With the Dopamines/Banner Pilot show stealing the award for best live punk show in 2010, it is nice to report that that show was actually up against some stiff competition. Despite the turbulence surrounding a few venues in the first half of the year, the second half of the year showed Indianapolis at its best; providing a perfect mix of local and touring punk rock bands in energetic, yet varied settings. Here are some other highlights:
ABOUT THE FIRE. 9/3 @ The Melody Inn - This was the local music even of the year. About The Fire is probably the most beloved punk rock band in the city (sorry Zero Boys). Their abrupt break up in 2007 left many fans unsatisfied, so the band did two farewell shows this Summer to bring some closure to everything. A show at the ES Jungle was good, but there’s no denying that the songs ATF wrote were loud, fast, heavy drinking songs. The Mel erupted during their set with a sweaty jungle of a sing-a-long. While it sucks that ATF is gone for good, they certainly did go out with a bang.
STAR FUCKING HIPSTERS. 9/25 @ ES Jungle - I have always loved the Crack Rock Family. Chocking Victim and Leftover Crack are all-time favorites of mine. The newest crack-rock band, Star Fucking Hipsters, stopped by the ES Jungle in support of their second album, Never Rest In Peace, for a show of epic proportions. The NYC quintet rocked the ES Jungle with their angry mix of “bubblegum crust” and ska. Not only was the band awesome but the show itself made me wonder what the Indianapolis scene could be like if the ES Jungle utilized it’s space better and hosted more mid-level punk bands like SFH.
GASLIGHT ANTHEM. 9/21 @ The Vogue - September was a good month for punk rock in Indianapolis. New Jersey Boss-worshippers Gaslight Anthem finally stopped in town after spending the previous three years becoming one of the biggest names in American Punk. Their nostalgic, Americana-punk jams inspired the normally tame Vogue crowd to mosh a little bit! Frontman Brian Fallon won over the crowd with his charm and rugged good looks but the highlight of the set came when he led his band mates into an inspired cover of Tom Petty’s “American Girl”. It’s a shame that it took them this long to make it to Indianapolis.
GROWN UPS. 10/13 @ The Dojo - Grown Ups are one of the best bands in the state. Their emo-revival sound has turned heads across the country (and even a few over seas). At The Dojo with Delay this October, they wowed the crowd with their passionate, honest anthems of early adulthood. Even though their live show didn’t include any jumping or thrashing, they exuded an undeniable energy into the tiny Dojo.
BILLY BRAGG. 9/14 @ The Vogue - Yet another awesome September show was Billy Bragg's rare stop in the Circle City. On this tour, Bragg ditched the backing band and got, well, back to basics. Armed with just a guitar, Bragg charmed the pants off of the modest crowd. He played tons of old classics including my personal favorite, "Everywhere" from 1991's Don't Try This At Home. Not only was a real treat to see a legend like Bragg live, but his intimate, energetic set proved that unlike many of his peers, Mr. Bragg has not yet run out of steam.
Shows I was too broke to attend but were probably awesome as well: Devo, Gogol Bordello