Broad Ripple Music Fest
Broad Ripple Village
October 13, 2012
(Editor's note: This event is too big for one reviewer to handle, so we sent two! Read Danielle Look's take here.)
I never imagined that an urban music event like Broad Ripple Music Festival could bloom here in Indianapolis. Spending last spring break in Austin at South By Southwest had exposed me to the appeal of this festival format, and I was hopeful for my first experience at an Indianapolis run at it. Attendees cruised in and out of the big, billowy white tents peppered throughout the heart of Broad Ripple, or posted up in bars to catch the live sounds. Sure, the spontaneous rain affected the attendance a bit, but those who were willingly to sacrifice their dry clothes for the sake of the groove were handsomely rewarded.
Sabbatical hosted one of 14 stages assembled for the festival. Equipped with their immense outdoor patio, the restaurant held several performances, one of which was The Old Truck Revival. This alcoholic-bluegrass duo strummed redneck tunes from their mandolin, guitar and upright bass. A far cry from the knee-slapping, boot-stomping style of bluegrass that many are familiar with, these musicians kept their music simple and gritty.
I moseyed on over to the Indy CD & Vinyl stage, where The Sad Sam Blues Band was belting out sultry jazz vocals when I walked in the door. From the back of the store, these ladies all appeared to be proper touring age; early twenties or so. However, as I approached the stage, I realized that these four girls had to be in their early teens. In fact, every one of them, except the male drummer, was a high school student from Bloomington. These young rockers not only had stage presence, but they seriously shredded both blues and jazz in a very veteran manner.
Over at the Rock Lobster the music swerved into the funky, rap-rock realm with bands like Elephant Quiz and Midwest Hype. Elephant Quiz knows how to meld their genres together so seamlessly that it’s easy to forget that the time isn’t sophomore year at IU Bloomington, and the place isn’t your neighbor’s musty basement house party. Later in the evening, when Midwest Hype took the stage, a serious conglomeration of excitement was brewing on Lobster’s back patio. Sweet Poison Victim, a motley crew of multifaceted musicians, beat djembes, strummed guitars, blared trombones and led an African style line dance to their eager crowd. By the summation of the boogie, it was time to waltz on over to the Monkey’s Tale to watch an unannounced performance by Verdant Vera.
For the first of their two sets, the latter being late-night, indie rock outfit Verdant Vera performed on the patio. The sonic space that they occupy runs the gamut from ethereal indie to solid classic rock. A cover of “Ten Years Gone,” which invoked both goose bumps and feelings of gratitude for such a masterful rendition, finished the first set. Taking off in the late-night hours, the second serving of Verdant Vera’s sound was far more psychedelic in persuasion than earlier, but in a terrific way. Each set from this six-piece group was personal, and powerful. A visit to the Connor’s stage was paid in between these two slots, to finally catch the highly discussed group Hotfox.
Connor’s tent was hot, muggy, and packed with obviously dedicated Hotfox fans. These guys drew in the largest audience I’d personally seen that night, and the hype was congruent with their performance. Their progressive indie rock accompanied by pretty flashing lights created the epitome of a true festival feel.
The 2012 Broad Ripple Music Festival offered not only a smattering of local and regional musical talent in a method that highlights both quality acts and venues. I really can’t wait until this time next year