Maximum Ames Music Festival – Last Day Recap

Gloom Balloon

Gloom Balloon is a genre of his own. He’s inspiring, unique, and fully energized at every performance. During his set on the final day of Maximum Ames, Gloom Balloon without a doubt had all festival goers in awe of his spunk and originality. I’d say out of the whole 45 minute performance, Gloom Balloon spent only about 30 seconds actually up on stage. The remainder was spent on the floor (literally rolling around and diving/somersaulting on the floor), as well as dancing and singing with attendees. My personal favorite was when he brought out his big ‘gloom balloon’ (which is that rainbow colored parachute that will give you flashbacks to your elementary school PE class). 20+ attendees joined underneath the parachute to share an intimate musical experience together. Gloom Balloon’s roots are in Ames, he lived here 20 years ago and felt motivated by the strong music scene the town embodies. Since then, he’s grown a strong following in central Iowa and has performed at 80/35, the Iowa State Fair, and KURE Fest. Gloom Balloon’s music incorporates pop, jazz, and hip-hop styles.

A fair warning for when you see Gloom Balloon in concert for the first time: You will fall in love. You will want more. Patrick Tape Fleming has this beautiful essence about him that brings people together. We are so lucky to have such great artists here in central Iowa, and Gloom Balloon reminds us of that!


Halfloves put on an electrifying show Sunday night at The Angry Irishman where they brought a great mix of noise rock, dream pop, and experimental beats. Most of the songs towards the beginning of the show seemed to be intentionally messy, but in the best way possible as it translated to some fascinating guitar riffs and bass lines. These first few songs seemed to be more rock-oriented than anything, but slowly began to rely on creative synths as the show went on. This combination really showed in their track “Small Hours”. Here we saw some spooky synthesizers that perfectly bridged their noise rock with dream pop. Towards the end of the show, they reached a synth reliance that resembled some early Radiohead music. The show became more compelling as it went on, and became one of the most interesting performances of the weekend . Make sure to check out their new album ‘Dazer’, which came out on August 30th.

Dear Rabbit

Dear Rabbit made sure to hit the ground running with their start to the fourth and final night of Maximum Ames. Best described as grunge meets punk, the band did not disappoint with their set Sunday night. Keeping the audience on their toes, each song the band delivered transitioned into something completely unexpected. With songs such as When I Get to the Next Town I Don’t Know If You Will Write Me a Letter, Dear Rabbit showed off their musical chops by building the anticipation of each tune. Frontman, Rence Liam belted out the lyrics, setting a slow and heartfelt mood, before transitioning into an intense hard rock vibe that sent the band’s guitarist to the floor as he slapped out each riff. The band was able to fool the audience into thinking that  each tune was over, with applause filling the room. But they weren’t done yet. Dear Rabbit would continue the song with a vibe that intensified the crowd even more. The band ended their set with their song What Kind of Doggies Do You Like, a lyrically humorous, yet groovy tune that solidified the bands original, eccentric aura.

About the author