Written by Chad Taylor
Wednesday night at the Mews.
Both the first and last words in that sentence can make for a highly frustrating experience, if you're looking for (or playing) live music in Des Moines. Wednesday night is troublesome, because it's smack in the middle of the week, and if you're a local act trying to get Des Moines' denizens out to see a show on a week night, you're engaging in a ton of wishful thinking. Des Moines is a town that steadfastly refuses to party on a school night.
And then there's The Vaudeville Mews. It's a steadfast venue with strong ties to the local scene and home to countless bands' first shows. With the passing of venues like Hairy Mary's and The Blues on Grand, if Des Moines still has a local music venue that can be described as "legendary", Mews is it. But none of that changes the fact that a lot of their shows seem to be put together with all the coherency and fluidity of a drunk man playing Cards Against Humanity.
So, putting it all together and on any given weekday night at the Mews, you can probably expect that a) the place will be empty regardless of the quality of the music, and b) you're probably going to hear a couple of acts that don't really mesh well together.
So it is written, so shall it be done.
This past Wednesday brought Milwaukee five-piece The Midwestern Charm to town, playing along side Ames prog-jam four piece Doctor Murdock and Raygun's own Nappin' Dylan Boyle. True to Des Moines' mid-week form, calling the crowd "sparse" would be an insult to sparse things. I did the occasional head count throughout the night, and I never got above 15. But Boyle has never been one to be put off by a small crowd, and proceeded to grab the few that were there and take them to church.Read More