The Ames Scene: May 27, 2016

Christopher the Conquered’s Album Release Show

It’s been a whirlwind year for the Des Moines artist Christopher the Conquered, having already toured the US and Europe numerous times in support of his new record, I’m Giving Up on Rock’n’Roll, ahead of its official release on Maximum Ames. (Disclosure: I am an owner of Maximum Ames.) But now it’s official and Christopher is celebrating with a release party at Wooly’s in Des Moines on Friday night, at which he’ll play the album in full with a local ensemble replete with horns, backup singers, special guests and surely some of the wild dance moves that Mr. Conquered satirically claims he’s given up on the album’s title track.

The record itself is a dramatic piece of art that adds a touch of musical theater to deep R&B grooves. The songs recall at times Elton John’s Tumbleweed Connection, with choruses that employ a chord walk-down to tap into a gospel roots sound. Christopher’s voice — and the presence of bluesy female vocal accompanists — suggests gospel influences too as he navigates a path between unhinged vibrato wailing and studied pop phrasing. It’s a wild ride but what holds it together is Christopher’s superb songwriting and top-notch production values achieved alongside producer Patrick Tape Fleming at the historic Ardent Studios in Memphis.

TWINS and Mesonjixx open the show.

Terror Pigeon at The Record Mill

The ever-touring, colorfully-attired, prop-toting pop party-starter Terror Pigeon returns to Ames on Sunday night for a brilliant little basement show at the North Ames house concert venue The Record Mill. Terror Pigeon is touring with his long-awaited second album, Live It Up Before You Die It Up, a collection of surprisingly soulful and sincere anthems that celebrate young love, embrace heartache with religious zeal and turn simple affirmations into the punk scream-along you’ve been needing to get out of your system.

To round out the thick bill, Fairfield-based punk supergroup Night Pits makes their Ames debut alongside Lesbian Poetry’s all-synth side-project Evil Elliot & the Electric Chocolate Factory, sax-playing performance artist Curt Oren, and invigorating Ames pop-punk outfit Kickstart the Sun.

Two Solid Shows at DG’s 

This is a good weekend, as usual, at DG’s Tap House. On Friday the legendary Ames singer-songwriter and poet Happy Jack Dalton celebrates his birthday with an evening of original music alongside Ben Schrag and Sean Huston among other special guests. On Saturday, the outstanding Iowa City-based powerpop masters Halfloves (formerly The Olympics) roll through town for an overwhelming performance alongside Ames indie-groove favorites Doctor Murdock and Illinois psych-rock unit Condor & Jaybird.

The M Shop Announces Sara Watkins for December Date

The M Shop is still a few months away from announcing their full Fall lineup but they’ve teased us with one big announcement this week: the world-class fiddle player and songwriter Sara Watkins, formerly of Nickle Creek, is coming Dec. 1. Mark your calendars now.

Nate Logsdon is a writer, editor, and indexer from Ames. He was a founding editor of the Ames Progressive and contributing editor at the Iowa Informer.