We stopped for a quick break in Omaha (about 1 hour into the trip) and then decided to move onto Des Moines to spend a majority of our day, since none of us had ever been to that town and we figured we might find something new and exciting. We got back on the road again and some people fell asleep.
Des Moines was indeed new and exciting, although maybe not in the best of ways. After stopping at one thrift store and getting directions from someone who worked there for some other stores in town to check out, we bumbled around town (the directions turned out to not be so great) for awhile until we finally found ourselves downtown. It was at this point when we discovered that the Drake Relays were going on at the same time, and that because of this reason, the town was swamped with way more people than it normally would be.
We had a bit of lunch and looked through a phonebook while there, but after driving around Des Moines some more, we discovered that two of the stores (music shops) had gone out of business (in the two months since the phonebooks came out). We also found out that the roads were getting more packed each minute due to Drake Relays, and that the thrift stores in the town didn't have many fun items. One moment at a Goodwill made it nearly all worthwhile, though, when a middle-aged guy came through the front door and loudly (and honestly) asked the register lady where he could find some mens underwear.
Thoroughly tired of Des Moines, we drove to Grinnell and checked into our crime-scene hotel before leaving again quickly. We then stopped at yet another thrift store, and Aaron had to use exercise extreme willpower in not buying an old electric football game. After that, we went to a grocery store for a couple things, then on to eat some pizza. While we were eating, the members of Fridge and Explosions In The Sky came in and sat a couple tables from us, which was kind of funny.
When the bands left, we decided that we should too, and set out for the show. If you don't know about Grinnell, let's just say it's a town of about 10,000 or so people which sits in the middle of Iowa. Within this small town is the college of Grinnell, which is a small college of about 1,300 students known for its liberal arts education and high tuition fees. The show was taking place in the basement of one of the dorms on the campus, in a smallish area that had a larger lounge area, as well as rooms with laundry facilities. A slightly bizarre setting, to say the least.
There were other things that also made it seem slightly strange, and one was that both smoking and drinking of alcohol was allowed. Granted, in a club or bar this wouldn't have been a big deal, but when a couple people rolled a keg into the basement of the dorm and people formed a line next to the laundryroom, I had to chuckle a bit.
At any rate, before the shows started, we all went over to the merchandise table and I talked a bit with Jeremy DeVine, the main guy behind Temporary Residence recordings, and he was a super-nice. He even knew who I was, which was nice considering I'm just a lowly internet music reviewer. I picked up a very cool (and limited) Fridge t-shirt and a Cerberus Shoal CD I didn't have yet, then went and got a seat on a step for the opening band (which just happened to be Cerberus Shoal).
Although I own 3 of their releases, they played all music that I'd never heard before, and although I didn't enjoy it quite as much as their recorded work, it had a high entertainment factor and I found myself chuckling several times during the set. When Explosions In The Sky came on, we all found more comfortable seats on a couch that had been abandoned. EITS was about what I expected live, which is loud and dynamic. They balanced moments of subtle, shimmering guitars with louder blasts, and although I wasn't up front for the whole show, it was quite good. I took a couple pictures of them on stage, as well as from where we were sitting.
After EITS, I made sure to get close to the stage, which wasn't difficult. Surprisingly enough, the crowd had dwindled by a large amount by the time the group went on, so I ended up sitting on the first step of the two-step stage. It was kind of surreal being only about 5 feet from one of my favorite bands, but it was very intimate and nice as well. Fridge started out with a bang, playing several tracks from their recent Happiness release, as well as a couple from their Eph release. They managed to work the electronic elements into their live sound well, and the drummer (Sam Jeffers) was absolutely awesome.
After they'd finished their final song, they lingered around the stage and we all went up and talked to them a bit. Everyone was super cool and friendly and Adem Ilhan showed us some of the different equipment that they were using and even let TG play the melodica. I realized that for all my notions of how musicians might act, the majority of the time they're just everyday people, and Fridge and Jeremy DeVine were exactly that. They were personable and friendly, and that made the concert even more worthwhile.
After lingering around for awhile longer and talking to the rest of the Lincoln crew that made the drive (Jason, Andrew, Nate, George, and ??), we headed back to the crime scene motel and crashed out for the night.