Having a nineteen-month-old daughter, I don’t get a lot of opportunities to see live local music. But over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to check out, and even be a small part of, the local music scene at the open jams at Bombay Bicycle Club (BBC). This is a great bar (see this write-up) that wouldn’t be out of place in San Francisco—if you stuck BBC in the Mission or the Haight, no one would bat an eye. And it’s only gotten better with the addition of Chef Sam Auen’s Tacopocalypse (a mainstay of the Downtown Farmers Market). With just the beer selection, and now the food, this place is worth a visit. But when you add an open jam night to the mix, it’s not to be missed.
I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here, but for anyone who is under the impression that here in “flyover country” we don’t have great local music, let me disabuse you of that notion. Just show up on Tuesday nights here and watch some amazing musicians take the stage. The house band, Its Complicated, alone will blow you away. I mean these guys kick ass. They all have killer chops and play some great tunes. After a brief set by the house band, Curry Harter gets and keeps things going. I’m very new on the scene here, so unfortunately I can’t tell you who all I’ve seen playing on the stage, but I can tell you that I’ve been very impressed. Sometimes it’s a full band, other times it’s a collection of various musicians who are there for the night, but you always get fun, and often get great. The music tends to be blues, but you’ll get some jazzy flavors, as well as pop, R&B and straight-ahead rock.
I’ve been lucky enough to sit in on drums a couple of times with some of the regular musicians (for the most part Dave Wolf and Danielle Aldach), who have graciously put up with my plodding along while I try to keep up on songs I’ve never played before. For any other musicians out there in need of an outlet to play, I highly recommend coming out to these open jams. Everyone is supportive and it’s a good chance to meet and play with other musicians from Des Moines and central Iowa.
I also want to mention the great time my wife and I had at Latitude 41 out at the Saylorville Marina over the Memorial Day weekend where we saw Trip Defiance perform. It was a damp and cold night, but the music kept everyone upbeat. And how can you go wrong with a bar that floats?
So come out and catch some flyover-country music. And maybe you’ll even see yours truly smacking the drums around a bit.