Local Iowa City band ‘Part Time Vegan’ dissolves, becomes ‘Worst Impressions’ and ‘Shrub’

Local Iowa City band ‘Part Time Vegan’ dissolved into two new bands: ‘Worst Impressions’ and ‘Shrub,’ with each looking to make a mark on the community of Iowa City with unique sounds and influences.


Daniel McGregor-Huyer

Part Time Vegan performs during a Summer Camp Music Festival at Gabe’s in downtown Iowa City on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022. Local bands could register and perform within the event and event-goers voted on winners.

Stella Shipman, Arts Reporter

Some things are not meant to last forever. This was the case for the Iowa City-based band, Part Time Vegan, which was only the beginning for the two new bands Worst Impressions and Shrub.

The band Part Time Vegan formed in early 2021 and primarily played covers of various genres of music, but it also recorded original songs that stream Spotify. The band typically played at Gabe’s in downtown Iowa City.

Part Time Vegan dissolved at the end of 2022 as a consequence of the members’ creative differences about goals for the band. Since then, the former members have established two new bands: Worst Impressions and Shrub.

Worst Impressions formed in late January and is made up of members Garret Hinson, Kylie Kuna, Shane Shchwartz and Colton Schwartz, and Michael Garza. It played its first show in February. A typical Worst Impressions setlist is 90 percent original songs, lead guitarist and occasional vocalist Hinson said. The band’s music leans toward the rock genre.

The band premiered at ReUnion Brewery on Feb. 15 was received very well by audiences. Ever since, their shows have seen a decent turnout.

The band’s performance on Feb. 15 saw about 76 audience members, an impressive crowd for a fledgling musical group, especially in the middle of a snowstorm. Ten days later on Feb. 25, Worst Impressions played its latest show at Gabe’s, and many familiar faces were in the audience.

“They’d all come because they’d seen us play before, and they brought friends and stuff,” Hinson said. “We weren’t even headlining Gabe’s, but we had the biggest crowd that night. It was pretty substantial. So, it’s been pretty exciting to see it grow so far.”

Regardless of its name, the band has made a good first impression on the community of Iowa City. As Shane Schwartz puts it, “hopefully your worst impression of us will be the name.”

The band members consider their experiences with Part Time Vegan to have taught them valuable lessons that they can apply to their own music and shows.

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Though Worst Impressions is considered a rock band by its members, it is impacted by several other genres of music that each member enjoys.

“I think everybody has different musical influences, and they come together in a great way,” Hinson said. “And sometimes you kind of got to work around them. But I think that there’s that beauty of that kind of ebb and flow with it. It can get you a really good end product.”

Shane Schwartz and Colton Schwartz, who play bass and rhythm respectively, grew up in a touring musical family whose sound focused on harmonies and country gospel. At a young age, the boys learned music theory and listened to recordings of their grandfather’s music on cassette tapes.

Kylie Kuna, the lead vocalist for Worst Impressions, was influenced by her father, who sang and played the guitar and the drums. Her father also happened to be Hinson’s realtor, so he mentioned Kylie to Part Time Vegan when he heard that Hinson was in a band.

Hinson also learned to love music from his father, who enjoyed listening to music in movies and on car rides, and said his uncles inspired him to play the guitar. With so many backgrounds and influences, Worst Impressions can be versatile and bring different musical aspects to the table.

“I feel like there’s been great communication between us,” Kuna said. “We’ve been able to actually use all of our perspectives in a way that’s helpful. And I feel like we’re all very comfortable saying when something’s not working or praising each other when it is.”

The band Shrub is made up of members Alex Belzer, Jacob Bowen, Adam Millers, and Spender Palm. The band has not yet performed in Iowa City, aiming to ensure that its set is near flawless when it reaches audiences for the first time, Owen Millers, guitarist, vocalist, and synth-player, said.

A typical setlist for the band leans toward alternative or indie music, consisting of 50 percent originals and 50 percent covers of groups like Smashing Pumpkins and Pavement.

The formation of this band has been a long time coming for Millers, who originally developed the idea for it with his brother many years ago. According to Millers, the unique name was inspired by a walk through the woods.

Shrub is expected to perform soon at open mic venues that Millers has lined up. He is looking forward to using these opportunities to publicize the band.

Part Time Vegan’s bassist, Alex Belzer, plays the bass at The Vault, a music studio in West Liberty, Iowa, on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022. Along with taking part in the band, Belzer is also a graduate student in the medical field at the University of Iowa. (Grace Smith/The Daily Iowan) (Grace Smith)

Millers wrote in an email to *The Daily Iowan,* “I hope audiences can listen to our music and feel something. Whatever that ‘something’ is depends on the song. Hopefully, it’s something good.”