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Sound Stage

It’s Complicated/Come Unity/Flobots

11/7/2012

If people ever try to say a single bad thing about It’s Complicated, you slap them right across their uncultured, slovenly and probably ugly face. Just a year old, Des Moines’ funk four-piece has quickly established itself as one of the best sounds in the city. Opening for the Flobots at Wooly’s on Thursday, Nov. 1, the group set the perfect tone for a great show. Bassist Franklin Colbert, guitarist Keifer Brandt and saxophonist Kyle Gowin are all talented guys who feel like they’ve been playing together from birth, and I would put money on the barrelhead any day just to watch Josh “Afro Thunder” Strother get behind the drums and do his thing alone for 40 minutes.               

As tough an act as that is to follow, it’s safe to say that Come Unity knocked it out of the park. Highly reminiscent of Sublime, and with a heavily infused two-tone sound, front man Ben Burzette, bassist Barret Beeler, guitarist Mark Gottbehuet and drummer Jordan Spence were clearly the reason for part of the crowd showing up that night. They did not disappoint. Engaging, charismatic and just damn fun, Come Unity set the table nicely for the headliners and turned in the song of the night, with its Cali-ska cover of House of Pain’s “Jump Around.”                

The noteworthy thing about the event headliners Flobots itself is that the band’s biggest hit — 2008’s “Handlebars” — is quite possibly its least interesting song. The Denver, Colo., quintet’s music is politically charged, though perhaps not as scathingly as they might think. There was, however, no questioning the group’s effort as emcees Johnny 5 and Brer Rabbit — riding on the wings of backing work courtesy of drummer Kenny Ortiz, bassist Jesse Walker and Mackenzie Gault’s viola — put a high-energy bow on a thoroughly satisfying show. CV

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