The Maintenance shop:: Another Jess Nelson Look at Ames

What do Rilo Kiley, the Wu-Tang Clan and The Beatles have in common? Absolutely nothing, other than the production of music. But, what do Mates of State, Mason Jennings and Jack Johnson have in common? Each one of them has played at the Maintenance Shop, ISU’s basement concert house. The M-Shop is a place where everyone in Ames can go to view musical artists trying to make an impression in a college town. The Maintenance Shop, more commonly known as the M-Shop, was opened on January 4th, 1974 after the student board at ISU decided to turn the Memorial Union’s old maintenance shop into a club for live music and entertainment. Bands of all kinds of notoriety come to entertain the masses on any given night of the week. The M-Shop has hosted such big name acts as Stuart Davis, Leo Kotke, Yo La Tengo and many other big record label bands. “I went and saw Mates of State there and it was awesome.” freshman Aaron Ackerman said. “The show was really good, but when we tried to make them do an encore, they just ignored us. That was pretty lame.” The average price of a ticket to the concerts at the M-Shop range from five to 13 dollars, with the tickets going up in price on the day of the show. “Two, sometimes three bands for eight bucks, that’s a great deal.” Ackerman said. “It’s about two hours of entertainment for super cheap. Who wouldn’t want to go to a concert here?” Most times after the acts finish their sets they go and sell their merchandise. “The people in the bands are really down to earth. I always think they are going to be standoffish, but they are always just super cool.” senior Kate Fowler said. The types of merchandise the bands sell vary from just E.P.’s to full-length albums and t-shirts. “If I really like a band, my friends and I just split the 10 dollars it takes to buy the album. I have found some of my favorite bands that way.” Fowler said. Though the concert scene at the M-Shop it has developed into an ISU cultural hang out for many types of entertainment. The M-Shop hosts an improve comedy troupe called Grandma Mojo’s moonshine revival band, open microphone comedy nights, open microphone nights for aspiring musical artists and the ISU LGBTA alliance’s famous drag shows. Although the M-Shop started from modestly, it has developed into an intimate venue where bands come from all around to experience the atmosphere. “It’s really cool to have a place to go where I can just go to enjoy music with people who want to do the same.” Fowler said.