Iowa Bands Shine At 80/35

One of my favorite things to do at 80/35, besides fill my ample belly with Tropical Sno and corn dogs, is check out the Nationwide Stage. Over there, they feature bands local to the area and it’s a great way to discover new music. Yesterday I had time to check out Tires and MarKaus.

Tires played some stuff off their forthcoming album (their first proper full-length) and it’s some heavy-hitting stuff. Normally I’m not one for purely instrumental rock, but they made it interesting and fun.

Next on the stage was MarKaus. He brought out a live band for the show, and it was the highlight of the day. Thoughtful, emotional rap is great, but it’s even better with the power of live instrumentation. The Roots have been doing it forever and I’ll never understand why more artists don’t put it to use (Kendrick has used a live band with great results so he’s off the hook). My favorite line of the day came pretty early, when MarKaus rapped “I’m the realization of what Regan was afraid of.” Killer Mike would be proud.

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