The sounds of guitars, drums and singing filled the Central Iowa Fairgrounds Activity Building on Saturday night, as two local bands – Janey and the Growlerz and Wenko & BAM – played for all who came for some live music and pleasure.
Admission to the event was only five dollars for four full hours of music, and a variety of drinks were available for purchase. Janey and the Growlerz kicked off playing from 7-9 p.m. Then the stage was given to Wenko & BAM for the next two hours.
The members of each group are all from Marshall County and surrounding areas, and one of the things they all have in common is their love of music.
Janey and the Growlerz lead singer Janey Potter said that before the band was formed, they only got together to play at open-mic nights, but eventually it turned into something more. Since 2015, they’ve been performing as a band, and Potter said being in the band has allowed her to branch out into different genres she might not have explored otherwise.
“I started out as a country girl, and they kind of pushed me to try different genres that I wasn’t comfortable with at first and now I’m like, ‘Wow. I can do some of them that I didn’t think I could,” Potter said.
Joel Love, on keyboard and guitar, joked that they “brought her to the dark side”. Similarly to Potter, guitar player Rod Holke-Farnam said he never liked playing country songs until she introduced him to some of the genre.
Part of the reason they cover such a variety of songs is because of the band’s wide age range. The youngest member of their five-person band, their drummer Blake Kelley, is in his early twenties while the oldest member of the band is Joel Love who just turned 70.
“That’s also what makes it fun, that’s what makes music versatile, from new age stuff to older stuff and everything in between,” Potter said.
The newest member of their band is John Love on bass. John is Joel’s son, and he said it was fun to be in a band with his dad. Saturday’s event was one of their first big gigs since COVID-19, and they were all happy to be there.
Wenko & BAM are a slightly younger band than Janey and the Growlerz, having only started about a year and a half ago. The name is a play on each of the band members’ names, as Wenko is a nickname for keyboardist George Wenk, and BAM is the first initial for each of the other band members, Blake Roseland, Andy Rhodes and Mike Bullen.
Wenk helped start the band in Rhodes, and he said Rhodes brought him back to vocals.
“A long time ago I made a record, and I really had no intention of singing again, but Andy convinced me to sing again,” Wenk said. “Me and Mike had worked together in another band for a long time, and then we spoke with Blake, and he was interested in doing this with us, because he’s the youngster, he’s in his twenties. The rest of us We’re in our 60s. It really came together quickly. It was really great.”
As nearly all of them contribute in some way to singing, singing takes center stage in their music. Wenk said their set included an original song called “Rock and Roll Over” and then the rest were covers of classic rock songs.
“I’m excited to continue doing what I do, doing what I love,” Wenk said. “My favorite part has been making music with other good musicians who are just there for fun. Nobody’s trying to be a rockstar, nobody’s trying to make billions of dollars, we’re doing it for the sake of it. pleasure.
Roseland, their drummer, said being in the band allowed him to learn a different range of songs that he wasn’t used to.
“We play a lot of old rock stuff from the 70s and 80s and we’re a quartet, so we all have to connect pretty well and fill it out, so it’s fun,” Roseland said.
Rhodes, who sings and plays guitar in both Wenko and BAM, said he’s looking forward to playing a gig now that COVID has receded significantly.
“I just want people to have fun. Without masks or gimmicks, let’s have fun,” Rhodes said.
Most of the seats were taken in the activity building, and everyone in attendance seemed happy to let the music wash over them.
Contact Susanna Meyer at 641-753-6611 or [email protected]