Ames music scene offers many live, weekend performances

Rachel Johnson

As we move back into the routines of classes, we seek out escapes to steal our attention from tedious everyday requirements asked of us as students.

In the Ames culture you may be surprised to find a thriving local music scene, including any and every genre of music, with fervent musicians behind it.

Ames houses some of the most promising talent inside the Midwest. Major bands such as Public Property, The Nadas, Poison Control Center and Radio Moscow can all be heard in and around Ames. With bands such as these, as well as more localized and growing acts, we find a community rivaling those of some major cities.

I would encourage you to seek out venues you wouldn’t usually, and you may find something so spectacular you kick yourself for not finding it sooner.

The Ames Progressive, 118 Hayward Ave. behind Capone’s and Cafe Beaudelaire, houses intimate shows an average of three times a week. These feature local and traveling musicians, as well as hosting an open mic night every Sunday, which usually ends in a jam session involving all the performers.

The venue is small, but communal, making the shows solely about the music and nothing else. It’s an all ages venue, welcoming anyone to come. Regardless of the smaller space, it houses some of the best, most contagiously energetic shows in Ames.

Headliners, 2430 Lincoln Way, also hosts local acts many nights of the week; offering a full bar and menu, which makes it a comfortable environment with the potential to house some out of control shows. The genres vary from alternative to aggressive rock, as well as hosting drag shows; all of which pull in different crowds.

Capone’s, 2518 Lincoln Way, also hosts local musicians on a full stage, as well as Karaoke and Salsa nights with a full dance floor and very reasonable cover charges.

DG’s Tap House, 127 Main St., has placed itself on the list of bars to find local and traveling musicians in an open and relaxed space with a regular schedule of acts ranging in genres.

The M-Shop in the Memorial Union also books some very enticing acts, including Frightened Rabbit, Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros, with countless others. The schedule is posted on the website and the venue puts on weekly shows as well as open mic nights.

Outside of live band performances, Ames and Des Moines also host some of the best DJs in the Midwest.

Sgt. Pepper’s, 116 Welch Ave., host DJs nights every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, including professional DJ DJLEO on Friday nights till 2 a.m.

New dance club Project 20/20, 2424 Lincoln Way, hosts The BootyTronic DJ crew once a month, with a techno dance party featuring a number of local DJs.

ISU student-run radio station 88.5 FM KURE hosts volunteer DJs, featuring shows from hip-hop, to 1980s punk, to alternative folk, giving a wide range of music that will no doubt pull in any music fan. General manager of KURE Darren Hushak hosts a radio show that features strictly local acts, and also brings in local musicians to perform live in the studio. The station provides a UStream station to watch the DJs, as well as performances that can be found on the website:

Hushak also manages a local record studio, Pinnacle Records, which was started with a bar stool and a microphone when he was a teenager.

Pinnacle Records was Hushak’s way of breaking through the hold the major labels had on the industry. He started recording acts for free, wanting to give local acts a fair shot at a growing industry.

Today, Pinnacle Records records and promotes local acts such as Modern Day Satire, Thoughts of Crossing, Finn Miles and Blutiger Fluss. With the help of a few interns, Hushak is doing his part in helping the local scene flourish, and clearly, it’s making a difference.

In the last couple years, Ames has seen significant growth in not just performances and bands, but in opportunities to seek out musicians and events featuring DJs like DJLEO and The BootyTronic DJ crew, as well as others that bring a flare of style and creativity.

There are also a few acts you need to keep an ear out for.

Christopher the Conquered has been performing in and around the area for a while and puts on an enthralling show that will leave you wide-eyed and amazed.

Public Property, The Workshy, Modern Day Satire, Mumford’s and countless other acts frequent these venues and all are worth seeking out, proving to everyone in Ames that we do, in fact, have a thriving and progressing music community.

Clearly, there are a number of opportunities to seek out a good night of musical enlightenment.