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Review: The Bonesetters, Chandelier Ballroom


The Bonesetters - SUBMITTED PHOTO

Unless you're somehow connected to Butler University, or live in the Butler-Tarkington area, or are a serious indie rock fan, you probably don't know about the Butler Coffeehouse concert series. Which is a shame, because last week you most-likely missed the chance to see two up-and-coming local acts, The Bonesetters and Chandelier Ballroom, for free (and with free coffee and sandwiches, just sayin').

Don't feel bad. I live just steps from Butler, I have friends who go to school there, and I still almost missed out on this awesome show. If there hadn't been an announcement scrawled in sidewalk chalk on Butler's quad, I'd have probably missed it altogether. As is, I turned up to see The Bonesetters and was pleasantly shocked to see Bloomington-based Chandelier Ballroom on the bill as well. It was kind of like turning up to the movie theater for a free movie and finding out there's an open bar.

Chandelier Ballroom plays some of the most advanced, psychedelic guitar rock you could hope to find these days, live or elsewhere. With skillful drumming, they use disco, reggae, and straight up rock beats, changing things up almost every song so that you never know what you're going to get. Add to that a grungy wall of guitars, the occasional math-rock riff on the synth or lead guitar, and Steve Elmlinger's impassioned sprit wail, and you've got an incredible formula. They manage to come off as fast, chaotic, and well-orchestrated at once. "Man on the Altar," from their self-titled EP is a personal favorite. Look for these guys to come out with a new album soon; they're also playing April 26 at the White Rabbit with Bears of Blue River.

Now, The Bonesetters. Before last week I wouldn't necessarily have grouped these two bands together, except that they're both young and prolific live performers rapidly making their mark on the Indy scene. But every time I see the Bonesetters they seem to unleash their alternative/grunge side a bit more. The first few times I saw them in concert they seemed a like a carefully instrumented, even slightly reined-in, folk rock band. But now, on some of their songs such as "Mama Prays," lead singer and guitarist Dan Snodgrass seems to really belt it out, pushing the songs to new heights. That song, incidentally, is a great example of how they can shift from pensive and poetic rock to outright grunge in the matter of a few beats, sliding into the raucous, bass-heavy "Maypole" just like they do on their album.

The Butler Coffeehouse series is now officially over for the school year, but you owe it to yourself to take a look at what they've got lined up for the Fall. In the meantime, both The Bonesetters and Chandelier Ballroom will be busy keeping indie rock fans in the area entertained, so you'll have plenty of chances to see them.

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