Opportunities to perform live in Ames this school year


Emily Berch/Iowa State Daily

Jada Alexander performs an original composition titled “Men Can Cry Too” at Open Mic Night at the M-Shop on Oct. 9, 2018.

Tanner Owens

Ames is home to a variety of venues that offer live music.

A lot of the venues that offer live music also offer opportunities for comedy acts, theater performances and more.

There are local places such as the Durham Bandshell, which hosts the Ames Municipal Band on Thursdays and Ames on the Half Shell on Fridays during the summer, and the Maintenance Shop, an intimate, dimly lit venue which hosts comedy shows and concerts.

If you’re a musician looking to find band members and land a gig at a local bar or venue, the GENRE club at Iowa State can be a great way to get immersed into the music scene. GENRE club is open to students of all majors and even provides instruments and equipment for you. The group allows students to connect with other people looking to form bands and offers them various practice facilities and puts them in contact with local venues such as Mother’s and London Underground.

Bands that form through GENRE club are given the opportunity to practice in a gig atmosphere at Zeke’s, a live music venue located in West Ames. The group also puts on shows of its own.

In the past we usually try to put on four shows a semester, or five,” said Julia Studer, former club president. “That includes the beginning of a semester, a mid-semester showcase and then an end-of-semester showcase in addition to an acoustic show.”

If singing or playing an instrument isn’t quite your speed, don’t worry, there is a treasure-trove of other options to perform other types of entertainment. The Maintenance Shop offers Grandma Mojo’s Moonshine Revival on Wednesdays during the entire school year. Grandma Mojo’s gives students the opportunity to perform as a member of an improvisational comedy troupe.

The Maintenance Shop hosts open mic nights every other Tuesday throughout the school year. Acts can sign up at the door and must stay at the venue through their performance. It is required that performers have prepared material and that they do not exceed the time limit of 10 minutes or the song limit of two. No full bands are allowed, but vocalists and instrumentalists are welcome.

Bars in Ames also offer opportunities for student-musicians to perform. DG’s Taphouse, London Underground, Mother’s Pub and Prairie Moon Winery all elicit help from musicians attending Iowa State.

If you don’t fall under the category of a comedian or musician, there are still opportunities for you to perform in Ames. If you are an Iowa State theater student, it is possible to be employed by the Story Theater Company as a director, instructor or designer. The company performs at the Ames Community Theater and puts on four full-length shows per season. The group also leads workshops and camps for children in addition to having a touring production.