brought new hope of discovering some fun new music. So, ignoring the overcast and intermittenly misting skies, caboose and I headed downtown. We caught the last song of Audrye Sessions and they sounded like I would've enjoyed their set, so that was a bit of a downer. But we followed that up with Girl in a Coma, an all-girl punk band out of San Antonio, who were good and I had a good time listening and watching them. Back to the east stage after that, we caught the Josh Davis Band, who always seem to be playing somewhere around Des Moines, but oddly, I'd never went to listen to them before. They played a pretty fun set of fairly pop-ish tunes and again, I pretty happy with what I heard. Former students were out in force down there which provided some fun conversation in between bands; hearing where they've been and how their first year of college went. We then went back to the west stage to listen to Cymbals Eat Guitars, which had been hyped up by Pitchfork and Juice. They were awful. The only entertaining thing about that show was this group of people that brought in a plastic yard flamingo that had been painted for the Fourth of July and the tip of the beak and tail cut off, making it into a beer bong. They were going around having everyone try it out. Check out the flaBONGgo here. Lastly, we caught Cleo's Apartment on the east stage. They were a fun show. Lots going on on stage, lots of instruments, a great voice on the lead singer, a guest appearance by Aeon Grey. Fun stuff. caboose and I headed out after that and came home to recharge and go our seperate ways. He went to check out a Menace game and I went back down to 80/35, meeting a friend who had an extra braclet for the main stage, so even though we missed Broken Social Scene who I really wanted to hear, we were there for the Ben Harper set. I've never been a huge fan of the guy and now he's got a new band, more rock, less folky, so he didn't play any songs from his old stuff. It was ok, and there was a fun cover of Led Zeppelin's 'Good Times, Bad Times', but nothing else too memorable. Overall, it was a fun day of music, some good, some not good, but definitely better than nothing!


  1. The flaBONGo was a popular item. People were enjoying passing it around.

    Yeah - that first band was doing some cool stuff, its too bad we missed it. I heard Matt played with the Envy Corps for a song, too.

  2. Love the flaBONGo - hilarious!

  3. That is too bad you didn't get to see all of Audrye Sessions. I was able to see them in April. They opened up for Manchester Orchestra. The lead singer, super nice and his vocal range is killer. Plus they have a gal bassist. Very layered and rockin. If you get a chance to see em again, highly recommend it.
    Matt did play a few songs with The Envy Corps but nothing of his. Just to get some exposure. Gotta get ready for the new album release.
    Did you get to see Man, Man? or Modern Skirts? I like those bands too. Man. Man is crazy on stage.
    sounds fun! too bad the weather did hold up for ya. Hope lolla is better.