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A Fine “Line” Over Rough Spots: The QC Symphony, March 8 at the Adler Theatre PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Frederick Morden   
Tuesday, 18 March 2014 08:04

The Quad City Symphony’s March 8 concert featured symphonies from a pair of big names, but the shortest piece on the program – the world premiere of local composer Jacob Bancks’ Rock Island Line – stole the show.

The broad, moving lyricism of Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 illustrated what the orchestra does well, while Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 revealed the Quad City Symphony’s continuing struggle with rhythmic precision.

Yet they were eclipsed by the triumphant debut that opened the concert. Rock Island Line was the highlight of the evening at the Adler Theatre – an energized, complex, and entertaining performance that brought Bancks’ vivid piece to life in ways I wasn’t expecting.

 
Photos from the L.A. Guns Concert, March 7 at Rascals Live PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Matt Erickson   
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 05:26

Photos from the L.A. Guns concert at Rascals Live on March 7, 2014, with opener Halo of Flies. For more work by Matt Erickson, visit MRE-Photography.com.

L.A. Guns:

Photo by Matt Erickson, MRE-Photography.com

 
Photos from the Ballroom Thieves Concert, March 5 at the Redstone Room PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Matt Erickson   
Monday, 10 March 2014 11:12

Photos from the Ballrom Thieves concert at the Redstone Room on March 5, 2014. For more work by Matt Erickson, visit MRE-Photography.com.

Photo by Matt Erickson, MRE-Photography.com

 
Complicated Laziness: The Post Mortems, “Cracked & Crooked”; March 7 at RIBCO PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 27 February 2014 11:29

Bassist and singer Devin Alexander attributes The Post Mortems’ two-instrument setup to laziness, but it’s not ordinary laziness – as there’s very little that’s typical about the Quad Cities/Iowa City band.

From its bass-and-drums-rock conceit to its gear to the seven-plus years it took to record its new album Cracked & Crooked, The Post Mortems have often traveled through bramble and brush.

But as arduous as that has often been for Alexander and drummer Al Raymond, the band’s March 7 album-release show at RIBCO should provide plenty of proof that the journey has borne fruit. The record successfully hews to The Post Mortems’ two-man core while pushing past the boundaries of what should be possible with only a traditional rhythm section – maintaining a minimalist identity while giving listeners much of they dynamic range and texture they expect from a larger outfit. And Alexander said his recently debuted live bass rig should be a revelation to longtime fans of the band.

 
From Dead Ends to a Destination: The Evolution of Jacob Bancks’ “Rock Island Line,” Premiering March 8 and 9 with the Quad City Symphony PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Frederick Morden   
Thursday, 20 February 2014 05:23

Jacob Bancks. Photo by Joshua Ford (JoshuaFord.com).

The blast of a train whistle has been transformed in the hands of composer Jacob Bancks – a shrill warning becoming the musical core of a composition that he intends as a greeting to his new community.

Using a “whistle chord” as musical glue and localism as an overriding theme, Bancks combined elements of the Mississippi River and the railroad in a way that is artful, rigorous, and sophisticated. But in creating Rock Island Line – which the Quad City Symphony Orchestra will debut on March 8 and 9 – he also incorporated nods to a local jazz legend and a popular song, playful components that help the work breathe and reach out to the audience.

Yet moving from ideas to a finished composition was not a straight line for the Quad Cities-based composer (who turns 32 on February 21). The effort included derailment and dead ends before finding workable inspiration toward an ultimate destination.

In earlier commissioned works, Bancks tried to find musical and non-musical connections to the organization and community for which he was writing. But this time the commissioning agent was the orchestra where he lives, and Bancks was particularly sensitive about the audience and community for whom this premiere would be presented. “These images and how they work with each other are very important to me, because this is my first piece in my new home and new community where I hope to remain,” he said in August, in his first interview with the River Cities’ Reader. “So, for me, through this piece, I will meet musical people I hope to meet again. And ... this would be a good way to introduce myself to a community I hope to be a part of.”

 
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