Earlier this week, I wrote a column for my blog about why everyone should go to 80/35. In a nutshell, it is to show that Des Moines can support a festival like this, with bands like this. It is to show all the people organizing tours that Des Moines is no longer a shippable city. So even if you aren’t huge on the headliners or lineup this year, there is still something for everyone. For those that maybe aren’t huge on the headliners or main stage, that’s cool, too. Here are twelve acts you can see for free that are incredible. And again, you don’t have to spend a dime to see any of them, if you don’t want to.
In order of performance:
Dustin Smith and the Sunday Silos – 5pm Friday Kum & Go Stage
A nice blend of traditional Americana with some more contemporary mix. The Des Moines band makes the most of their various sounds to make a cool blend of fun, summery music.
Tajh – 6pm Friday HyVee Triathlon Stage
An Iowa City based, Des Moines bred MC, Tajh Washington has been steadily climbing the ranks with his poetic and important lyrics, soulful beats and love for his home town. He grows as an artist every time I listen, so his performance should be talked about.
Pieta Brown – 8pm Friday HyVee Triathlon Stage
A near legendary figure on the Iowa music scene, this Iowa City singer/songwriter has been around for some time with her beautiful voice and piano driven pop.
Freddie Gibbs – 815 Friday Kum & Go Stage
A lyrical firebrand, Gibbs style is smooth and introspective while at the same time being social conscious and sometimes controversial.
Ladysoal – 12pm Saturday HyVee Triathlon Stage
Soulful and gifted, this blues rock band from Ames has a presence and style both unique to the scene, and yet familiar and comfortable.
Now, Now – 1245 Saturday Kum & Go Stage
Spacey and ethereal pop music. They dance between chill and excitable, but are never boring.
Little Ruckus – 1pm Saturday HyVee Triathlon Stage
The creator of two of my favorite album of the last 12 months and maybe ever, Little Ruckus is the Fairfield, IA dance machine and motivational speaker who may do something memorable and unquestionably entertaining.
Maxilla Blue – 4pm HyVee Triathlon Stage
Des Moines based trio who are among the most gifted writers and performers in any genre or in any city. Pure talent and one of the hardest working stage shows in hip hop.
Jaill – 445pm Saturday Kum & Go Stage
Milwaukee based and SubPop Records band known for their dynamic rock songs and somewhat reserved stage manners.
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – 545pm Saturday Kum & Go Stage
A former member of The Drive By Truckers, Isbell’s brand of alt-country/rock storytelling will speak to those who like everything from Lynyrd Skynyrd to Garth Brooks.
K-Holes – 645pm Saturday Kum & Go Stage
Dirty garage rock. Just filthy and grimy. One of the bands I’m looking most forward to, period.
Dan Deacon – 8pm Kum & Go Stage
A true genius in every sense of the world, his sounds and electronic beats are incredible, but it is his live show that takes him form just a brilliant artist to an all around mind blowing experience.
This was much harder to write than I thought. The title was originally Five bands, then Eight, then Ten before finally Dozen. I also didn’t mention Dumptruck Butterlips, Mumford’s, Sundogs, Dead Larry, Mantis Pincers, Seedlings, Leslie and the Lys and so many, many more. So seriously, there is no reason not to at least hit a free stage. You will find something you like, I’m sure.