Independence Day 2017: A Chicago House Show in an Iowa Barn
Photography from the Twin Peaks & Yoko and the Oh No’s sets at Codfish Hollow Barnstormers
Photography by Andrew Lee & Recap by Katie Ingegneri
The young enterprising Chicago rockers Twin Peaks have been on a steady upward trajectory for the past five years since dropping out of Evergreen College in Washington to pursue their rock n roll dreams. They tour basically non-stop, bringing the energetic vibes of Chicago worldwide — as I write this, they’re currently in France — and make legions of new fans wherever they go. But one of the unfortunate side-effects for those of us here where they came up in Chicago is that we scarcely get to see them perform anymore, and certainly not in smaller places like the DIY venues they started in, which is generally my favorite way to see them. It’s their dream, of course, but a little heartbreaking at the same time.
So when my concert-going companion and I heard Twin Peaks would be playing at a rural barn venue in Maquoketa, Iowa called Codfish Hollow Barnstormers for the 4th of July, alongside other Chicago rock favorites like Yoko and the Oh No’s, Spencer Tweedy (son of Jeff, heir of Wilco)’s band The Blisters, and others, we decided to make the trip. Only 3 or so hours away from the Chicago area, the venue near the Illinois/Iowa border seemed particularly feasible for a trip during a long holiday weekend. And this Chicago transplant — me — had yet to go beyond the Chicago city borders in the nearly four years I’ve lived in Illinois, so it also seemed like a good opportunity to see some corn. A whole heckin’ lot of corn.
Codfish Hollow Barnstormers was as rural as we imagined it — the venue itself was literally a lovely high-ceilinged barn with a stage, on a large property with cows and corn fields — but the spot is also an established venue drawing big-name artists like Angel Olsen and Dinosaur Jr. who will be playing there this fall, to name just a few. The crowd seemed to be mostly on the youngish side, coming from Chicago and all over the Midwest to celebrate music in a strange and uncertain year.
It was great to run into photographer Andrew Lee at the show, whose excellent photographs from the Chicago house show scene I had previously published. The barn was pretty steamy inside by the time we got there during Yoko and the Oh No’s set, but they blasted right through each song as band and audience got progressively drenched in sweat. The always high-energy lead singer Max Goldstein didn’t let the heat stop him from whipping the crowd into an excited frenzy as he danced in his signature platform shoes.
Fireworks were set off before Twin Peaks’ headlining set, which was a nice little nod to the show being on our national holiday. They played a fantastic set which had the best kind of house show-style crowd: excited young people who knew all the words and were down to dance, crowdsurf, shove, jump and catch each other from falling. A key part of a good rock show is the crowd, and when you get into the bigger venues they tend to be hit or miss. At house shows (or barn shows), like this one, people get it.
The after-party occurred at the owner’s house up the way from the barn, which doubled as a cool and eccentric bar with a pool table, a fire pit, goats in the back and kittens and dogs roaming the property. Cadien Lake James of Twin Peaks became king of the golf carts transporting people all over the property. Between all the bands and friends and significant others, we had a nice little Chicago-style shindig among the corn.
Check out some of the great shots Andrew got of Yoko’s and Twin Peaks’ sets! Couldn’t have asked for a better crowd of enthusiastic fans to celebrate the things that are still good about America on our national independence day, like rock n roll, beer, dogs and friends. As long as we have bands and music fans like these, I think we’re gonna be okay.
Check out more of Andrew’s excellent photos of Chicago house shows & his other work at http://www.aleephoto.com/.
Follow Houseshow on Facebook for our latest articles and up-to-date happenings on the music & culture scene in Chicago and beyond.
If you enjoyed reading this, please click “Recommend” (the heart) below.
This will help to share the story with others.