Christopher the Conquered captivates the M-Shop

Christopher The Conquered sings during a concert Friday night in the M-Shop. Christopher is not only a singer/songwriter, but a pianist and performer as well. 

Kyle Cravens

Legendary local musicians were displayed last night at the Maintenance Shop as Bleujack, Twins, and Christopher the Conquered performed. Each of the acts impressed in their own way, and those who came strictly for Christopher the Conquered got their money’s worth from his performance alone.

Local Ames group Bleujack kicked off the show. They performed songs off their new eponymous album and played as much as they could fit into their allotted time slot.

In many ways, they were the perfect start to the show, they didn’t out do any of the acts that followed, but that may have been unintentional. Their songs had a good chug to them, and lead singer Jordan Voigt’s deep raspy vocals are extremely unique. There aren’t many bands that can replicate their sound, but their songs lack that tangibility that Twins and Christopher The Conquered seem to have mastered.

Twins was next, and although they aren’t’ from Ames, they are signed to Maximum Ames Records label along with Christopher the Conquered, a.k.a. Christopher Ford. Joel Sires, Harper Sires, Luke Sires, and Devin Ferguson make up the band. They have amassed quite a following recently through a successful release of their 2016 album Square America. They performed fan favorites “Hot Stepper” and “Schoolboys ‘n Luv” but also worked in some new material that has fans excited for a new Twins record.

Ford joined Twins on stage for one of the new songs, “Love Song”. It’s a Twins song that never seemed to surface on a proper studio release, but Ford knows it as one of the greatest songs the Sires brothers have ever written. It was a really special performance, especially the end collaboration with Ford on grand piano matched with Sires’ harmonica.

It was then time for Ford to take the stage and greet the people that came to see him. He stood alone on stage, just a man and his piano. His humble personality was apparent immediately as he really tried to connect with the audience during the show. His performances of “What’s the Name of the Town” and “On My Final Day” off his newest album I’m Giving Up on Rock and Roll were dramatic and enchanting.

I’m Giving Up on Rock and Roll is his second studio release with Maximum Ames Records, and as Ford puts it: “It is an album about burning your ego. It encourages people to stop trying to be someone they are not.”

His voice was his main tool of communicating messages and he was excellent at controlling his tone to amplify everyone’s emotions in the room.

He really opened up to the medium-sized crowd in attendance. He explained the meaning behind his new song, “Real Love Song”, which tells the tale of how he met his girlfriend, whom he loves dearly.

“This is one of my favorite songs to perform currently,” Ford explained in a post-show interview.

At the time, it took guts to ask a random beautiful girl to kiss him on the balcony after a Denver show, but he would do it the same way every time ,because now that’s the girl he has fallen in love with.

It is this kind of storytelling that made his performance so special. The audience felt like they were part of the song because the message was right in front of their faces. His songwriting is also second to none. He is possibly the best songwriter in Iowa currently.

He has recently flexed his songwriting prowess by writing 100 songs inspired by other people’s experiences mixed with his own.

“I asked some of my fans what they live for, and I wrote personalized songs for each them,” Ford said.

The song “Hey Dad” was one of the products of this project, and was also one of the most reflective moments of the show. It tells a story of a veteran’s daughter through her point of view, and follows her through her life and how she interacts with her father, and what becomes of that relationship.

The concert ended in a climatic finale as the audience gathered around Ford’s grand piano as he sang “Mama I Wanna Be James Brown,” a song that perfectly relays his message that some people can’t choose their path like others.

“It’s up to the people more fortunate to help those without opportunity, and to make everyone’s life exciting and full,” Ford said.

He always seems to make his time in Ames special, and has always been jealous of those who are fortunate enough to be from Ames.

“This is where I got my start,” Ford said. “It has always been my dream to perform on the M-Shop stage and I accomplished that and so much more.”

He will return inevitably to that stage soon, and his fans will surround him without question, because he is one of the few men with a voice that matters.

He is not just preaching to the choir — he has established himself as an inspiration to so many people. And because his art reflects his experiences with fans, every show from Christopher the Conquered is intimate and a real treat.