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Review: Punk Rock Night (Jan. 22)

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Starting at around 10:30 p.m. January 22, The Melody Inn's weekly Punk Rock Night was the very definition of an intimate setting for the sounds of Elky Summers, Neon Love Life and John Rambo and the Vietnam War. See the Slideshow at the bottom of the post for photos from the night. (Beta Male was also scheduled to play, but cancelled prior to curtain time.)

The four-piece Elky Summers led the way with an organ-flavored rock blend that hailed from Fort Wayne.

"But please don't hold that against us," said lead singer Kay.

The all girl band got heads nodding right away. The sunshine from early sixties garage rock shined throughout their performance. By the end of their set, which incidentally was their best song, the crowd was warmed like an oven.

Neon Love Life took the stage for the first time at Punk Rock Night and proved why they're among the best live acts you can hope to see in Indianapolis. Neon Love Life opened for the Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band on the Vogue state last year and somehow managed to match the onstage intensity of that show. The all-girl four-piece rolled out one memorable, catchy rock 'n roll earworm after another. Days later and snippets of their many sure-to-be future hit singles still run through my head.

By the final song, no one member was still playing the same instrument with which they had started the performance. Former Peggy Sues member Ashley Plummer switched from guitar to drums, while "magic hands" drummer Tasha Blackman (who is also a massage therapist in Indianapolis) took over vocal duties. Bassist/vocalist Sharon Rickson and guitarist/vocalist Lindsey Manfreddi also switched their instruments.

John Rambo and the Vietnam War batted cleanup and proved more than up to challenge. There was much exotic vocal modulation to go around. Lead vocals were split between a telephone/loud speaker-like microphone and another right next to it featuring a clear echo effort. For the second time that night keyboards graced the stage and added an extra flavor to this otherwise standard drum/guitar/bass set up.

The band played tight, short songs, which along with the singing, recall early Talking Heads or Wall of Vodoo. As their name suggests, they aren't adverse to shocking pop-culture nomenclature.

"Is there any Bobby Knight fans here?" asked the lead singer. "If there's enough Bobby Knight fans in the house we're going to change our names to the Bobby Knightmares."

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