Previously Published in THE DAILY IOWAN on April 11, 2018.
Image Credit: Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan
Written By Rhiana Chickering
A crowd of primarily college students lingered upstairs at Gabe’s as twinkling lights on the ceiling depicted another galaxy and a useless mirror covered in stickers hung on a stone wall.
LED lights showcased the performing band, amd people gathered in front of the stage, only avoiding a spot where a Budweiser bottle plummeted.
Hot Tang’s music sounded like the type of music one would listen to on a summer day with its higher pitched guitar-plucking and slight use of synthetics.
As she plucked the strings of her bass, lead vocalist Megan Buick sang, only gradually changing pitch, in a pace reminiscent of Swedish indie-pop band Peter Bjorn and John’s Young Folks.
Soon, the low-pitched heartbeat of a bass began Younger’s set, and bass guitarist and vocalist Amanda Crosby began to sing.
Sarah Mannix played the drums rapidly leading up to the chorus, maintaining every abrupt rhythm while even singing along.
Most of Younger’s choruses are harmonic, reflecting the band members’ former years as high-school band, orchestra, and choir members, but to add a perfect contrast, some of the verses were lower pitched.
“We are all multi-instrumentalists, so the fun of being in this band is trying out different things,” said Rachel Sauter, Younger’s electric guitarist. “It makes a different creative process.”
Often, Younger will begin writing a song while the members warm up for practice, making its songwriting process spontaneous and highly collaborative.
“Usually, someone will come and play a musical item, then we’ll play around with it together,” Crosby said. “It is completely collaborative, which produces some weird and different outcomes. I think we all get really excited when a song starts to sound like a song because we write so collaboratively.”
Current Joys primarily played songs from its new album, A Different Age, which includes an entire visual album illustrating each song through a collection of video threads.
Vocalist and electric guitarist Nick Rattigan sang at first with no music, gradually adding in his electric guitar with its strings coiling out of the tuning pegs. His voice had a distinct passion in it, similar to that of Kings of Leon’s chorus in “Use Somebody.”
Once the bass beat began, the audience looked up in anticipation as all the instruments: bass, electric guitar, keyboard, and drums joined in.
Current Joys seemed genuinely delighted to be playing at Gabe’s, in part because of its history.
“You know Nirvana played on this stage? Pretty cool,” Rattigan said.
As the chorus played, Rattigan jumped, turned, and kicked while playing the guitar — think Chuck Berry without the splits. Rattigan and his bandmates moved around so much that they were saturated in sweat by the end of the night.
Occasionally, Rattigan would yell, melodically of course, but, thankfully, not as cringing as the lead singer of Alice in Chains.
Instead of performing a typical solo with an acoustic guitar or piano, Rattigan played his electric guitar, changing chords.
As Rattigan’s poignant voice and his guitar’s melodic reverberations made the foundation quiver, the crowd swayed along for the last time that evening.