Rust-free show at the ECC

Gabe Gott


Playing with Ema, Parsley Flakes, Nicholas Megalis

Where? Electric Caf‚ Co.

When? Saturday, 9 p.m.

Psychedelic. Heavy. Experimental.

Each of these words describe the sound of Iron Oxide, a two-piece band from Cleveland, whose sound is not easily thrown into one genre or another.

The members of the band, Jeff Curtis and Kat Stewart, compared the band’s live show to a steel mill and a trainwreck.

“Sometimes we’re like the longest, worst cover of ‘Green Onions’ that you’ve ever heard,” Stewart said.

The live shows are pretty intense, Curtis said – they generally put their real emotions into the music.

“We really put a lot into our live playing – we try to push it out into our audience,” he said.

Iron Oxide’s live set is comprised of a combination of composed songs and improvised material.

“We kind of go back and forth between typical song structures and a more freeform approach,” Curtis said.

Iron Oxide is influenced by ’60s garage, noise and post punk – a little bit of everything, Stewart said.

Bands they are influenced by include the Music Machine, Pierre Schaeffer, Missing Foundation, Dead C, DNA, Swans, Public Image, Ltd., The Fall and Pere Ubu.

Iron Oxide has a unique musical arrangement.

Curtis plays bass and sings, and Stewart plays bass and farfisa organ and sings.

The two originally called the band Black Cabbage, but changed the name to Iron Oxide, which is a reference to the band’s interest in the Rust Belt.

According to Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition, the Rust Belt is the “part of the U.S. comprising many of the states of the Midwest and the Northeast, characterized as an area marked by diminishing population, aging factories, decreasing production as of steel and automobiles, etc.”

It is the culture of the area, Curtis said, and they have embraced that.

A lot of people want to leave the area because of the Rust Belt, Stewart said.

“It really should be thrust into their faces – that’s what reality is,” she said.

Stewart is originally from Tacoma, Wash., which used to be more industrial – like Cleveland – than it is now, she said.

Curtis is from Toledo and graduated from Kent State in the ’80s.

Since his time at the university, Curtis has played in bands, such as My Dad is Dead, Guided by Voices, and Gem, before forming Black Cabbage/Iron Oxide with Stewart in 2003.

Iron Oxide has released five albums on the band’s record label, Coffee-Hut Records. The band’s latest release is the seven inch EP, Bass Response.

The band sees itself recording and releasing more records in the future, and it would like to perform more as well.

Iron Oxide comes back to the Electric Caf‚ Co. after performing there in December because, Curtis said, they liked the atmosphere of the place.

“The audiences, they seem to get there are open to a lot of different types of music,” he said.

It is not trendy, he added, which is a neat thing.

“There’s no place like it up in Cleveland,” Curtis said.

Contact ALL reporter Gabe Gott [email protected].