Into the mystics, kilts and all

BY NICK FETTY | AUGUST 20, 2009 7:05 AM

Slipknot wears masks. The members of KISS cover their faces with makeup. Mystic Ordinaries bass player Jake Winn wears a kilt.

However, for him, wearing the kilt is much more than a mere gimmick.

“Mostly I do it because it’s comfortable,” he said. “Funny thing is, I’m not really Scottish.”

Winn, who is actually Swedish, said his distinct kilt-inclusive wardrobe has brought him recognition on the street as the bass player for Mystic Ordinaries. Winn, his kilt, and the rest of the band will appear at the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St., at 9 p.m. today with Raw Mojo and Band From Town. Admission is $6.

The three members of Mystic Ordinaries came to Iowa City from different parts of the country.

Winn is from California, guitarist Tom Zetty from Louisiana, and drummer Brian Lesniak is a native of Minnesota. Despite being from different areas, the members of Mystic Ordinaries share one thing.

“We’re about playing music that we write, and we’re about having a good time and making it an enjoyable performance,” Zetty said. “We try to make our sound bigger so that we can get away with a smaller number of musicians.”

Since Mystic Ordinaries’ formation in February, the group has written around 30 songs. The band has played at the Mill and the Yacht Club, 13 S. Linn St., a few times but has not played outside Iowa City.

“The Mill is cozy,” Zetty said. “There’s always a good crowd and good sound, so it’s a good place to play.”

Though this will be only the group’s second show at the Mill, it is also the second time that Mystic Ordinaries has headlined the bill. Winn said he likes the friendly atmosphere of the Iowa City music scene compared with larger markets, such as that of California. The band itself contributes to the genial vibe by offering free admission to any fans that wear Mystic Ordinaries T-shirts to shows.

Though the group mainly plays rock music, its song “Jacob’s Ladder” has a gospel feel and also features an a cappella section. Zetty recalls a performance of “Jacob’s Ladder” at the Yacht Club last June as being particularly memorable.

“It felt really special that that song clicked, and I think that we performed it better vocally than we ever have before,” he said.

All three members have extensive musical backgrounds, including activities outside the band. For example, Lesniak plays guitar, bass, and saxophone, sings in a barbershop choir, and is a member of the Iowa City Community Band.

Tonight, though, Lesniak will pick up his drumsticks to play with Mystic Ordinaries.

“We play some good party music,” he said. “If you want to come up and dance, we have plenty of songs you can dance to.”

The show’s only requirement is comfortable dancing attire — even if that means wearing a kilt.

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