Check out the live music opportunities in Ames

Sean Flack

My first concert was Kid Rock when I was 10 years old.

It was an interesting experience — rowdy people, strippers on stage, explosions. As a bookworm who listened to the Beatles and Weezer; a Kid Rock concert was the opposite of everything I enjoyed in life. So needless to say, live music wasn’t something on the top of my list at the time.

Some years later, I attended the Honda Civic Tour that featured bands such as Fall Out Boy and Gym Class Heroes. Drowning in a sea of emos, I was disappointed for the second time. The concert was in a big arena. Plus, it was impersonal and the sound was hard to hear.

And then everything changed.

It started when I saw Death Cab For Cutie in Minneapolis, Minn. A friend told me about the concert, and I couldn’t turn down seeing my favorite band ever. The concert was amazing. It was still in a stadium setting, but the lights and sound were so perfect.

Then I became introduced to smaller music venues. And the music became a million times better. Two bands I’ve seen recently were Phoenix, and Tegan and Sara. Part of what made both of those shows the best concerts I’ve ever been to was how intimate and personal they were. Big stadiums can be nice for more high-profile acts, but nothing compares to a small, personal concert.

Now live music is like an addiction for me. I’m constantly searching Ticketmaster and for concerts that include my favorite bands.

But hell, live music in general is great. And while I recommend seeing your favorite band in concert somewhere, Ames is home to a couple great venues for live music I definitely recommend checking out.

It’s kind of rough these first couple of years because if you’re under 21, you can’t go to the bars, but checking out some of these places around town is a great way to spend a night out with friends.

And it’s not like good bands don’t come to Ames. This fall at the Maintenance Shop, bands such as The Hood Internet, Poison Control Center, Mae and Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin will be playing.

There’s also a lot to be said for local or not as well-known bands. Listening to 88.5 KURE is a good way to become introduced to some of them.

In addition, venues like Ames Progressive and Zeke’s are host to open mic nights that are great fun.

And it’s good to support local music. I know it can seem like Iowa City has a monopoly on the small, artsy music scene, but believe me, Ames isn’t doing too bad for itself in that department. Plus, it helps immensely that we’re so close to Des Moines.

You just learn to appreciate music more when you see it live. Don’t get me wrong, I have felt very attached to certain albums, but when you’re actually in the same place as the artist, if it’s done right, it can be a very intimate and personal experience.

I’m sure I’m just preaching to the choir here. If you’re a college music enthusiast, you’ve more than likely seen a great concert or two. But even if you just like music, I still urge you to check out some of the places around Ames. You won’t regret it.