Review: Gloom Balloon shines in the final Maximum Ames Music Festival set

Dear Rabbit performed at The Angry Irishman during the last day of Maximum Ames Music Festival. 

Trevor Babcock

Capping off Maximum Ames Music Festival, four acts convened at the Angry Irishmen for a bizarrely awesome night of expression.

From lead singer of Dear Rabbit screaming, “What kind of dogs do you like?” from a fetal position on-stage to Gloom Balloon sprinting and somersaulting around the venue while rapping about a broken heart to a coven of witches who only perform the weekend before a full-moon, the final set of Maximum Ames Music Festival perfectly displayed the organization’s mission of fostering creativity. 

Beginning the night, Dear Rabbit performed raw and emotional lo-fi rock. Dear Rabbit’s lead singer frantically shouted into the mic while backed by aggressive guitars and drums to complete the raw aesthetic. 

The most jarring of performances came from Gloom Balloon, who began his set with a self edited news package promoting his own live performances. Instead of sticking to the stage, Gloom Balloon performed exclusively in the crowd. His delivery altered between rapping and spoken-word, which found a pocket in his beautifully assembled backing instrumentals. His musical style was enough to catch attention, but his stage presence and creative personality was unforgettable. 

The Gloom Balloon experience was an overload of the senses. Between sprinting around the bar shouting lyrics in audience member’s faces, erratic dance moves, scripted comedic banter and assembling the audience under a rainbow parachute, he creates an undoubtedly entertaining spectacle. Lying between confusion and ridiculousness exists a meaningful musical act. Thematically, all his songs focus on heartbreak, and Gloom Balloon is a manifestation of the whirlwind of emotions it can cause. 

Halfloves followed, and while having the most reserved presence of the night, displayed the highest level of musical prowess. Frontman Jeff Roalson’s voice was the most interesting instrument in the band’s arsenal, smoothly drifting between pitches and deliveries over effect heavy rock. Guitar effects created tension, but the mood resolved in groovy bass lines and melodic vocal sections. 

Witch Tiit, a band consisting of members of a full moon coven who have a hotline you can reach them at to play a show the weekend before a full moon, ended the night with feel good danceable rock. The band donned costumes to represent the upcoming harvest moon and displayed a shrine on stage to complete the band’s spooky brand.