Duvall / Decibully / Nolan / Gung Ho - live in Iowa City (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Duvall / Decibully / Nolan / Gung Ho

live in Iowa City (2003)

live show

Ah, the dingy, smokey confines of Gabe's Oasis. Overshadowed by the pure filth of Chicago's Fireside Bowl, Gabe's is truly one of the Midwest's dirtiest venues.

Oh yeah, it's also been around for over a decade and roughly everyone and their mother has played there before.

Anyway, Gabe's was the home of Duvall's first Iowa City show in some time. Even though the show was on a Thursday night, one would think it would still draw well - wrong. I've more or less given up all hope on the Iowa City scene, unless your band screams a lot. There were at maximum about 50-60 people at this show, which has been typical in past months for any band who actually enjoys a good melody now and then [just like the Jealous Sound show at Gabe's a few months ago]. The crowd was nonexistant as I arrived at the tail end of Gung Ho's set.

Gung Ho's instrumentation was that of keyboards, bass, and drums. It was unique and fun to watch, and I kind of got a "if Reel Big Fish went fully new wave" vibe [in part due to the singer sounding almost exactly like Aaron Barrett]. Their short pop numbers kept the handful of us entertained enough to make me pick up their 3-song EP [only a dollar!].

Iowa City homeboys Nolan were up next. This being my third time seeing them, they finally made a bit of an impression on me. Their drummer reminded me of Damon Atkinson in the relative ease he rocked the drumkit while still sounding awesome. Nolan's stage presence overall is still incredibly lacking, however, although their songs do keep getting better [out of the "Mineral ripoff" catgory and into something more unique].

Polyvinyl Records septet Decibully took the tiny Gabe's stage next, and there was barely any room to breathe due to the wide array of instrumentation on stage. The group's set focused mainly on songs from their new album City Of Festivals [review], knocking out "On The Way To Your Hotel," "Tables Turn," and "We Belong On Rooftops." To be honest, I didn't think could pull off all the myriad sounds present on their record, but they did everything that was recorded and then some, including a full-band percussion break in their closing song. The only depressing thing was that by the end of their set, there were more people on stage than people standing in front watching them. Apparently the people of Iowa City are too good to stand.

Luckily, Duvall straighted all of that out. As Josh Caterer and company took the stage, the small crowd gathered in front to watch the magic unfold. And unfold it did, with the power trio playing their new album Volume & Density [review] in it's entirety from start to finish, minus their cover of Spandau Ballet's "True." While the majority of the crowd seemed unfamiliar with the new album's material, the band didn't let the general apathy of the audience affect them, rocking heartily through tracks like "Way Deep Inside" and slowing things down nicely with a slightly extended version of the beautiful "Taking Me Home." After playing album closer "Jesus Never Leaves Me," the band wrapped up with the Smoking Popes classic "I Know You Love Me" which finally shook the crowd awake and elicted cheers and singalongs, before ending with a "Mr. Rogers" jamout. Josh's guitar solos were as hot as ever, and Rob Kellenberger once again proved why he is the most sought-after drummer in the greater Chicagoland area.

All in all, each band performed admirably enough for a lackadaisical weeknight crowd, Duvall in particular. While the venue may not have been packed, at least those who were there got to have our ears filled with Duvall's joyous sounds.

All In Your Hands
Way Deep Inside
What It Is
Between The Lines
I'll Be Around
Gimme Some Light
Taking Me Home
Standing At The Door
Where I Belong
Jesus Never Leaves Me
I Know You Love Me
Mr. Rogers