I barely managed to post my summer concert preview before it officially became summer and my list would've no longer been even technically on time. I've been hoping I could be at least that punctual with my fall concert preview, especially after seeing the Cityview and the Des Moines Register's Datebook fall entertainment guides pile up on my coffee table. This is my best effort.

Britney Spears on Sept. 11, I'm sorry I missed you.

(Hat tip to Tom Ewing for the title of this post. Thanks to Patrick and Ashley Tape Fleming for making the adjacent photo with the IOWA shaved-head fan guy happen... it was our dirty iPhone, not any shakiness by Ashley, that caused the blur. Mrs. Des Noise is cropped out, to protect the innocent. And the jobs thereof.)


Friday, Sept. 18: Grace Basement @ Vaudeville Mews
Catchy, jangly St. Louis guitar-pop with reverence for '60s psych: "Today I made some hummus for you" (listen)

Saturday, Sept. 19: Silversun Pickups and Manchester Orchestra @ Hoyt Sherman
Two popular indie rock bands I've never seen live. L.A.'s Silversun Pickups go for taut rythms, Placebo-pinched vox, and post-"Popular" Nada Surf mellow anthemics, while Atlanta's Manchester Orchestra do the "grandiose 1990s alternative (slight keyboard)" thing. If I can convince Mrs. Des Noise, I'll go.

Sunday, Sept. 20: Laura Barrett @ Vaudeville Mews
My favorite moment for the kalimba, or thumb piano, so far is former Vaud-playing Swede Jens Lekman's cover of late Iowa native Arthur Russell's "A Little Lost". Expect Toronto's Barrett to play the instrument-- and maybe keyboard, kazoo, bass pedals, and "other percussion"-- when she brings her low-key, minimalist folk-pop to Des Moines. (listen)

Monday, Sept. 21: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band @ Wells Fargo Arena
The Boss returns to Des Moines for the first time since 2006, this time with his longtime accomplices. OK, I really like Nebraska, "The River", "It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City", and probably plenty of other songs I'm blanking on right now-- I'm not a total Philistine!-- but I've always found "Born to Run" ridiculous, winced after Springsteen got a career boost out of 9/11 with The Rising, and I don't have $90 to shell out on tickets, so since I'm sitting this one out anyway I'm gonna have to side with Richard Meltzer, who compared Bruce's blend of 1950s nostalgia (Roy Orbison!) and 1960s nostalgia (Bob Dylan!) to another 1970s phenomenon: the Fonz. This view is probably the real reason I could no longer live in the mid-Atlantic states.

Monday, Sept. 21: Trivium @ People's
Three years ago, friend of Des Noise Tom Breihan called Trivium "the Jackson 5 of Underground Metal." I'm not one of those indie rock guys who nurtures a pet metal obsession; the only aggressive bones I have in my body are passive. But still.

Monday, Sept. 21: The Chambermaids @ Vaudeville Mews
Pedal-pushing Minneapolis power trio (their MySpace bio invokes shoegazers My Bloody Valentine, art-punks Wire, the Auckland Sound of New Zealand's Flying Nun, and the heady foreboding of 4AD) gets Down in the Berries. (listen)

Wednesday, Sept. 23: (early show) Good Old War @ Vaudeville Mews
My God, Fleet Foxes already have their own Thorns. At least that's what I thought when I first heard this band, a splinter project of Philadelphia indie-rockers Days Away, but it was only a live acoustic track. The full-band material is more textured and forceful; my RSS reader suggests these guys, like Jersey's Gaslight Anthem, are affiliated with the punk world despite their easygoing folk-rock sound. (listen)

(late show) Yourself and the Air @ Vaudeville Mews
"I don't know why but I feel so strange," these shimmery Chicago indie-rockers murmur plaintively on "So You've Come to Mingle", a buzzing, chiming, handclapping, whoa-oh-ohing stop-starter from their record Friend of All Breeds. "I don't know why but I feel like a mess... with you." I've only heard a couple of tracks, as with most of the up-and-coming groups playing at the Mews this month, but I could totally see myself bouncing around and making a mess of myself to this energetic, emotive stuff. (listen)

Thursday, Sept. 24: The Love Language @ Vaudeville Mews
Red-lining North Carolina indie band rocks nostalgic for Western swing, Buddy Holly, and a girl named Mary Lou who stole their heart. Says Ladd: "I really, really love this band!" Consider me there. (listen) Also: Saddle Creek-signed Toronto indie-folkers the Rural Albert Advantage (listen)

Friday, Sept. 25: Dave Matthews Band @ Principal Park
I understand Dave Matthews fandom. I heard about the band from an older cousin in 8th grade. When I moved to Nashville a year later and everyone was freaking out about some Hootie and the Blowfish band, DMB was common ground. They were even my first concert, in Phoenix in 10th grade. I still have some of the bootlegs. And I find this video hilarious. Everybody who goes will have a good time! I get it, and I think there's something good to be said for it, but I don't think anybody wants to read my take on it.

Friday, Sept. 25: The Shirelles, the Crystals, the Chantels @ Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino
What are the chances these are the people who actually sang on the records?

Saturday, Sept. 26: Dogtown Fest
The Register's Sophia Ahmad has the lineup (I've only see Beati Paoli; curious about the others):
  • Main stage at 23rd and University Street — 4:20 p.m. – Finn Miles, 5:30 p.m. – Menlo, 6:30 p.m. – Beati Paoli, 8 p.m. – Maxilla Blue, 9:30 p.m. – Cashes Rivers
  • Acoustic stage at Mars Cafe, 2318 University Ave. — 6:15 p.m. – James Biehn, 7:30 p.m. – Seedlings, 9 p.m. – Curry & Red
Saturday, Sept. 26: The Airborne Toxic Event @ People's
Earlier this year, I wrote: "When I read the Don Delillo book from which this band got their name, I thought it was overrated, the sort of thing a celebrity might say is great just to feel smart-- the postmodern Old Man and the Sea. OK, I was still just a freshman in college. There's a very good chance I was wrong."

Monday, Sept. 28: Mark Mallman @ Vaudeville Mews
Minneapolis piano-rocker with grandiose guitar touches befitting Wells Fargo Arena performers Trans-Siberian Orchestra toes up to the Weird Al irony line. (listen) (Star Tribune profile)

Tuesday, Sept. 29: The Rosewood Thieves @ Vaudeville Mews
Rootsy recent Hold Steady openers have the double-track vocals, syllable-stretching tunes, and melancholy guitar arrangements to earn comparisons to Elliott Smith or Earlimart, if not quite John Lennon. The folk and country tinges also align the New York band with the likes of Blitzen Trapper, Fleet Foxes, or Whiskeytown. (listen) with Portland's slightly folksier rock howlers the Dead Trees (listen)

Wednesday, Sept. 30: Wovenhand @ Vaudeville Mews
Former frontman for Denver alt-country band 16 Horsepower gets heavy and Nick Cave ominous in support of last year's Ten Stones. (listen)

Thursday, Oct. 1: Wilco at University of Iowa Memorial Union, Iowa City
Wilco (The Des Noise fall concert preview item).

Thursday, Oct. 8: Owl City @ House of Bricks
Mrs. Des Noise has already instantly denounced this EXTREMELY Postal Service-like band's "Fireflies" as more or less a crime against humanity. So I may be in the minority here. But I like the Postal Service! I like the idea of a band revisiting the Postal Service/Discovery sissy electro-pop sound and translating it for a mainstream radio audience! I like "Fireflies"! And I hope to like Owl City live.

Friday, Oct. 9: Miley Cyrus @ Wells Fargo Arena
Miley's "Party in the U.S.A.", like Kylie's much better "Can't Get You Outta My Head" before it, sounds like a pop hit with both mass audiences and critics in mind. I don't know that I'd believe the KISS FM DJ I heard saying he saw a trucker blasting the Hannah Montana star's current hit with the windows down, but I do know that it's a fascinating song to talk about. Meta to the max, it's already been called "the first Michael Jackson tribute record," and it prompted Mrs. Des Noise to ask whether she's getting paid for all those endorsements: KISS FM, Britney, Jay-Z. The only people the Top 40 really matters to, though, in terms of IRL social impact, are teenagers and preteens, and I sort of hate how endorsing this song would suggest you're endorsing the conformity that makes Miley's tummy feel better. Hey young girls: Don't like KISS FM or Britney, let alone that sweet feminist Jay? You don't get invited to the party! I won't be showing up, either, but I am morbidly curious.

Friday, Oct. 9: Lamb of God, Gwar @ Val Air Ballroom
Yeah, so I probably won't go to this. I know that some of my friends probably would. Metal! And joke-metal! And unfair jokes about metal that write themselves, thereby perpetuating metal's embrace by indie kids who maybe used to joke about metal!

Friday, Oct. 9: Yo La Tengo @ the Slowdown, Omaha
I will, in fact, be heading to Nebraska to see Hoboken's post-Sinatra finest this night. New album Popular Songs is their second straight triumph after 2003's uncharacteristically middling Summer Sun. I wrote something about their song "Our Way to Fall" for one of Pitchfork's best-of-the-decade lists: here.

Saturday, Oct. 10: AC/DC @ Wells Fargo Arena
Totally worth $90, says aforementioned friend of Des Noise Tom Breihan, who wrote up the classic kilt-rockers' 2008 Madison Square Garden gig for the Village Voice. Almost certainly true, but anybody wanna get me on the guest list?

Wednesday, Oct. 14: Dethklok, Mastodon, High on Fire, Converge @ Val Air Ballroom
Finally! A metal show I really want to see!

Wednesday, Oct. 28: The Veronicas @ the M Shop, Ames
I'd still be curious to see this Avril-like band some time.

Thursday, Oct. 29: Matisyahu @ People's
Everyone's favorite Hasidic reggae-rapper from this year's 80/35 festival makes his autumnal return.

Sunday, Nov. 1: New Found Glory @ People's
Whoa, these pop-punks are still around? That one guy looks kinda like Morrissey with a skunk hair-stripe.

Sunday, Nov. 22: Minus the Bear @ People's
Mathy Seattle indie rockers.


  1. Good list, wish i was going to Grace Basement, they remind me of GBV

  2. Aw, man your list makes me wish I still lived in the Midwest. I do actually really like the Veronicas, but I'm also a Kelly Clarkson fan (and love "Since U Been Gone"). I saw Airborne Toxic Event at City Hall Plaza in Boston this summer on a bill with Ra Ra Riot, Metric, Passion Pit, and Gaslight Anthem, and while I think their name's ridiculous and clunky, I enjoyed their set but haven't felt compelled to download anything.

    Oh, and I meant to say thank you for commenting on my blog a ways back!

  3. Thanks, Lauren!

    Oh, I also forgot to include Jackson Browne, who is playing at the Civic Center on Dec. 1 (I know December doesn't feel like fall, but if I'm going to go with the technical definitions of the season I may as well be consistent).

    And new local band Pink Kodiak has some dates: http://www.myspace.com/pinkkodiak

    Thurs. Sept. 24
    Vaudeville Mews
    8pm start $10 cover
    4 bands total

    Thurs. Oct. 15
    Ames Progressive
    8pm start, $5 cover

  4. Metal has some good things going on in it these days, artistically as well as the general health of the scene, which may have something to do with why indie rockers of late, myself included, have a metal fetish going. For my case though, I consider it my "return" to metal, since I was a metal fan as a teenager and abandoned it in my 20s because it seemed like most of the bands sucked during those years.

    That said, it's just sad that it takes dopey novelty acts like Dethklok and Gwar to get crowds out for the really good bands that are the non-headliners on those bills. Seriously, if my finances were better, I'd be making plans to show up at the Dethklok show and leave early -- I really like those other three bands. Lamb Of God isn't half bad either.

    A little bummed out about the Yo la Tengo date because I'll be in Dubuque playing with Why Make Clocks that night. But I'm happy to hear that some portion of Sixteen Horsepower is still active. What I've heard of Minus The Bear (my sister is really into them) sounded pretty sweet.

    To quote Godz: "Ya know something? Music's better than it used to be!"

  5. There were only like 4 people at the Grace Basement show last night, but they had a spectacular set! And I appreciate when a band doesn't let a tiny turnout make them act like assholes on stage! So that was good. Listening to their album Gunmetal Gray right now. It's really fucking good!

  6. Another one: locals Hanwell play at Drake with Eric Hutchinson Oct. 9

    Man, bummed I missed the Grace Basement show! We got up at like 5 a.m. that day and ate too much for dinner at Alba after a brief stop at the Continental... post-dessert, we basically passed out like old people around 9 or 10. I woke up around midnight to turn out the lights.

    Anybody catch Laura Barrett last night @ the Vaud? We were at Hessen House trivia night.