The first lineup announcement for year two of the Maximum Ames Music Festival (September 20-23) has just been released, and as promised it does not disappoint. Cutting to the chase:
Jeff Mangum: Best known as the frontman for Neutral Milk Hotel of the Athens, Georgia-based Elephant 6 Recording Company, Mangum became a recluse after the group disbanded in 1999. But this year he’s back on tour, and after seven months of negotiations with his booking agent festival organizer Chris Lyng confirmed Mangum’s spot on the roster. Mangum’s “really mysterious, doesn’t play many shows, and plays music that can’t really be replicated,” says Maximum Ames Records co-founder (and Ames Progressive editor) Nate Logsdon.
The Music Tapes: Logsdon frequently speaks of the importance of booking big acts at the Maximum Ames Music Festival that are “tied into Ames music history.” With Elephant 6, that tie is the Poison Control Center, who have toured with The Apples in Stereo. The PCC’s Patrick Tape Fleming has never met Mangum (but will when PCC opens for him at the fest), but in the summer of 2000 Elephant 6 band The Music Tapes played a show in Fleming’s kitchen when he lived in Ames’ old Bi-Fi Records house. The Music Tapes, led by former Neutral Milk Hotel member Julian Koster, are coming back to Ames for the festival.
“There’s always kind of a magic vibe when you go to Athens,” Fleming says. “It’s the same kind of vibe I think people in Ames and Des Moines are getting now, and people are playing on each other’s records, playing in each other’s bands,” something for which artists on the Elephant 6 label are known. “Hopefully in 10 years, people will think of Ames and Des Moines like they do of Athens.”
Wanda Jackson: The Queen of Rockabilly, 74-year-old Jackson is another huge draw for this year’s festival. When organizers learned that she shared a booking agent with Arkansas songwriter Adam Faucett, who’s also playing the fest, they went out on a limb and convinced Jackson to make an appearance too. “We wanted a headliner who’s a living legend,” Logsdon says. Jackson began her career in the 1950s, when Elvis Pressley introduced her to rockabilly, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. In October she’s releasing a new record produced by Justin Townes Earle. Jackson is also known as the First Lady of the rockabilly genre, and Logsdon is excited that her performance will inspire central Iowa’s growing scene.
Mount Eerie: Frontman Phil Elverum came to prominence playing in the indie rock band The Microphones, which in 2003 played a notable show at former Ames underground venue The Practice Space. Elverum’s new project is named after The Microphones’ final studio album. Mount Eerie’s scheduled to play what Logsdon sees as a similar venue, The Orange Gentleman, for the Maximum Ames Music Festival. Folk singer Paleo will open the show.
The Dirty Dozen Brass Band: Hailing from New Orleans, this band has played Ames for years. Another Ames connection of sorts the group has, Logsdon says, is that “they are also directly influential to many central Iowa bands that incorporate horns into their sound, a noticeable trend in the contemporary music scene.” The Dirty Dozen Brass Band has played shows for 35 years; released more than a dozen records since the ’80s; and appeared on records by Elvis Costello, Modest Mouse, Widespread Panic, and Joe Henry.
Here are the rest of the acts in today’s Maximum Ames Music Festival lineup announcement:
The Bootytronic Suite
The Daredevil Christopher Wright
Diamonds for Eyes
Jaw Harp Potential
Alex Kintzle and the Davis Brothers
Peace, Love & Stuff
The Poison Control Center
The River Monks
Tickets are available at the Maximum Ames Music Festival website: $60 for Saturday and Sunday, $100 for a four-day all-festival pass.