On Tuesday I went down to the Summer Land Tour/RAGBRAI event, because, of course I did. I went because it was music, it was free, I had family to support and I was born in 1980, so I have a natural affinity to the four 90’s acts that filled out the upper card of the show (Dustin Smith and the Sunday Silos and No Good Deed were both great and fitting openers to that show, and it seems like they got little credit or publicity ahead of time. So let me formally acknowledge their ability and existence. You guys and gals are all right).
I caught Sponge, and they were great. Sponge was always a band I stood up for and bring up when people speak of great 90’s bands or albums. They sounded great, even if their set was a little short and Lead Singer Vinnie Dombroski’s tattooed nipples providing an odd distraction. Even a fistfight threatened to ruin “Plowed”, but it turned out to be a pretty solid set from some veteran musicians.
It was there the night hit a slight hitch for me. I ended up having to do some work during Filter, and then Live. But I was determined to make it back for Everclear. What I hadn’t quite counted on was the 20 – 50,000 people who had packed Court Ave by the time Everclear had gone on. My natural instincts kicked in and I decided that maybe I didn’t like Everclear as much as I liked not being crammed in front of a sub-woofer. My natural instincts also tell me that when in doubt, head to Vaudeville Mews.
As a capper to my day of sun, music and dodging ten speeds, my friend Andrew and I walked down to 4th Street to catch what was happening there. The headliner was the always incredible River Monks, and they were joined by the Chicago band Terriers. I didn’t end up staying for those two, because I’m old. However, opening the show was a guy who has floated around the periphery of my Iowa music knowledge, but who I have never seen and really only had a slight familiarity with, Mr. Nasti. His set was short, too, but it was a complete revelation. He hides his lanky frame in a cloud of shadows alternating with a sea of bright, flashing lights. It is usually just him and a microphone and an occasional acoustic guitar. He was joined by who I think was Anna Gebhart from Annalibera for a couple songs, but I was tired and sitting in the balcony and there were a lot of lights, so I fully acknowledge that there is a small chance it was someone else.
Mr. Nasti is a unique artist. In his day to day life, he owns a restaurant in Fairfield. The couple of interactions I’ve had with him, he seems very mild-mannered and humble. On stage, that mild-mannered nature doesn’t altogether disappear, it is hugged into this charismatic and gifted singer-songwriter. He is coffeehouse in nature, but electronic in presentation. He brings a lot of the best of both scenes into one blur of lights and noise and beauty.
While he is working on a new album, there are several other albums available on his Bandcamp page and iTunes. The one I recommend is 2012’s Mr. Nasti. It is a nine track album that showcases exactly what he is capable of. The beats and the instrumentals are stunning, and his vocals are strained perfectly. Lyrically, it is a beautiful mix of love and hope and occasional despair. My favorite track is the seven and a half minute emotional dissection “Caught Up In The Hype”, a song that takes its cues from Ennio Morricone to Ryan Adams and even Giorgio Moroder. It is the perfect encompassing of what Mr. Nasti is as an artist.
So while I wish this article allowed me to discuss more of what I thought about the Summer Land tour, I feel like what I actually experienced was even better for me. Escaping the crowds can often lead to a more intense experience.
Try Not To Miss Shows 7/25 – 7/31
HRVRD w/ Tires – Vaudeville Mews 7/25 6pm
HRVRD are smart and pretty. Oh, and look. It’s Tires. So yeah, you should try to go to this one. And I’d imagine it will end in time for you to make it to this next show.
Mumford’s, The Lonelyhearts, Gloom Balloon and Love Songs For Lonely Monsters – Wooly’s 7/25 8pm
Last time Mumford’s played Des Moines, lead singer Nate Logsdon proposed to his girlfriend on stage. So, guess we will just have to wait and see how they top that. Okay, they won’t top that, but they’re still very good, as are all the bands on this bill.
Marcato w/ September, Sidewise, Earthrise and Cirrus Minor – House of Bricks 7/26 8pm
Marcato is a special band. They’re heavy when they need to be and subtle when they need to be and super gifted. This is the CD Release show for their new EP, Artifact.