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Sound Stage

Little BIG Fest

11/21/2012

Nobody involved really says it aloud, but this year’s Little BIG Fest was a gamble. Moving from Hotel Fort Des Moines to three separate East Village venues was a decision that was both inspired and risky. Even though House of Bricks, Wooly’s and The Underground all sit on the same block of land, were people going to want to step outside and bounce from venue to venue in the middle of November? A week ago, the weather report called for low 40s and sleet. But by the night of the festival, it was clear that the Des Moines Metro Concerts had rolled a hard six weather-wise, as you couldn’t have asked for a better night to walk between stages. And while the first third of the festival could be charitably described as “sparsely attended” — I counted less than 20 people at three performances — the crowd picked up as the evening continued. In the early hours of the festival, House of Bricks was the place to be, with Har-di-har, Randy Burk and the Prisoners and Rebel Creek all turning in excellent performances that were also a nice change of pace from one another. The first two hours at Wooly’s, by contrast, was more uniform and lacked the fire of the stage around the block. The free shows at The Underground — a great decision and nice way to include more people — kicked off at 8 p.m. and featured raucous performances by Obsidian’s Dream, The Colt Walkers and Aquamarine Dream Machine. But the boldest lineup choice of the evening had to be the inclusion of dub step act SUBliminal Chaos. A far cry from the folk/country/jam offerings of the rest of the evening, he set the table for a great final two hours and, much to my chagrin, was probably the performance of the night. CV

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