Trumpet Blossom offers variety of sound on a noisy Friday night

Despite a loud and crowded venue, Trumpet Blossom Café’s Friday night lineup offered stylings from Karen Meat, Liz Moen, Good Morning Midnight, and Sinner Frenz


Emily Wangen

Elizabeth Moen performs a solo set during a concert at Trumpet Blossom Cafe on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. The concert features local artists Sinner Frenz, Good Morning Midnight, Elizabeth Moen, and Karen Meat.

Naomi Hofferber, Senior Reporter

The small, dimly lit café, where there were double the bodies than there were seats, provided the casual setting for Friday night’s musical offerings. Patrons drank and talked at candle lit tables, waiting for the show to start. 

Finally, the lights dimmed further, and the strange electro sounds of Sinner Frenz filled the venue, starting slow and building, while patrons in the back talked loudly over it. Typically a duo of Luke Tweedy of Flat Black studios and Brendan Lee Spengler, tonight it was just Tweedy, standing at a strange, arcade game-like contraption, vibing to the playful sounds and entrancing beat he laid down. 

Discordant electro screeches would dissolve into strange synth-like sounds. It was upbeat, driving, and electrically engaging, and felt almost at odds with those casually eating a late dinner in the back of the room. Tweedy took listeners to the edge of discomfort in discordance before introducing a heavy beat and grounding the sound.

The venue continued to fill.

Emily Wangen
Karen Meat’s Arin Eaton sings during a concert at Trumpet Blossom Cafe on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. The concert features local artists Sinner Frenz, Good Morning Midnight, Elizabeth Moen, and Karen Meat.

Good Morning Midnight took the stage next, with a ’90s rock vibe a la REM, marked by unpolished vocals and a sad but steady bass line. Their second song featured a catchy guitar rhythm that sticks in the head like an ear worm, and the final song featured simple lyrics and a tasty solo by lead singer and guitarist Charlie Cacciatore.

The Iowa City crowd did a poor job of welcoming Moen back to her musical hometown. Patrons talked loudly over her soft solo set, which was a beautiful, soulful display of new songs that those pressed against the stage had the opportunity to hear. 

Moen put on a performance that dipped into a variety of genres, from country sounds to indie flavors to something with a harder edge. Her voice swung from pure, clean vocals to a deeper biting sound, as she cast a musical spell that was almost enough to pull away from the incessant background noise.

Regardless, Moen left on a high note, with her song “Headgear” showing off her true musical prowess, her hand flitting like a hummingbird over the guitar strings, her soulful vocals ringing through the café. 

Finally, Karen Meat took the stage. 

“I need you to change your clothes,” lead singer Arin Eaton quipped to Dana Telsrow. She then removed her blue sweater, leaving her clad in a black bodysuit that was quickly complemented by black sunglasses. My curiosity piqued, and I was not disappointed as Dana T returned, clad in a sparkly silver oversized t-shirt and tiny orange spandex shorts. 

I pressed close against the speaker, hoping to block out any remaining chatter as the full force of the electronic funky pop band began. It was a fun, wild fever dream of a performance, with sheer joy radiating off of the band as it truly put on a show. 

You never knew what was going to happen at any minute; suddenly, there was Dana T, bringing out a face melting guitar solo, leaning all the way back so his bright orange shorts were on full display. Suddenly again; Arin lying on the ground, face up, belting to the audience that were inches from her. And then again, Dana on the ground off the stage, lying there as Arin baby bird’s beer into his mouth, and now he’s playing his guitar behind his head or between his legs.