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Mission Creek: Bootcamp at Trumpet Blossom Café

I have seen Bootcamp before. I’ll admit I was a few minutes late to their show. I stepped across the bridge just adjacent to the main Gilbert Street bridge. It’s just meant for walking or biking, I suppose, and as I approached, I could hear faint sounds of music coming from the Trumpet Blossom Café. I cursed myself as I got closer, until eventually I stepped out to the front of the building and heard, to my despair, “We’re actually at capacity already.” Not only had the band started, but the venue was full.

“Wonderful,” I thought, as sarcastically as anyone’s thoughts can really get. Another pair of people tried to enter. The worker says, again, “We’re at capacity.” Some people murmur about “We can hear it out here anyways.” Undeterred, I stepped up, flashing my media pass. The door jockey lets me in, thankfully.

The band is halfway through a song when I enter to a packed room and loads of sound. Bootcamp’s songs are short, so it doesn’t take long for this particular one to conclude. This aspect is part of Bootcamp’s hardcore punk roots: short, aggressive songs, and raspy, loud vocals. These are all key components of hardcore, but more specifically the subset of punk from which Bootcamp derives much of their sound. It’s meant to be an assault on the senses.

Image via Anthony Scanga

On this metric, then, Bootcamp always succeeds. For my own part as a listener, I’ve always admired their percussionist, Oliver, able to seemingly effortlessly make order from the unordered chaos of a punk show. The guitarist, Dolly, was the progenitor of said chaos, the birthplace of the most virulent of the sound profile which makes Bootcamp so distinct. As a broken record might say, the band always prevails by this metric. While I wasn’t able to see it all myself, as I exited the show I heard there was a mosh pit in the Café, which is a relatively tame establishment, all things considered. Nobody mentioned it at the time, but this was perhaps foreshadowing for the Osees show later at The Englert Theater, where seats were largely ignored in favor of crowding in front of the stage to form a makeshift pit.

Bootcamp always manages to produce a powerful energy, infused with the essential subversive elements of any good punk band, and the genre as a whole. Where punk goes, a pit should follow, and where else better than the sleepy Trumpet Blossom Café? The presence during their set epitomizes and demonstrates Bootcamp’s ability to spark the need for heavy music in people, no matter how down tempo the venue.

Bootcamp is, altogether, a fantastic group produced from the already prolific Iowa City hardcore scene. They always put on a great show, and their set for Mission Creek was no different. They embody the best aspects of punk, while having the energy and reach to back it up. As I said at the beginning of this article, I’ve seen Bootcamp before, and I’ll always look forward to seeing them again. I left the show satisfied, though my own heart ached for unrelated reasons. So many familiar faces stood outside of Trumpet Blossom.