The University of Iowa University of Iowa

Mission Creek 2023: Water From Your Eyes Break it Down at Gabe’s

The annual Mission Creek Festival took place last weekend in Iowa City, hosting many musicians and writers. One of these bands was the New York City based alternative pop duo Water From Your Eyes, who played at Gabe’s on April 7. This performance marked the beginning of their tour. Nate Amos and Rachel Brown provided an energetic atmosphere filled with outlandish repeating, danceable tracks and sounds.  

Amos stood onstage with a guitar with a long, linear array of pedals in front of him. To his side was a laptop hooked up directly to the venue’s sound system which provided the majority of the instrumentation and allowed the band to perform their deeply composed songs. Touring member Al Nardo, also on guitar, took the right side of the stage. In the center was Brown, donning a pair of sunglasses, with just their microphone. 

Nate Amos of Water From Your Eyes

The set began with a whirling sound of harsh noise which would go on to fill in the gaps between songs. The sound was broken with the word “break” to open the first song of the night, “Break”, from their 2019 album “Somebody Else’s Song“. It played out with hypnotic layers of non-quantized repetitive beats. A soft ringing of a minimalist guitar waded through it, with rolling pianos going over. Brown’s vocal performance in the song switched between a staggered, and a haunting searing tone. 

Much of the audience immediately found a groove to dance along with. This groove continued through the second version of “Quotations” on their 2021 album “Structure.” The Steve Reich-like piece included Brown singing over short, sampled pieces of their own voice, syncopated clicks and drums, and faint rumbling bass.  

Image via Little Village

The already bouncing energy of the venue immediately soared when the band played their new single “Barley” from their upcoming album “Everyone’s Crushed”. The audience borderline moshed as they counted along with the lyrics. Brown broke out into an odd, flowing wavy dance on stage. They swayed to the shuffling beat, Amos’ abrasive guitar and the repeating dissonant chime of a phone sounding synth. Along with “Barley”, Water From Your Eyes filled half the setlist with unreleased songs from the new album.  

Then after moments of silence, the audience was blasted by the earth-moving sound of a shredding heavy bass tone, cycling repeatedly in the track “My Love’s”. The crowd jumped up with each of its roaring hits, as if they were trying to add to the seismic intensity of the artificial quake. Rising and falling, short articulated melodies joined in with the intense vibrations.  

Rachel Brown of Water From Your Eyes

Afterwards, the band played “Track Five”. Brown sang over a slightly out of tune backing track, and a dreamy, gazey electronic buzz swelled up and down in its amplitude, until it hit a breakdown. The track then reminisced like a needlessly bad ass theme to a propaganda-like police movie, with its pummeling “Robocop”-like synth lead. On top of this, Brown talked out distorted echoey chants.  

The band closed out the set with the unreleased song “14″, which was much more soothing than many of the songs played throughout the set. It made for a calming closer to a fantastic, energetic performance. The tranquility of it was there to hush the frantic energy of the crowd. Nonetheless, when the song was over, chants of “Water From Your Eyes” broke out as they packed up. 

Water From Your Eyes continues their tour for the next month, going until just before the release of their new album “Everyone’s Crushed” on May 26th through Matador Records. You can listen to their music on their Bandcamp and other streaming services. You can also read through the interview Rachel and Nate did with KRUI here.  

Full Setlist: 


Buy My Product (Unreleased) 


Structure (Unreleased) 


Out There (Unreleased) 

My Love’s 

When You’re Around 

Track Five 

True Life (Unreleased) 

14 (Unreleased)