Previously Published in THE DAILY IOWAN on April 11, 2018.
Image Credit: James Year/The Daily Iowan
Written By Rhiana Chickering
Lights illuminated an electric guitarist and drummer on a stage beneath exposed metal beams and a heat duct at Gabe’s, 330 E. Washington St., during Mission Creek on April 7.
Instrumental rock group BStar created melodies with strumming and fingerpicking of an electric guitar and the fast rhythms of a drum set, beginning each song with a different beat, similar to the band’s songwriting process.
“I’ll start with a guitar lick or Sean [drummer McGivern] will begin with a drum beat, and we’ll take it from there,” said guitarist Setu Vora in an interview with The Daily Iowan.
The audience grew more energetic as the night continued, becoming especially mesmerized with Rituals of Mine’s performance.
Two linear strips of LED lights were placed in back of the stage, lighting up and changing color with the beats, while a light in the bass drum also lit up when a strong beat sounded.
Electric R&B-inspired band Rituals of Mine began performing with a strong bass beat — instrumentalist Dani Fernand flipping his long hair over his face while also producing a dub-step beat.
Vocalist Terra Lopez appeared on stage after the music began, jumping and dancing as she adjusted her pitch and hit the high notes.
Rituals of Mine placed a lot of time and effort in its performance, and Lopez even spoke with the audience members and made them laugh, urging them to come closer to the stage. When fans may listen to music through streaming services at such a low cost, artists may have to focus more on performance.
“Streaming has dominated music, and you will see people are purchasing music a lot less because they really don’t have to. You can subscribe to Spotify and Apple now and get what you want,” said Lopez in an interview with The Daily Iowan. “You aren’t directly supporting the artists you’re listening to, which is really unfortunate, so the way you can support that artist directly is by going to their shows.”
Lopez’s head-banging and dancing seemed to progress in slow motion as a strobe light transitioned between pitch-black darkness and a spotlight, making every move look like a series of images — the shadows on the wall making her hair appear as a spiked Mohawk during her hair flips.
“I relentlessly played hundreds of shows over the years, sort of clawing my way into the music industry,” Lopez said.
Guitarist and vocalist Doug Martsch strummed his electric guitar in different directions while sliding his fingers down the fret board and pressing down on pedal boards, prompting a wide range of pitches.
The atmosphere intensified amid heightened screams, which sounded like the shrieks of someone riding down a roller coaster’s steepest mountain.
Almost every time a song ended, the crowd chanted “Count the Zero,” one of Built to Spill’s most popular songs.
“My friend Dan made the set list, so I had nothing to do with it,” Martsch joked after looking at the handwritten set list behind him on the stage floor.
Regardless, audience members sang along to every song Built to Spill played.
Succumbing to the crowd’s eager chants, Built to Spill played two more songs, smiling in response to the persistent request.