The Gadjits/Slightly Paradise/Mad Happy - live in Iowa City (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Gadjits / Slightly Paradise / Mad Happy

live in Iowa City (2003)

live show

This show was just plain weird.

But allow me to start earlier in the night. As Moldy and I [and a girl accompanying us who was wearing a Good Charlotte shirt - she'll remain nameless] entered the smokey confines of Gabe's Oasis, we were in for a bit of a surprise - virtually *no one* was there. Sure it was a weeknight, but did people not realize how good the Gadjits were? What was the deal? Then we remembered that Zwan was playing across town [I personally loathe that bands, but I'm willing to bet there were hundreds at the show who didn't.]. Stupid Zwan.

So in front of a handful of people, the Heartattacks took the stage. The band, from Cedar Falls, IA [or maybe Cedar Rapids? My memory is a bit shady right now] had a good roots-rock meets punk rock sound, and I enjoyed their set. For a comparison, think a more straightforward Against Me! or "Jagged Thoughts"-era American Steel. Their stage presence was lacking, but I'd go see them again if they played around here.

In between bands, Moldy and I found the best thing to do ever - video strip poker! The back of Gabe's Oasis has one of those multi-game video consoles, and it definitely had strip poker. And we definitely rocked ass at it. This was a perfect lead in to the next band: Mad Happy.

I don't even know how on earth to describe Mad Happy. Take a guy who looked like Iggy Pop, a girl who looked like she'd been strung out on heroin for a bit too long, add two mics, a guitar, and a drum machine, and you have Mad Happy. Their style of rap-meets-funk-meets-ska was as bizarre as they come, but for some reason it worked. There's something in New Jersey's water, I guess [as that's where they're from]. Moldy bought their live DVD, and I can't wait to borrow it.

Then Slightly Paradise played. They were by the numbers emotional pop punk. They sucked. On an up note, a lot of hot girls came to watch their blandness [they were one of those bands]. On a down note, Moldy heckeled the band and all the hot girls gave us dirty looks, insuring that I had no chance with any of them. Anyway, they sucked, stay away from Slightly Paradise.

And finally, the Gadjits took the stage to maybe 2 dozen people. Did that stop them from pouring 110% into their 12-song set? Not one bit. The band's sound is one of 60s rock blended with influences of old soul, R & B, and the occasional ska upstroke. This is the fourth time I've seen them, and it was maybe the best time, too. Their sound is so incredibly cohesive it's insane. They all seem to be reading each other's minds when up on stage.

They opened with three new songs, and this salvo of new music knocked me for a loop. RCA Records really blew it when they let the band go earlier this year [for those of you who don't know, the Gadjits signed to RCA a little while ago, but after a label merger, were dropped like a bad habit]. The sound the band has falls into the whole "garage rock" category, but it is more fresh than anything coming out of New York.

The sent went on to include a bunch of material off their 2002 effort "Today Is My Day," and even reached back to their first album on Hellcat, playing "Beautiful Girl" [to the delight of Moldy].

Basically, the Gadjits rule. I can't think of many bands that I've seen recently that will put a smile on *everyone's* face in the crowd - this band's stage presence is next-to-none, and their musicianship is top notch. I can't understand why more people aren't fans of the Gadjits. If you know what's good for you, you'll become one, and fast.

Had the show been the Gadjits alone, I'd give it a 10. Due to the poor selection of opening acts and the non-existant crowd, it brought my rating down to a 7. I'd still recommend the Heartattacks and the Gadjits, though.

Shine [new song]
Black [new song]
Sixty-Eight [new song]
Someday Driver
Beautiful Girl
One Stones Throw From A Riot
This Could Be Permanent
Ex Ballerina
Walkin' [new song?]
We Were Right
Talkin' Bout My Demographic