Review: Maximum Ames Day 1

Singer-Songwriter Diane Cluck performs at the KHOI Community Radio station for Maximum Ames Music Festival day one. 

Diane Cluck / David Dondero / Megan K. Blair 

Music fans were treated to a intimate show at KHOI Community on Friday afternoon, as one of the Maximum Ames headliners kicked off the weekend.

Before Diane Cluck showed off her talent though, two openers took the colorful and imaginatively decorated Flavor Basket Memorial Stage. 

First up, was Megan K. Blair. She was backed up by three of her friends on stage, who provided additional vocals and instrumentation. They had amazing harmony together. Their array of instruments was very also interesting, as they would change out the ones they were playing after each song. It created a really nice variety in their overall sound. 

Blair seemed to be ecstatic about opening up for Gluck, as she said early on in her set that she had wished for the singer/songwriter to come to Max Ames this year. 

Her set was a great way to open up the show too, as I feel it got the audience in a good mood.  Her group ended things off by having everyone in the room sing along with a couple of melodies. Much of the room participated, and many people could be seen smiling and having a good time with it. 

David Dondero was up next, and while his style was much different from Blair’s, it added another tone to the already great show.

One thing that stuck out to me about Dondero was the way he sees the world, and how he shows it to others through music.  

He started off with some songs that critiqued society, and I could really feel how he felt about issues going on in the world right now.  

His lyrics are really well written, sometimes even quirky. But, they all have deep meaning to them, and he knows how to perform them in a way that adds even more meaning. 

Dondero has an interesting way of interacting with an audience too, and I really enjoyed it.  He is very calm and collected, but he throws in a joke every once in a while and they never failed to make me smile. 

Finally, Cluck took the stage to much love from around the space at KHOI. Many cheered for her during the set, as the audience was super passionate toward her. 

Like Dondero, I felt Cluck also had this cool and calm personalty to her. I felt it made the audience feel comfortable. 

What I mean by that is, every time she spoke between songs, she just seemed very genuine.  She talked to the audience as if they were a close friend. 

Plus, she seemed very happy to be at Max Ames Fest, as she acknowledged her love for the event several times. 

“I’m really excited about this festival, and so glad to be apart of it,” Cluck said. 

Her lyrics are all very beautiful. She was especially good at describing emotions and nature through music. 

Some of her songs were short, but she always packed a lot into them. I really appreciated that, I think it takes a really good songwriter to pack a lot of info into a little bit of time. 

After she ended her main set, Cluck was called back onto the stage for an encore. Cheers filled the little room before, and after she played her final two songs. 

All three of these artists brought great lyrics, and interesting styles to one of the first shows of Maximum Ames Festival. The crowd seemed to dig the whole thing, and I thought it kicked the weekend off nicely.