DAVENPORT, IOWA (October 29, 2019) — Quad Citizens have a chance to celebrate Halloween a day early this week — in a historic nineteenth-century mansion. If you make it to Davenport's Renwick Mansion (901 Tremont Ave) on Halloween Eve, you'll have a reason to celebrate — a diverse mix of five bands, plus a special surprise. Halloween Madness at the Mansion is "a showcase of some of the best local, regional, and even international talent." "Genre-less, open-minded music" is the goal, with a lineup including Qbrick, Everlasting Light, Staghorn, Bila, Pale Tongue, and Dark Family.
Qbrick is a time-traveler from a dystopian future. The above may be a questionable journalistic statement, but that is the claim made on the enigmatic Moline beatmaker's Bandcamp page. Qbrick's music eschews lyrics; instead, he glues beats and loops together with precisely-timed samples that lay down the narratives of his conceptual hip-hop. His last two releases, Songs for Youtube Reactions and Holy Mountain, are about a Youtuber reacting to the songs themselves and a climber ascending a sacred mountain respectively. This is not conventional hip-hop fare. What Qbrick will do in his opening set on Wednesday is a mystery, one that will only be solved by visiting the Renwick.
Everlasting Light is a two-piece black metal band from the Quad Cities. Their stripped-down sound manages to include elements of sludge, noise, and even some melody among the harsh riffs and shrieked vocals. "Born of a need to express disgust at the current state of affairs," the band does not rely on the usual clichés (blasphemous lyrics, corpse paint, Satanic stage-dressings) to carry their music. Theirs is a heaviness inspired by the degeneration of the world around us, and will provide a strong counterpoint to the psychedelics of headliner Dark Family.
Staghorn's three releases are "an extended narrative about humanity’s insistence towards the destruction of their surroundings and ultimately of themselves." While not as abrasive as EL, they carry a kindred heaviness. The globe-trotting, politically- and ecologically-conscious Midwestern collective are bringing their mix of electronics, post-rock, and dystopian narration through Middle America, with Davenport as the second stop on the tour. They present "a narrated sonic journey through our self-induced downfall, the animal kingdom’s terrifying yet triumphant return to power, the crisis of water-shortage, a peek into a future where cooperative co-existence is possible, and more." The highly-visual set will not be one to miss.
The newly-revealed mystery band is the Maltese punk-noise band Bila. That's Maltese as in hailing from Malta, the sunny Mediterranean archipelago just south of Italy. It's an unlikely location for such a racket to arise. Currently touring with Staghorn, the grungy trio makes music that is equal parts dirty and catchy, in a throat-strainingly abrasive way.
Lawrence, Kansas' Pale Tongue are kicking off a short tour, bringing their "furiously fuzzed-out dungeon rock" on a short circuit from Davenport to Arkansas to Kansas City back to Lawrence. They've added a second guitarist since their last QC visit, which promises to add yet more energy to the songs from their glowing-hot self-titled EP, released last year. The band plays high-octane psychedelic rock, with a heavy '70s germ incubated with modern frenzy and just a touch of catchiness.
Closing the night is Dark Family, a new collective featuring members of the QC's Condor & Jaybird, Archeress, and others. The lynchpin of the band is Jeramie Anderson, guitarist/vocalist of C&J and Sunshrine (the Golden Fleece/C&J collaboration). Their mellow, largely-acoustic début dropped on Bandcamp at the end of May, and their second album will be out the day of the Renwick show. Fans of the gentle strain of psych-rock as played by Anderson's other projects will love the blissed-out atmosphere of Dark Family. The curious can hear a brand-new track on 107.7 FM (WQUD) on Tuesday night. Freewheelin' with Blind Hugo will spotlight a few other Dark Family songs as well as an interview with the band at 10:30PM. The group will also be embarking on a short Midwest tour immediately following Halloween Madness.
The show will start early — doors are at 5 and music kicks off at 6. It's all-ages, though only those 21 and older can patronize the Renwick's bar. Entry is offered on a sliding scale, from $5 to $10 depending on the preference of the attendee. The building and grounds are visually stunning and worth a visit in their own right, and are fairly easy to reach from River Drive. Halloween Madness at the Renwick will be a night to remember, and a proper way to celebrate the Halloween season.