Daytrotter: Two Barnstormers and a Wedding

 Delta Spirit

Daytrotter’s Barnstormer III tour rolled through five Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois locations last week. Barnstormer III featuring Delta Spirit, Ra Ra Riot, Nathaniel Rateliff, Free Energy and Pearly Gate Music along with a wedding at the final show in Maquoketa, Iowa. We made it to two of the gatherings, including the Elkhorn, WI and Maquoketa shows.

The Lake Geneva, WI stop on the Barnstormer tour ran into some legal troubles on the day of the show. The Sheriffs’ department decided the concert could not go on as planned threatening to levee a $600 per person fine to the owners of the barn if they did not cancel the event. The show was initially moved to Hebron, Illinois and later switched to the Walworth County Fairgrounds in Elkhorn, WI, all on the same day. Kind of like a big scavenger hunt.

Fortunately for us, we followed the soap opera via twitter and arrived in Elkhorn just around 7pm to do a little barnstorming. A group of people had gathered in the parking lot taking in pre-concert activities. We hooked up with two gentlemen from Madison who put together a 5 gallon jug of Jamba juice; a strange concoction of Gatorade and Vodka. The inventors claimed that drinking alcohol causes you to dehydrate, so the Gatorade would keep your fluid levels up for the optimal drinking experience. Sounds like a failed experiment as part of a new Madison Biotech start-up.

A decent sized crowd still managed to congregate for the show, despite the numerous venue changes during the day, and all five bands delivered an excellent performance in true Barnstormer fashion. The Walworth County Fairgrounds venue played its role as the temporary sanctuary grounds for the touring entourage.

Thanks to the members of Free Energy for looking after the Madison Jamba Juice guys at the end of the evening. Their hydration theory seemed to have failed them as they were both passed out in their camping chairs and Free Energy had to wake them up and send them on their way.

With a last minute wedding invitation, we decided to head to Iowa on Saturday. Having been to shows that were part of the first two Barnstormer tours, you had the sense that the unique concept of touring indie bands playing barns throughout the Midwest was starting to gain momentum. The vehicle license plates in the parking area came from all over the country and campers set up tents blaring an interesting iPod mix of indie music to match the diversity of Daytrotter’s offerings.

Daytrotter’s John Taylor and his wife Stephanie were married on the grounds in front of the Codfish Hollow barn in Maquoketa serenaded by a four piece string ensemble playing The Pixies' “Here Comes My Girl.” Later that evening, Delta Spirit performed a special wedding song, a cover of A. A. Bondy's "Lovers' Waltz," for the couple as they danced cheek-to-cheek among the large crowd gathered for the event.

The Codfish Hallow grounds were beautiful and remote. A tractor hayride ferried people from the parking area to the main grounds about a quarter of a mile down the road. Once off the Barnstormer express you were drawn to the scenic rural setting right out of a movie. A potluck picnic was in full force with an amazing array of food, drink and deserts. We hung out with all the band members while the afternoon sun helped make the day seem like one that you never wanted to end. Later in the evening a fireworks show complemented the already excellent music experience. The acoustics inside the barn were amazing and all the bands were on a musical high knowing that their Barnstormer experience was about to end. The consensus from stage was unanimous, “We’re only playing barns from now on.”
Pearly Gate Music played a quiet set of electrified acoustic folk songs that resonated warmly throughout the barn. Then Nathaniel Rateliff and his four-piece band took the stage performing songs from the new album just released “In Memory of Loss” and toasted the event with a bottle of champagne on stage.Free Energy kicked things into high gear with an energetic set of hard edged power pop that got the crowd jumping with material from their brand new album “Stuck on Nothing.”
Ra Ra Riot was a crowd favorite and probably the most well-known band on the Barnstormer tour line-up. Working in new material from their forthcoming sophomore effort due for release this fall, between the more familiar chamber pop anthems like “Can You Tell” and “Dying is Fine”.

Delta Spirit finished the evening  driving the crowd into a frenzy with songs from “Ode to Sunshine” and playing some incredible new material from their forthcoming album "History from Below." The evening ended in a giant sing-along to “People, Turn Around” joined on stage with members from all of the previous bands.  Barnstormer  III;  great music, barns, friends, an experience to remember.

Ra Ra Riot with an acoustic set Ra Ra Riot

 Nathaniel Rateliff Nathaniel Rateliff

 Free Energy Free Energy

 Pearly Gate Music 

 Codfish Hollow Barn in Maquoketa, Iowa

 John & Steph wedding Barnstormer style John & Steph Wedding 

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