The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Doug Collins and the Receptionists bring country-pop sound to IC

The classic country band played at Elray’s Live and Dive on Friday evening to a crowd of a few dozen. 
Emma Calabro
Doug Collins and the Receptionists perform at Elrays in Iowa City on Friday, April 19, 2024.

Under the signature neon blue light of Elray’s Live and Dive, Doug Collins and The Receptionists stood poised, seemingly oblivious to the rowdy crowd in front of them. Collins took his time as he tuned his guitar, his focus unwavering. 

When he finally looked up, fingers ready to strike the first chords, his eyes were alight with the infectious sort of confidence uniquely possessed by live musicians pouring their hearts out in dive bars.

The dozens of people populating the crowd of the Minnesota-based band’s show on Friday reflected two distinct facets of Iowa City nightlife coming together as one. College students and more seasoned adults mingled, cowboy boot clicking and drinks flowing, as Doug Collins and the Receptionists took the stage after opening band, Box 10, warmed up the crowd. 

As he crooned his fist notes into the mic, the audience before them came alive, intoxicated by his energy and unable to resist the pull of the dance floor. 

The band’s hour-long set mirrored the diversity of the audience, mixing genres to feature a blend of both country and pop music.

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“I had never heard of Doug Collins and The Receptionists before tonight, but I’m so glad I came,” one concert attendee, Greta Lelwica, said. “It was definitely music I could dance to and that’s really what I look for in a show.”

Doug Collins and The Receptionists’ sound is described as classic country. They last released an album two years ago called “Too Late at Night,” which embraces genre-typical lyrical tropes about love, heartbreak, and drinking.

Known for his honest and emotional songwriting, Collins said that writing music has given him an outlet to connect with his audience as he transforms his personal experiences into something that people can relate to universally.

He described making music as a long and collaborative process.  

“I’ve been very lucky to work with incredibly talented musicians who help me realize how the songs I’m writing are supposed to sound,” Collins said. “That is something I’m forever grateful for.”

Collins, whose family was originally from Iowa City, was excited to return to the area for the show. 

“I’m so happy that we’re able to play down here because it is one of my favorite places,” Collins said.

Elray’s owner Bob Franklin books weekly slots with local and regional bands, prioritizing undiscovered artists. 

Franklin’s original attraction to the band was due to Collins’ connections to the Minneapolis music scene. 

“[Minneapolis] has always been tremendous for producing good artists, then I just actually listened to the music; he’s a good musician, a good artist,” he said. “I think [his music] fits in well with our venue and is something that the Iowa City market will enjoy.”

Franklin encouraged people to attend the performance and to support live music. 

“You’re going to enjoy it. It’s fun to expose yourself to new genres, new artists, and new experiences,” he said. 

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About the Contributor
Sophia Connolly
Sophia Connolly is a first-year honors student studying journalism and mass communications. She is interested in politics, community events and exploring unique perspectives. After college, she plans to go to law school or graduate school.