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Mission Creek Festival: Local bands to join national acts to showcase music this weekend

BY EMILY BURDS | APRIL 04, 2013 5:00 AM

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Audio: Chasing Shade

"Hourglass"

The streets and local venues of Iowa City will be filled with familiar music this week as part of the Mission Creek Festival. The event brings a variety of culture to the area, and one of the many ways it does this is by showcasing the area’s local talent.

This year, several local bands will take the stage alongside national acts to celebrate the one thing that brought them here — their love of music.

Two former UI students who couldn’t be more excited about this week will appear on the Mission Creek stage for the first time. Griffen Harris and Elliot Beenk, known as Chasing Shade, said they are ready to have some fun this week.

“It’s always amazing to see Iowa City burst to life for a week of music, literature, and art,” Harris said, “I plan on flying by the seat of my pants and catching as much of everything as possible.”

The guys hope to catch a few shows, such as Grizzly Bear and Divine Fits, when they aren’t busy adding a mini horn section and a bassist for this week’s performance. Chasing Shade will open for Future Rock and Zeta June at 9 p.m. Friday at Gabe’s, 330 E. Washington St. Admission is $12 in advance, $15 at the door.

Harris and Beenk aren’t the only ones excited to hear bands at the festival.

The members of local band Emperor’s Club, which will join the lineup for the second time, said they look forward to promoting their new album, Killer Companion.

Emperor’s Club will open for Divine Fits, with No Coast, at 9 p.m. Friday at the Blue Moose Tap House, 211 Iowa Ave. Admission is $18 in advance, $22 at the door.

Band member Adam Havlin said the group’s music is so influenced by Iowa City and its culture that being a part of this festival seems fitting.

“Emperors Club isn’t a ‘representation’ of [Iowa City’s music] scene but a result of it,” he said. “We drink together, work together, hurt together, and complain about the police together. I hope that comes across in the music that we play.”

A band that has its roots in Ames is trying to find a place in the music scene here. Blizzard At Sea will return this year to bring a heavier sound to the mix that hasn’t always been found in past lineups.

“Our music is diverse in sound and attempts to challenge people’s conceptions about metal and heavy music in general,” said band leader Steven Douglas Ross. “The show we are playing with Pallbearer will stand out as being heavier, sludgier, doomier, and probably louder. It will be great.”

The show will take place at 9 p.m. today at Gabe’s, where the band will open for Pallbearer alongside Sweet Chariot and Big Box. Admission is $10 in advance, $12 at the door.

Blizzard At Sea will feature songs off its latest album, Individuation, which was born in a Kickstarter campaign last year.

In Ross’ eyes, the importance of supporting live music knows no bounds.

“Listening to your favorite music in your headphones just doesn’t compare to the support given by attending a live show,” he said. “Iowa City seems to be perpetually on the cusp of having a great music scene, and it is events such as Mission Creek that really give that extra push.”

These bands and many others will show Iowa City their love for the arts this week and will represent the city’s culture.

An Emperor’s Club member has a proposition for Iowa City and all Mission Creek Festival fans.

“I think both the size and relative isolation of Iowa City work to our advantage in that all the artistic communities are mutually supportive and interwoven — from food and literature to visual arts and music,” Rachel Sauter said. “The Mission Creek Festival really represents this and proves that a place such as Iowa City can be progressive. So let’s get loud, Iowa City. Let’s surprise each other.”

Blizzard At Sea
When: 9 p.m. today
Where: Gabe’s, 330 E. Washington
Admission: $10 in advance, $12 at the door

Chasing Shade
When: 9 p.m. Friday
Where: Gabe’s
Admission: $12 in advance, $15 at the door

Emperor’s Club
When: 9 p.m. Friday
Where: Blue Moose, 211 Iowa
Admission: $18 in advance, $22 at the door


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