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A medley of bands, DJs take over Gabe's and Yacht Club

BY GRACE HAERR | APRIL 02, 2015 5:00 AM

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For the 2015 Mission Creek Festival, music lovers may sate their palates on a seemingly endless colors of sound, with performances ranging from R&B to rock and roll to bluegrass.

This year, Gabe’s, 330 E. Washington St., and the Yacht Club, 13 S. Linn St., are keeping it in the family by hosting a number of the Mission Creek bands. Gabe’s will host Silver Apples, Ben Frost, How to Dress Well, Com Truise, and Diamond Rugs.

Meanwhile, Yacht Club will host Sqürl, Ben Miller Band, Sidewalk Chalk, and the DJs of Mission Beat.

Scott Kading, the owner and talent buyer for both venues, said almost anything goes at Gabe’s upstairs stage, whether it be metal, hip-hop, rock, country, or others. But at its sister bar, the party is at basement level. The Yacht Club’s underground scene has hosted Mission Beat for three of the group’s five years of existence.

“Mission Beat has become the official or unofficial dance party for Mission Creek Festival,”  said Ben Mealhow, the host of Mission Beat. “The style this year is house and techno … We expect more than 150 people, so it will be a full house at the Yacht Club.”

Mealhow lives in Denver but said he will always return to Iowa City for Mission Beat — despite the 12-hour drive.

“It’s been a staple every year,” he said. “… It’s always great to come home and see the family and the same people who seem to come out for it all.”

This year’s Mission Beat DJs include Airyck Sterrett, Matt Rissi, bTsunami, and Giant Child.

Sterrett has been DJing and producing for nearly 15 years.

“I do it because I love it,” he said. “Music has given me a positive outlook for the future; it’s the soundtrack of my life kind of thing. I want to provide the same thing music does for me for other people.”

Part of this mission, Sterrett said, includes following the beat of his turntable.

“I battle with the idea sometimes of whether of not I should have gone more commercial, but I want music to be something I don’t have to depend on,”he said. “I don’t want to need to make this cheesy song so I can eat, I want to do it as expression of myself and how I feel.”

A last-minute addition to the Mission Beat lineup, Sterrett said he is excited about his Mission Creek début and to perform in Iowa City, where he grew up and grew to love electronic sounds.

“It is where I did all my discovering of this type of music,” he said. “It’s where I got involved with the people. It has made me who I am. They are almost like family for me. They appreciate me for who I am. It’s a place I can play exactly how I want: let loose and be experimental. Not worry about how people think I should be playing but just play.”

“There are a lot of people looking forward to his return,” Mealhow said.

Another artist returning to Iowa City is Tom Krell of the one-man project How to Dress Well.

“Iowa City is a weird place in my personal biography,” said Krell, who lived in Iowa City for four years. His return comes nearly a decade later, and he plans to perform a few of his tasty new tracks.

“Playing music brings me an enormous amount of pleasure,” he said. “I want my audience to hear something beautiful [and] intense.”

Using a falsetto combined with soft undertones, How to Dress Well’s songs gives off a dream-like feel on the album What is This Heart?

“It is something I have wanted and worked on since I was 16. I’m not competitive with others as much as I am with myself,” Krell said. “This has pushed me to keep doing exciting things.”

Like Sterrett, Krell said he hopes to contribute the sense of community the Mission Creek Festival inspires.

“I just try to have a robust connection with people,” he said. “My goal for performing is to try to make people laugh and feel something and get excited about music and about the experience.”


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