MallaPalooza putting unique spin on indoor concerts

Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa–Sometimes, it only takes a bit of reinvention to create something new out of something retro. After the success of MuscaPalooza along the Muscatine riverfront in 2021, organizer Chad Bishop wanted to bring more original live music events to Muscatine. Because spring weather often proves fickle, he started looking for an indoor venue with lots of unobstructed space where bands and fans could comfortably fit. Thinking back to the 1987 mall concerts performed by then teen singer Tiffany, he got an idea–what if MuscaPalooza had a related event in the Muscatine Mall? This brainchild grew into the playfully named MallaPalooza, which will take place April 23 inside the Muscatine Mall at 1903 Park Avenue in Muscatine.

A remarkably good venue for a large event, Bishop found the Muscatine Mall checked the boxes for all the things he needed for a concert space. He remarked: “it just works. It’s 40 feet wide, has 14-foot ceilings, it even has trees.” With so much room, Bishop considers the space to have the feel of an outdoor concert without the weather concerns that come with them. Bishop also hopes that MallaPalooza will encourage others to find ways to use currently vacant space in the mall for various events and creative endeavors.

Starting at 6 p.m., after the stores inside the mall have closed, four bands will perform in front of the former Plaza Theater. Music lovers can enjoy performances by Eugene Levy, a Muscatine band that recently won the Battle of the Bands QC; Common Choir, which features one musician with Muscatine ties, 5 AM, and Manhattan Blonde. Each band will perform their own original songs, which Bishop described as having a pop punk and alternative rock sound, making them stand out from many of the other music offerings Muscatine has.

A large video screen will complement the performances, giving the show a unique and more professional look. Bishop elaborated, “I just have my fun giving them the stage they deserve.”

Throughout the evening, concert goers can enjoy food from several restaurants located along the outside of the Muscatine Mall, including Chicharo’s Mexican Grill, Diamond Dave’s, Jimmy John’s, and Osaka. Adults ages 21 and up who purchase a VIP wristband may bring their own beer, relax in the greenroom reserved for bands and their entourages, and enjoy complimentary snacks and soft drinks as well. Bishop expects performances to wrap up around 10 p.m., giving both the bands and concert goers the opportunity to enjoy other live music and nightlife going on in downtown Muscatine.

A new spin on both music festivals and indoor concerts, Bishop hopes MallaPalooza will draw a crowd of at least 200 people. Tickets have already gone on sale online, and concert goers may purchase them for $10, as well as $20 VIP wristbands, through MallaPalooza’s website. Anyone who would prefer to buy tickets at the door may do so using cash, credit cards, or contactless payment options.

As people start making their weekend plans, Bishop encourages them to come to MallaPalooza to take in, “unique bands and video in a retro setting.” With all the makings of a fun night, he assures attendees, “we’ll have a blast.”

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