By Brett Shaw
A band created in the dorms of the University of Iowa by the name of Port Authority was excited to perform in the famous Iowa City festival that they have attended for years.
The local band took Gabe’s stage on evening of April 7, opening for Tennis, an acclaimed indie-pop duo.
Friends and fans of Port Authority arrived early to be front and center, demonstrating their support the best way they knew how: dancing and singing along. The band members exchanged winks and laughs with the familiar faces, giving back the love that their community showed for them.
Meanwhile, new fans emerged from the back of the venue who had arrived early for Tennis (including me). Throughout the set, these wallflowers shifted from nonchalant foot tapping to enthusiastic and attentive swaying. Mission Creek Festival is a great opportunity for local acts such as Port Authority to expand their fan base.
“It’s my favorite type of thing when there are a good number of friendly faces and people we know singing songs, but then people who haven’t heard the songs and enjoy them just as much with that look on their face,” said guitarist and vocalist Landon Kuhlmann.
Drawing from rock, jazz, and pop stylings, Port Authority performed several lively songs from its upcoming album, scheduled to be released on May 5. The group’s music sounded like that of a popular indie band with upbeat vocals and instrumentation, inspiring cathartic movement and impassioned singing from the audience.
“We didn’t think of a sound and then fit into it, ”Kuhlmann said. “[We] started out with these acoustic folksongs, and then we put it in a full band setting, and there was just an energy that made the sound more rock. I can’t really say what the genre is.”
Among the four members were three guitars, a set of drums, and a vocalist, all of which fed off one another in a harmonious and friendly manner as they created applause-worthy riffs. The floormates-turned-bandmates performed to each other nearly as much as they did to the crowd, exhibiting the bonding that music inherently possesses.
Later in the evening, fan-crazed squeals welcomed the husband and wife indie-pop duo Tennis to the now packed venue. The two were unfazed by their star power and casually walked onto the stage to set up their own equipment before their performance.
Alaina Moore, the vocalist, maintained this relaxed form of performance, delving into conversations with audience members in the front row about her hair. Moore built a connection with the eager audience, praising our “diamond in the rough,” Iowa City, for its beautiful people.
Despite being comfortable with her audience, most the set was played without pause or with only brief statements between songs. However, nobody was complaining about more time for music.
The silvery vocals accompanied by the flowing beats of the instrumentation brought a unique air of dance-worthy tranquility. Drawing from the duo’s sailing pastime, the somewhat tropical vibes spraked a calm sway in the crowd. Even the more uptempo tunes possessed a folksy sound that made the entirety of Gabe’s a crowded yet liberated environment.