Letter from the Editor

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Song of eccentricity

My hope is that the new King's Pointe facilities, the idea of a portable stage for the Awaysis Great Lawn, and community center projects for Marathon and possibly Newell, will soon be cranking up more opportunities for live music.

There is a whole generation of Storm Lakers who need to experience the fact that music actually exists beyond the confines of their iPods earbuds.

Just in case you didn't think there was enough music to go around, I've been surfing the web for bands of all genres that play in Iowa venues - I stopped counting when I was closing in on 1,000. And I suspect will will grow more if we have the places for them to play.

If you are a regular reader of this space, you know that I have a bit of a taste for the creatively eccentric - in the past, I've shared with you the most unusual sports nicknames, the strangest names for boats and the oddest personalized license plates I could find in Iowa.

Today, I thought I would share some of the funkiest names for bands I could find playing around the Hawk- er, um, Cyclone State. I can't vouch for the musical skills of all of these artists, but if they have half the creativity in their songs as the originality they put into choosing their names, they may have pretty good shows to offer Storm Lake one day soon.

I'd like to hear Pianopalooza, Floodplane, The Benderheads, Duke Tomatoe, Hot Rod & the Devilles, Scotty & the Wingtips, Raccoon River Blues Boys, Voodoo 3 - and for those of you with failed New Year's diet resolutions, The Weight.

Then there's Yetti Bluz Band, Jonny & the Rectifiers, Backstage Boogie Band, 3 AM Band, Hot Tamale & The Red Hots, AM Radio, The Wailin' Jennys, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's Wild and Swingin' Party.

Possibly Iowa's coolest rock club name, Hairy Mary's, is bound to host some slobberknockers. Recent acts there include: Gas Cap Bandits, First Time in Print, Action Figure, Squidboy, Build or Burn, Dog Fashion Disco, Geisha Girls, Actors and Actresses, Toxic Narcotic, Naked Agression, the Streetbrats, Hunger Pains, Broken Teeth, and for all you pessimists out there, Year Long Disaster.

"Barefoot Becky" is a perennial favorite who has stomped her way through some Old World old school sets in these parts. Some other winners include: And God Blessed Ignorance, Fancy Pants, The Soapbox Prophets, A Gun Named Hope, Creapy Kids, Supernauts, The Wedding, On A Pale Horse, The Melvins, Monkey Finger, Lookout Loretta, The Cassandra Disease, Piebald, Pearls & Brass, and for everyone who has had a Valentine's Day go horribly wrong, Mewithoutyou.

The Iowa Memorial Union has been known to host a couple of cool-sounding bands, like Army of Me, and The Dog and Everything.

Java Joes Coffeehouse in Des Moines features the likes of Bottoms Up Blues Band, Selling September and the inexplicable Milkwar.

The Maintenance Shop at ISU has plenty of unique band names on recent bills - Ohmega Watts and Diverse, Mountain Goats, Appleseed Cast, The Greencards, Hockey Night, The Big Wu, The Velvet Teen, The Envy Corps, The Smoking Popes.

Over at the Mars Cafe, you may hear Conspicuous Consumption; while at The Mill in Iowa City, you might catch The Ants, Wax Cannon, the Mayflies, Mandarin Dynasty. The Pella Opera House rocks out an Abba tribute band called Bjourn Again, or the waterlogged sounds of Catfish Keith.

The Raccoon River Brewing Company can hook you up, appropriately, with Can of Worms. Also Blue Island Tribe, Big Muddy Duo, The Soapbox Prophets, and, whatever the heck this is - "Euforquestra." My faves at the Ritual Cafè would have to be Chicks with Picks, and Sonia and Disappear Fear.

Playing recently at Stephens Auditorium in Ames, calmly enough, was Widespread Panic. Also sizzling around the region are Fat Tuesday & The Greasefire Horns, Eight Track Band, She Wants Revenge, Plain White T's.

The Val Air Ballroom hosts this intriguing band, The Sleeping.

Vaudeville Mews club draws in The Show Is The Rainbow, Why Make Clocks, Bad Actor Typecast, Elf Power, Submerge 101, Pseudo Slang, Pigeon John, The Legendary Shack Shakers, TGI Funky, Schaffer The Dark Lord, Deconstructing Jim, Left Is West, and for the neurotic music fan, The Hidden Cameras.

All this creative noise brings me to my choices for all-time best Iowa band names, the creme of the crazy hopping crop. You don't even need to hear the concerts, the band names are entertainment enough!

10. All But Screaming (a Storm Lake EdgeFest fave)

9. Think Floyd

8. Randy Burk and The Prisoners (Captivating!)

7. An Airbag Saved My Life

6. Kentucky Fried Mullet

5. Big Mike and Holdin' On Tight

4. Boogie & The Yo-Yo'z

3. Casper and the Cookies

2. Rev. Raven & the Chain-Smokin' Altar Boys (refugees from the old Storm Lake Blues Fest, still out there kickin' it.)

And, the champion of champions...drum roll please...

1. Chicken Poodle Soup

What a card they would make, if only we had a place for them to play... and a safe place to hide our poddles for the weekend.

* Dana Larsen can be reached at dlarsen@stormlakepilot tribune.com