Bryon’s Music Roundup: Explosions in the Sky Play Wooly’s, Pridefest Coming to Bandshell Park

Explosions in the Sky plays Wooly's in Des Moines. Photo: Bryon Dudley/Iowa Informer

Last week started out rough, with the loss of Tom Petty. I’m still sort of processing that, and keep pulling out Wildflowers and realizing what a great album that is. His entire catalog is pretty amazing, and quite an achievement in music, but that’s the one that scratches a lot of itches for me.

Things I’m Looking Forward To

The debut album from Ben Schrag and the Cautionaries is going to be something really cool, I think. I’m engineering it, so I’m completely biased here, but I feel confident in saying that the songs on this are very strong, and the band is completely gelling. I’m also leaving on a small mini-tour of Iowa next week with Evan Campbell, Vanessa Ellsbury, and Ben Foster. We’ve been playing some of each others’ songs together, and I can’t wait to go on the road with such great people.

Album Review

Matthew James and the Rust Belt Union just released their debut album, Impropmptu Musicals for the Skeptic. You can give it a listen here. It’s a perfect mix of growling folk and greasy rockabilly, with some blues thrown in the blender for good measure. It’s kind of like a Dixie-fried Tom Waits, in the best possible way.

Show Review

Explosions in the Sky played a sold out show at Wooly’s in Des Moines last Thursday. It was pretty incredible, if transcendental cinematic post-rock is your thing. The band seemed to have a good time, relying heavily on their 2007 album The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place, to much cheering and adulation.

Album Review (Slight Return)

Crystal City has just released their fourth album, Bartenderly. They haven’t lost their knack for heartfelt folk-pop, and the full band sound has settled in really nicely. There’s great harmonies, which has become a staple of their sound, and some surprising arrangement moments, such as trumpets coming in here and there. At 17 songs, it’s kind of an artistic statement, but the whole record is thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended. You can give it a listen here.

Piano, Man!

Weather permitting, on Friday at 5 p.m. the community piano currently at Tom Evans Park on Main Street here in Ames will be moving to London Underground. This will be a lot of fun, both for future show opportunities, and for people to just stop by and grab and drink and tinkle an ivory or two. I work for London Underground, so full disclosure there, but, hey, free piano playing!

Ames Pridefest/Facebook
Ames Pridefest/Facebook


This Saturday, Oct. 14, at Bandshell Park, from noon until 6 p.m., is Ames Pridefest. There will be a lot of performers, a park full of great vibes and friendly people, and just the right amount of weirdness to make the proceedings a proper Pride event.

Bryon Dudley
Bryon Dudley is a writer and musician from Ames. He has written about music and other topics for a number of local publications and blogs. When not playing music and putting out albums with groups such as Strong Like Bear, Liana, and Rockets of Desire, he is helping other Iowa artists record their music at his studio, The Spacement, and releasing it on the Iowa label he co-founded, Nova Labs. He has a tattoo of an aardvark and is adjusting to bifocals.