KURE Fest 2018 a success

Smallpools performed in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union on Oct. 21 as part of KURE Fest 2018. The band consists of Sean Scanlon as vocals and keyboard, Michael Kamerman on guitar and Beau Kuther on drums. They previously performed at Iowa State with X Ambassadors on Aug. 27, 2015.

Wet and Smallpools commanded the crowd’s attention at Sunday night’s KURE Fest with moody slow jams and upbeat sing-alongs.

The co-headliners each played hour sets, with the entire show clocking in at just under 3.5 hours. The differences in the sounds of each band created a unique atmosphere for the ninth annual KURE Fest, organised by KURE 88.5 and the Student Union Board. Openers, The Fuss and Annalibera put on 20-minute sets to begin the festival and gave the crowd a taste of local music.

Sean Scanlon, lead singer for Smallpools, had the crowd in the palm of his hands, even coming into the crowd to dance with fans. During Smallpools’ playing of “Lovetap,” Scanlon exited stage left, leaving the other members of the band to play instrumentals for a short time. Scanlon emerged from the right side of the Memorial Union’s Great Hall and worked his way into the center of the crowd to sing the rest of the song.

The singer also frequently interacted with the crowd up close and personal, standing on the front guard rails multiple times to high five and touch members of the audience. During the band’s single “Million Bucks,” Scanlon gave a crowd member a tamborine to throw to him after the second chorus. The stage presence of Smallpools was fantastic and created a scene of pure indie-pop fun.

The band’s inflatable killer whale, which Scanlon had previously called “a token thing to our show,” did not make an appearance at the Great Hall due to the presence of the many chandeliers in the room.

“The whale’s gonna have to sit this one out, but he’s watching,” Scanlon said.

Drummer Beau Kuther added “he’s a liability.”

The band also played unique covers of popular songs, like working Radiohead’s “Creep” into the ending of Smallpools’ song “Mother.” The members of the band also played an acoustic mashup of Bill Withers’s “Lean on Me” and Major Lazer’s “Lean On.”

Co-headliner, Wet, did not disappoint either. Producer Joe Valle played a combination of keyboards, percussion and guitar while lead singer Kelly Zutrau sung beautifully sad songs during their set. The singer’s powerful voice and superb falsetto captured the crowd’s attention all night. Sunday also marked the group’s first visit to Iowa.

“It’s so nice to see new faces and be in a new place,” Zutrau said. “So thank you for having us and being here.”

The band’s quiet, reduced stage presence made the Great Hall feel small. The band’s sound had a way of shrinking the room and creating an atmosphere more akin to the Maintenance Shop’s small space. The singer talked to crowd members often, adding to the intimate atmosphere.

Wet exited the stage to the sound of loud applause after ending with an uncharacteristic upbeat song that had the crowd clapping along to the beat the whole time.

Local bands Annalibera and The Fuss represented the local music scene the ninth annual KURE Fest. Annalibera played a heavily electronic set that featured thundering bass that could be felt in your chest. Lead singer, Anna Gebhardt’s haunting vocals echoed through the Great Hall throughout the set before it was ended rather awkwardly by the singer. Gebhardt was quiet most of the night minus the occasional “thank you” after a song.

The Fuss brought contemporary rock music to the Great Hall and minus a few sound issues, put on a tidy 20-minute set. The band put on a tame show until the ending song, which capped their performance with a ferocious combination of guitar solos.