With music and comedy, Ames' Nova Labs kicks off spring hosting Nostalgia in Reverse
With eight music acts and comedian Max Power as emcee, Ames-based record label Nova Labs is ready to celebrate spring with an evening of laughter and tunes, including the debut of two new local bands.
The event “Nostalgia in Reverse” will be held Saturday, March 26, starting at 6 p.m. at Ames City Auditorium and moving to The Angry Irishmen on Main Street for a two-band after-party.
“The Tuesday before March 26 is the first day of spring, so I started looking at quotes about spring,” Nova Labs owner Bryon Dudley said. “Then I came across this Nabokov quote about nostalgia in reverse, and my brain just kind of lit up.
“It ties in, too, to the whole idea that we’ve been looking back, processing everything during the pandemic. … But it would be nice to start looking forward again, and ‘nostalgia in reverse’ seemed like a good way to put that.”
The musical lineup at Ames City Auditorium, 520 Sixth St., includes Fred Love, 11 Moons, Wally Neal & the Cloud-Hidden Singers, Matt Woods, Bleujack and Slice the Sky.
Local comedian Molly McDonald, whose stage name is Max Power, will emcee Nostalgia in Reverse and will also perform a standup set. Comedian Ben Bolluyt will also perform a standup routine, and another comedian is still being added to the lineup.
With a lineup of comedy, solo acts and bands, Dudley said he wants the event to feel like a variety show.
The afterparty at The Angry Irishmen, 119 Main St., will feature Great Ceasar’s Goat and Obsidian’s Dream.
“Obsidian’s Dream is the longest-running band in the lineup. They’ve been playing since the early 2000s,” Dudley said. “They’re kind of a jam band. They don’t go off on any super long, extended jams, but the feel of the music is like a concise jam.”
Wally Neal and The Cloud-Hidden Singers will debut at Nostalgia in Reverse.
“This is Wally’s chamber-pop band,” Dudley said. “They’ll have cello and violin, and he’s taking his songs and making it more of a chamber music kind of a thing.”
Another debut will be Slice the Sky, which is a collaborative project between Slice the Celestial Sorcerer, a hip-hop artist with a jazz influence, and Fat Sky, a groovy jazz band.
“So this will be hip-hop and jazz all together. I can’t wait for them to throw down,” Dudley said. “Slice is an Iowa State lecturer, teaching engineering, so his lyrics are super nerdy and sciency. And I just love it.”
The new band 11 Moons is also on the Nostalgia lineup. Vanessa Ellsbury, Vedran Surlan and Will Pett have recently formed a psychedelic rock trio, and Nostalgia in Reverse will be their biggest gig to date.
“All three of them are fantastic musicians, and they just jam together. There’s definitely a ‘60s psychedelic feel to it,” Dudley said.
“Bleujack is folk and hip-hop combined. With Matt Woods we’ve got blues. With Fred Love as a soloist and Great Ceasar’s Goat as a band, we’ve got Americana. So I feel like we’ve checked a lot of boxes of genres,” Dudley added.
Tickets to the show at Ames City Auditorium are $5. A link to purchase tickets is available at https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/61470.
The after-party at The Angry Irishmen is slated to start at 10 p.m. and there is no cover charge.
Nova Labs is an Ames-based independent record label Dudley founded in 2013. The company has helped an eclectic list of projects in a variety of genres, largely helping “Iowa bands in the margins of the scene find an audience.” Nova Labs has released more than 150 projects and produced numerous live events since its inception.
“We wanted Nova Labs to be a home for Iowa artists. So the only real thread that goes between all the stuff we’ve released is that they all have a very strong Iowa connection,” Dudley said.
This is the first year for Nostalgia in Reverse, which could become an annual event, Dudley said.
“We want to give music fans in Ames and beyond something to get excited about,” Dudley said in a written statement. “A lot of people feel a sense of nostalgia for the pre-pandemic world, but we want to look forward and let people know that spring’s here and we’ve got plenty of reasons to laugh and rock out. And one of the reasons at the top of that list is that we’re lucky to live in a community full of talented artists and performers.”