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Soundcheck: Weekend edition



We lead off this weekend edition of Soundcheck with a word about the Purple Hat Project. This March, Indianapolis Business Journal chairman Mickey Maurer modestly proposed in one of his columns that the state should enact “legislation requiring immigrants and homosexuals to wear purple hats” so that Maurer’s “fellow Tea Party Republicans” might identify such outsiders on sight. Inspired by the satire, the folks behind what came to be known as the Purple Hat Project took Maurer’s suggestion at its word, asking that all those opposed to homophobic legislation working its way through the Statehouse wear purple hats, or at least some purple item of clothing, in solidarity. Friday night, the organization will host three concerts at local nightclubs — Birdy’s, Radio Radio and Talbott Street — with a $2 discount off the cover at each show for those wearing purple. In the words of the Purple Hat Project’s press release, it’s all in the attempt to “simply showcase the many different iterations of love,” emphasizing “what unifies our community” in the face of others with more divisive aims.

All concerts Friday, June 3. At Birdy’s: Breakdown Kings, Just Plain Paul, The Odyssey Favor; At Radio Radio: Beta Male, Jascha, Win with Willard; At Talbott Street Nightclub: The Born Again Floozies, Jessie and Amy, Angel Burlesque


Arrington de Dionyso’s Malaikat dan Singa (Angels and Lions) at Indianapolis Museum of Art
Undoubtedly the finest bass clarinetist in the art-rock world, Arrington de Dionyso finally left behind the boring old English language a couple years back when he launched his new band, Malaikat dan Singa, whose repertoire features lyrics written and performed in Indonesian. Not that Indonesian is a native language for Dionyso, who picked it up in the attempt to woo an Indonesian object of affection (a ploy which was, according to a recent interview, altogether successful). Musically, Malaikat dan Singa seems to borrow from Asian traditions — there’s a raga feel to some tracks, not to mention Dionyso’s capacity for throat singing and the odd gamelan — while maintaining the trance-punk elements associated with his old band Old Time Relijun, namely four-to-the-floor, sometimes danceable beats and an attentiveness to the low end (especially that droning bass clarinet). Dionyso has done right by Indonesia, if the comments to a music video on YouTube are any indication; one listener notes, approvingly, “Your ungrammatical Indonesian makes it even sound more poetic and deep.” 7 p.m., $7 IMA members, $10 public, all-ages.

Belladonna, Threat Level, Eyes on Fire, Betrayed with a Kiss at Rock House Café
Once again, the Rock House Café brings in an almost-fossil from the world of hard rock. Joey Belladonna fronted thrash metal band Anthrax during their golden years (notably on 1985's Spreading the Disease and 1987’s Among the Living), then formed his singly-named solo project after being fired from the group in 1992. The solo project is still a going concern, though Belladonna rejoined Anthrax in 2004 and is slated to sing on the band’s upcoming album, Worship Music. With local metal from Threat Level, Eyes on Fire and Betrayed by a Kiss. 7 p.m., $15, 21+.

Divine Divas of Jazz at The Cabaret at the Columbia Club

That’s not just alliteration, mind you; all those who show up Thursday night to the Cabaret will be blessed with infinite love and grace, bestowed by a smattering of the state’s jazz goddesses, demigodesses and deities, all of them members of a new affinity group for female musicians, ISIS of Indiana, named, naturally, after an Egyptian goddess. Here’s the lineup: vocalists Jackie Allen, Shannon Forsell, Heather Ramsey and Carol Ryhne-Harris; bassist Jennifer Kirk; pianist Monika Herzig; drummer Jordan West; and saxophonist Chelsea Niccum. 8 p.m., $15-$35, all-ages.

Brett Dennen, Dawes at The Vogue
A fresh-faced redhead with the cheek to call his latest album Loverboy, Dennen has begun to chart his own course after borrowing from some known quantities: Dylan, for carefully-wrought, long-winded lyrics that tackle big topics; Dave Matthews, for his easy-going feel informed by African pop; Nick Drake, for his slight, sometimes feminine voice. With folk rockers Dawes. 8 p.m., $18 (plus fees), 21+.

T-Model Ford, Gravel Road at Radio Radio
There aren’t many blues artists in their nineties who still tour. T-Model Ford is one of the few. The Mississippi-based guitarist/singer came to fame as one of the artists signed to the Fat Possum label in the ‘90s, along with R.L. Burnside and Paul “Wine” Jones. Ford made his recording debut at age 75 with Pee-Wee Get My Gun. His latest release Taledragger (Alive) features Ford backed up by a full band Gravel Road (a first for Ford, who usually performs solo or with only a drummer), but continues Ford’s tradition of raw, dirty country blues. 8 p.m., $10 advance (, $12 door, 21+.

Freemasons at Talbott Street Nightclub
The guys behind the Brighton, England-based production outfit Freemasons — Russell Small and James Wiltshire — made their name with smart, respectful remixes of pop and R&B singles. They take a less is more approach, leaving the structure and chorus of a given track intact while giving it that extra something-something — a hook, a little more bass — to get it ready it for the dance floor. Their work for contemporary pop artists such as Kelly Rowland, Beyonce, Solange Knowles and Katherine Ellis has landed on the charts, but Freemasons also remix stuff by other producers (Deadmau5, Calvin Harris, Justice) and well-worn classics (The Eurythmics’ “Here Comes the Rain Again,” notably). 9 p.m., $12 advance (plus fees,, $15 door, 21+.


Heart and Soul Jam at The Vogue

Devon Ashley earned a reputation as one of this town’s most adaptable drummers, bringing an R&B feel to straight-up rock bands (The Pieces, tour drummer for The Lemonheads) and a rock feel to R&B and funk settings (most recently SouLove Universe). But his body hasn’t been quite as compliant: Ashley has undergone two surgeries “due to complications stemming from undetected high blood pressure,” according to a press release for the Heart and Soul Jam, a benefit show for Ashley this Friday at The Vogue. The Jam aims to raise funds to offset Ashley’s medical fees as well as educate about the risks associate with high blood pressure, with free blood pressure screenings available during the events. As for the music, featured performers include Jay Jones, a singer-songwriter who works a day (or rather, night) job as a pianist at Howl at the Moon, hip-hop collective The Philosophy, soul vocalist Bashiri Asad and DJ Topspeed on the decks. 8 p.m., $10 donation, 21+.

Boney James, Norman Brown, Richard Elliott at Murat Theatre at Old National Centre

With long, kinky locks and a goatee itching to migrate up his chin and become a soul patch, Boney James looks the part of a smooth jazz musician, although his nickname, given to him by a keyboardist mocking his skinny build, would be more appropriate for a raunchy bluesman working the chitlin’ circuit. Regardless, James is a step up from Kenny G, with a more soulful sound and more interest in improvising than his much-maligned compatriot. 8:30 p.m., $40-$50 (plus fees), all-ages.

Fez-Fest ’11 at Melody Inn
Friday night is all about hats. Punk band The Dockers, who have made the fez a viable fashion accessory for non-Shriners, have hosted a Fez-Fest for a few years running — and this year, it happens to fall on the same night as the Purple Hat Project’s big Paint the Town Purple initiative. Extra love, then, for those wearing purple fezes. With modern rockers Vinyl Shriner, the sitar-driven Playboy Psychonauts and Chicago’s Verona Red. 9 p.m., $5, 21+.


Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb at The Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts
Singer Glen Campbell and songwriter Jimmy Webb, who together worked up some classics of the AM rock songbook ("By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Wichita Lineman," "Galveston"), stop by the Palladium for a reunion concert. 8 p.m., sold out, all-ages.

Ben Sollee, Jonathan Scales Fourchestra at White Rabbit Cabaret
9 p.m., $12 advance (, $15 door, 21+.
Ben Sollee is, by most accounts, an unconventional dude. For one, he’s typically labeled a folk artist, but his chief instrument is the cello. He was drawn to its low, scratchy sound when his third-grade teacher brought it into the classroom one day. He’s also known for taking political stances, particularly ones that relate to his native state. Last year Sollee teamed with fellow Kentucky musicians Daniel Martin Moore and My Morning Jacket’s Jim James to work up Dear Companion, an album decrying the practice of mountaintop removal mining. For more, check out Wade Coggeshall's profile of Sollee.


Hip-Hop for Hope festival at Northside Knights of Columbus
An all-day fundraiser for the Mary Kay Foundation presented as part of National Cancer Survivors Day, the Hip-Hop for Hope festival has secured one name-brand headliner (Del the Funky Homosapien) as well as just about half the local hip-hop scene. Del rose fast in the early ‘90s, writing lyrics for his cousin Ice Cube before going out on his own. He hit on fallow ground in the latter part of the decade, and then revitalized his career with some key collaborations, one with the Dan Nakamura and Kid Koala (Deltron 3030), another with the Gorillaz on their debut album. With locals Bukue One, C-Rayz Walz, The Pro Forms, Marc Versus, Black Eddie, Plot, Freddie Bunz, Jaecyn Bayne, The Feeblez, Son of Thoughts, Breakdown Kings. A BMX showcase precedes the concert. Del the Funky Homosapien will appear at LUNA Music, 5202 N. College Ave, from 6 to 7 p.m. Sunday. 5 p.m., $20 advance (, $25 door, all-ages.


Alejandro Escovedo and the Sensitive Boys at The Vogue
Word on the street had it that last year’s Street Songs of Love was Alejandro Escovedo’s best album yet. The New York Times had this to say: “In another, less fragmented pop era, this would be the album of thoughtful but radio-ready love songs to finally get Mr. Escovedo the big national audience he deserves.” Escovedo and his backing band, The Sensitive Boys, worked up the songs during a two-month residency at the Continental Club in their hometown of Austin, Texas. Here’s Escovedo on that experience, from a profile by Lynne Margolis: “It just gave us an immense amount of confidence. When we were recording, everything was in place. It was so easy to play those songs.” 8 p.m., $17 (plus fees), 21+.


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