You may have seen Cirrus Minor’s name on the bill for some very jam-focused shows. Or some metal shows. Just a few weeks back they were performing as a Pink Floyd tribute act, and they’ve done the same for The Doors.
The Des Moines band’s official description for itself is “psychedelic,” which conjures up images of tie-dyed, wailing rock a la Jimi Hendrix or Jefferson Airplane. But that’s not exactly what they mean by it.
“It’s more psychedelic in the sense of meaning unpredictable,” guitarist Mike Ruby, 29, said. “We try to make our shows like a roller coaster, where people don’t know song to song where we’re going.”
The band can play a four-hour set if the night calls for it, or squeeze in a blistering 30 minutes. They have songs that can fit in with heavier bands and others that can inspire arm waving and hula- hooping. But Cirrus Minor has found a surprising amount of crossover between fans of the various genres. It’s not unusual to see a clad-in-black metal fan loosen up and go with the flow for a song or two.
The reason for the variety in Cirrus Minor’s style is twofold. One, variety is nice when a band is playing for a few hours. Two, the members of the band have a taste in music that is much more varied than is usually found in a single genre.
“If someone is playing for three or four hours and it’s just reggae, eventually you’ll want to hear anything but reggae,” bassist Aaron Lea, 35, said. “That goes for any style of music: rap, jazz, country, you’re going to want to hear something else. We try to make it so that no matter what, fans will be within a couple songs of hearing something that appeals to them.”
The group’s first show was as an acoustic trio at the impressive-sounding Marshalltown Coliseum (it’s more like a gymnasium). Before too long the band expanded to include keyboardist Rich Cantrell, 42, and drummer Joe Corbin, 32.
Cirrus Minor has performed at the Summer Camp Music Festival the last two years and Wakarusa in 2010. That has put them on bills with acts like The Black Keys, Wiz Khalifa, Primus and Jane’s Addiction. Locally, they’ve played with Umphrey’s McGee and Frank Hannon of Tesla, who joined the band for a a set of Tesla material.
Cirrus Minor records most of its shows, putting them up for free download at cirrusminorlive.com. This winter they plan to head back into the studio for the follow-up to their first full-length, “Animadverto Demens.”
The audience for Little Big Fest tends to be on the jammier side of things, but for their stage-closing set the band plans to give fans a sampling from the buffet of music that is Cirrus Minor.
“We’ll do our thing. There will be a variety for sure,” Ruby said. “Even though it’s a jam festival, people still like to hear everything.”