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Review: Dead Man's Switch, The Messengers, Maravich

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Maravich performs at Punk Rock Night.
Punk Rock Night
The Melody Inn
Saturday, June 9

This show was the second Punk Rock Night at the Melody Inn to endure the citywide smoking ban in Indianapolis. While I enjoyed the smoke-free air at the club, the normally packed crowd appeared considerably diminished. This did not bother those who came out in smaller numbers to enjoy a great night of live original music.

I arrived too late to see opening act, Misunderstood, and completely missed out on this great female fronted power punk trio from Richmond, Indiana that has the attitude and inspired influence from Joan Jett to Screeching Weasel. I hope to catch one of their upcoming Indianapolis dates this month.

The Messengers give it their all at the Melody Inn.

Second band on the bill, Maravich, came armed with a silver metallic Gibson SG and Fender P-bass guitars. Together with a precision rock drummer to fill out this Indianapolis trio's sound, they evoked the original emocore days of the 90s with music similar to Sunny Day Real State and Hum.

Singer Jim Rawlinson would repeatedly exclaim between the songs of their set with "We represent the fight against obesity!" jokingly before drifting into songs with tight musicianship and soaring distortion. Bass player, Jim Shaffer, held the backbone of the band with intricate and melodic rock riffs that weaved cohesively with drummer, Benjamin Hunt.

Dead Man's Switch were the headliners for the June 9th edition of Punk Rock Night.
  • Christina Carroll
  • Dead Man's Switch were the headliners for the June 9th edition of Punk Rock Night.

The Messengers from Cincinnati, Ohio came on third, and this four-piece female fronted punk band brought an energetic set of punk rock that recalled the glory years of The Avengers. Lead singer Shannon Wilson, traded her earlier days of sporting a spiked mohawk at performances for pig tails and hair clips, but still brought an empowering front woman vocal delivery.

She remarked between songs that the band was suffering different forms of minor illnesses while guitarist Don Hogle, chimed in, with comedic timing, that he felt fine. Their encore song would produce the evening's first mosh/slam dance with a handful of fans.

The final act, Dead Man's Switch, was the band's first appearance at Punk Rock Night. This five-piece supergroup consisted of local music scene legends, John Zeps on a Gibson Les Paul, Tony Reitz on a Fender Stratocaster, Bake Henry on a Fender P-bass and Tom Roosa on an orange/black drum set. Lead singer Ace One, brought a soulful brand of throaty vocals to the band's heavy assault that often flirted with elements of guitar driven shoegaze sounds.

After the band's first song, Roosa had destroyed his kick pedal and continued playing with a replacement. Several moments in their set list had the audience nodding their heads to the chordal dissonance interspersed with delayed pitched feedback drenched solos. At the end of their encore song, Roosa broke his replacement kick pedal to a flurry of guitar pedal feedback.

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