Penny Peach Jr. performs new music as part of Englert’s ‘Stages’ program

On Wednesday night, local musician Penny Peach Jr.’s virtual performance for the Englert’s Stages program premiered. Accompanied by her band, Penny Peach performed an original set written for the occasion.



Penny Peach performs a live-streamed concert at the Englert Theater on Wednesday, March 31, 2021. The event is apart of Englert’s Stages, a series of 32 streaming performances spanning throughout their 2021 digital season.

Megan Conroy, Arts Reporter

Penny Peach Jr. and her band sported electric guitars and masks as they opened Englert Theatre’s eighth “Stages” performance with lead singer Penny Peach Jr. stating, “Because we can’t play shows, I started fiddling around with other stuff like making beats.”

Drenched in theater lights, Penny Peach and her band, called the Sexy Collective, performed a 22-minute set of soulful, garage rock, and lo-fi tunes.

Penny Peach Jr., known offstage as Elly Hofmaier, released her debut EP Brain Gamez earlier this month. The five songs were the product of several years of work, Hofmaier explained in a previous interview with The Daily Iowan, which were then recorded, produced, mixed, and mastered, over a year and a half, including during the pandemic.

“The concept for the EP occurred naturally. The songs I kept writing were about the same thing, and I said, okay, well, if I can take these five and put them together,” Hofmaier said. “They’re all sort of about being in control of your brain, which I think about a lot.”

Hofmaier said she rarely collaborates, but Brain Gamez came to fruition through collaboration with friends like local producer Capel Howorth and musicians Anthony Worden, Carlo Kind, and Avery Mossman.

“When magic moments happen, or things just happen organically, that’s my favorite part of creating music,” Hofmaier said. “That was pretty special with this, like for the rain noise in ‘Think More Deeply,’ particularly it was just raining outside, and I thought we should get a field recording of rain sounds on the table.”

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While none of the songs from the EP were played during the set, the performance was still unique in many ways. Hofmaier played the electric bass guitar for the first time, and the set was composed of entirely new material created specifically for the occasion.

“It was surreal to perform on a stage again. It was so fun to get ready together, pack up the van, unload — it was like, wow, it really has been a year since we’ve done this,” Hofmaier said. “It definitely gave all of us a little bug to get back to playing shows and doing this more.”

Songs like “I don’t want to be like you” possessed the garage rock vibe.

“What do you want from me? Because my ego doesn’t fit inside a Barbie doll or skintight dresses,” Hofmaier sang.

Conversely, “Tired all the time” had a slower, emotional, lo-fi feel to it, with exceptional vocals from Hofmaier.

After a few songs, Hofmaier giggled into a moment where she discussed her EP.

Brain Gamez features some of Iowa City’s greatest, in my opinion,” she said.

Hofmaier and a bandmate swapped bass and guitar for the final song.

“The underlying theme of these songs is taking control of your life by taking control of your mind and my slow-moving journey of that process,” Hofmaier said.

She concluded the performance by thanking the Stages team and The Englert for giving her a reason to practice and write new songs with the band. After the final song, On Demand, Hofmaier said, “that’s it!”