Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sound Stage

Maximum Music Fest is an Ames showcase


Ellesello bassist Darren Hushak performing at a video game store at Ames’ Maximum Music Festival last week.

Ellesello bassist Darren Hushak performing at a video game store at Ames’ Maximum Music Festival last week.

The Maximum Ames Music Festival took place this past Thursday through Sunday, and the event is a testament to the hard work of a small group of people. A group of volunteers, spearheaded by Nate Logsdon and Chris Lyng, established a yearly festival that is one of the largest of its kind in the state. This year’s event featured nearly 130 acts in a couple dozen venues around Ames, and while there was a lot going on that could qualify as niche performances, it’s safe to say that there was still at least a little something for everyone.

Featuring headliners that included The Meat Puppets, The Zombies, Murder By Death and Iowa’s own Bo Ramsey and Greg Brown, Max Ames also boasted a slew of local and regional talent, much of it being presented in venues that aren’t normally set up for music. This was both good and bad. On one hand, the idea of walking onto a cafe patio (as I did to catch Bejae and Andrew Fleming) or an office space (Shook Twins) or a video game store (Nude Girls; Ellesello) and seeing live music is a fresh approach to community involvement, and a really fun idea. The one big downside, though, is that office spaces and video game stores aren’t always the most acoustically ideal for live music, nor are they always great with available floor space, making some of the shows cramped and sweaty.

The only other minor knock against the festival is that downtown Ames and campus town are just far enough apart to make for a decent amount of driving up and down Lincoln Way to see everything you want. But the tradeoff of seeing so much of the city involved in the festival was worth a little extra gas or shoe leather. CV

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