Sam Summers, of concert promoter First Fleet Concerts, shares some thoughts about what he sees going on musically here in Des Moines. (Neither of us are really fans of the word "scene.") Where he used to compare turnout against Boise or Madison, now the benchmark targets are Minneapolis or Kansas City. He digs not only Ames/DSM overseas sensations the Envy Corps, but also Wolves in the Attic, who I saw play a little while ago. And I curse myself for missing Gogol Bordello... even to see an I-Cubs game. (I'm hoping to check out Silversun Pickups on Sept. 19, also maybe Atmosphere next Tuesday.)

Sorry I've been quieter lately, keeping busy with writing and getting settled and stuff, I guess. Sounds like there are some great things going on over at Des Moines Social Club these days, from a short film screening of local screenwriter Ben Godar's short film Fatherland last night to a Readymade issue release/launch party (the do-it-yourself magazine recently relocated to Des Moines from Berkeley) on Wednesday night. I may hear a Grain Belt calling. Oh, and the 515 Alive Urban Music & Arts Festival hits the East Village this weekend-- I want to check this out, too. [Previous Five Questions: Derek Lambert, Amedeo Rossi, Patrick Tape Fleming, Ladd Askland]
1. I've never been to People's Court... what should I expect?
SS: People’s Court is really Des Moines’ first “venue”. On the small club level you can afford to have “indie”, “metal” and “rock” bars but when you start getting to the mid-sized to large-sized venues your programming really has to feed all the people. People’s is conducive to all genres. No one is going to feel out of place when going to People’s.

2. More generally, what's the Des Moines music scene like?
SS: The music scene here is greater than ever before. I look at it in terms of numbers. When I started doing shows I would base the success of any given show based on how the show did compared to places like Boise, ID or Madison, WI. Now my bar has been raised to.. “how did this show do in Des Moines vs. how it did in Minneapolis or Kansas City”. The great attendances have really made me take chances on things like Gogol Bordello or MGMT or The Kooks. Things I never would have thought about booking when I started. As a whole the good attendances are still heavily influenced by what is played on the radio. Des Moines should look to online music outlets as an alternative so I can start [to] bring more bands I like ;)

3. What shows are you most looking forward to this summer?

SS: shit… my favorite show of the summer was Gogol Bordello. You really get your money’s worth on Gogol shows. No bathroom or bar breaks. You have to make sure you catch their whole set. Pretty pumped for Silversun Pickups this fall.
4. Any local bands we should be watching?
SS: I would have to say The Envy Corps. Their hugely energetic set at 80/35 just reminded me why I back this band so much. Wolves in the Attic are great too. I was able to get them on my Faint show last year and I feel like they went over really well. Outside of Des Moines... will whitmore and old panther are a couple of my favs.

5. What would you change or improve about what's going on musically in Des Moines?
SS: I feel like with a lot of bands locally they are trying to create music that they think they are supposed to be making. There are very few bands that I feel have a natural sound. Poison Control Center is really one of the only bands that I get a “real” vibe from. Their energy and passion is so natural. I would love to see more bands writing music that is less predictable and more from the heart.
EDIT: P.S. Don't let me forget, free Why Make Clocks CD release party at Vaudeville Mews on Aug. 14. Sorry to the nice guy who e-mailed me from locals Hanwell for sleeping on their show at House of Bricks the other day-- next time, I hope. Oh, and I also happened to correspond with (I think-- Googled the name) a member of Iowa band the Postulates (a clever Newton pun?).

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