Des Moines-based band to perform energetic show

BY ALYSSA M. HARN | JANUARY 20, 2011 7:10 AM

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MooseKnuckle’s drummer Eric Biase doesn’t let anything stop him from playing his music. Even when his drumset broke for a performance he improvised by using duct tape to fix the instrument.

“Sometimes when unexpected things happen, you just have to roll with it and make-do with what you have,” Biase said. “The best players don’t allow these occurances to affect their playing.”

MooseKnuckle started in Des Moines in 2006, and the group is focusing on expanding its fan base regionally with upcoming shows in Mason City, Kansas City, and Omaha. The jam band will perform at 10 p.m. Friday at the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St. Admission is $6.

Although some classify it as a jam-rock band, MooseKnuckle’s sound also touches on many musical styles, including blues, reggae, and folk. Some of the group’s musical influences include the Grateful Dead, Phish, and the Talking Heads, though none of those would normally be described as blues, reggae, or folk.

“We get our inspiration from a lot of different influences, and I think you can hear all of that in our music,” Biase said.

Just as MooseKnuckle’s musical styles are varied, so are the band’s fans, who range from teenagers to older adults.

The MooseKnuckle musicians’ main focus is creating a energetic atmosphere in which the audience members can have fun, no matter what age they are, said Nate Finestead, the group’s keyboardist and co-vocalist. The group often alters its set list during shows to harmonize with the audience’s attitude.

“The basic thing that we are trying to create when we play is a friendly atmosphere,” he said. “We want to create a positive environment for people to have a good time.”

Biase especially enjoys the audience members dancing, because it encourages him to keep the energy high while playing the drums.

“It’s really important to communicate with the audience, and that’s something we kind of pride ourselves on,” he said. “We communicate in the band, and sometimes, our songs take an interesting turn or go into a different song.”

The band plays many original songs at shows, including such tracks as “Freaks,” “Mr. Smiles,” and “Way Out West” from its upcoming album, to be released in April.

The group released its self-titled début album in 2009, and the members plan to bring plenty of new material to the recording studio in February for this year’s release.

MooseKnuckle plans to play in Colorado and the Chicago area in May, with more touring this summer.

“We are basically trying to record and play as much music as we possibly can,” Finestead said. “We are trying to grow as a band and have fun. Every day that you can play music is a good day.”

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