I remember when I met the guys in Item 9 and the Mad Hatters. My band Caterwaulla’s first show at Gabe’s in Iowa City was canceled. But we didn’t let that get in the way of an awesome Fourth of July party. So we gathered all the bands, picked up a couple of kegs and moved the show into a house on Burlington Street. More than a hundred people showed up. It was a beautiful night of camaraderie and connection. It was a night I’ll never forget and one that immersed me into the Iowa City music scene. So when Pete Lower of Item 9 asked me to lay down some vocals on the group’s new album, I couldn’t say no. When I walked into Minstrel Studios, most of the band members were already there. These guys don’t mess around. When they hear something they like, they go with it. Their musical style and brotherhood is something I hadn’t previously encountered. They’re always up for playing a show with a new, unknown band. Bands joining them this Friday for the release of their second album, “Chronic Illness: Freshly Baked,” show that. Opening is the latest project by Henri Lower — Item 9’s original drummer and Pete Lower’s younger brother — Highest Grade. Zeta June, which has several upcoming shows with Item 9, will be celebrating its anniversary Friday. And Das Thunderfoot is made up of Nate, Alfred and AJ — all original members of Iowa City’s 5 in a Hand, which took Item 9 under its wing, booked shows with them and helped the band start build a fan base it has earned today. Over the past two years, I’ve watched Item 9 grow and change, but something that resonates with me is the band’s ability to accept everyone into its crowd. Of course I’m biased, but these are guys who have passion for what they do and for their fans. Their performances are always epic. Join us Friday to see and hear for yourself.