If you’ve seen these Des Moines jam-rockers onstage, you know what he’s talking about. Jazz-trained musicians who “listened to a lot of classic rock growing up,” they turn out a sophisticated improvisational sound that pretty much won’t let you sit still, whether they’re snapping out the innovative and funky “Fantastic Jungle” or serving up their friendly, country-inspired “Take Me Home.”


Experienced musicians who’ve all been in the business awhile, they’ve built a considerable following since they came together as MooseKnuckle in 2006. Finestead attributes their large fan base to an aggressive touring schedule that has included nonstop bar and club gigs as well as festivals throughout the Midwest. “The live show and the studio are two different monsters,” he says. “The live show, I would say, it’s a lot easier to connect. A lot of it’s based on energy.” Among their bragging rights from the road: sharing the stage with national acts Los Lonely Boys and Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials.


That’s not to say they haven’t invested time in the studio. Their self-titled debut album—deliciously rich in instrumental improvisation—was released in 2009. American Jukebox, planned for release right around Little BIG Fest, has evolved in a more singer-songwriter direction that pumps up the classic rock dynamic of their original multi-genre sound. A good share of their music is original, too—which gets us back to the whole dance thing. “I want them to leave our show tired,” Finestead says. “I want them to feel they just got a workout. It’s up-tempo, fun, happy, danceable music.”


So noted.


Work up a sweat with MooseKnuckle:
Nov. 18 at Little BIG Fest
Hotel Fort Des Moines
Doors: 5:30 pm
Bands begin: 6 pm
MooseKnuckle performs: 8 pm


The band is:
Eric Biase: drums
Garrett Schmid: guitar
Nathan Finestead: keys, vocals
Jason Kent: bass, vocals


About the name:
If you’re not familiar with the term, you’ll get the picture—complete with celebrity visuals—via your favorite search engine.