Music » Music News

Soundcheck: Weekend edition


Cut Copy plays at the Vogue on Monday.
  • Cut Copy plays at the Vogue on Monday.

There's far too much for any one person to do this weekend; that's why we here at the NUVO have a team covering all the action this weekend, like those guys stationed at every corner of the Speedway for the race, covering all that's hidden from your view. So catch up on all the details here as they happen, but do try to hit up all you can. Here's our guide; if you're so inclined, check out the unabridged guide to the festival scene for more info.

Indy Jazz Fest, Sept. 14-17

There are two can’t-miss nights left for the Indy Jazz Fest. First up is Freda Payne’s tribute to Ella Fitzgerald (Sept. 16 at Madame Walker Theatre); expect a moving and raucous show in one of city’s best places to see jazz. And it all wraps up Sept. 17 at Broad Ripple’s Opti-Park with a three-stage outdoor showcase headlined by George Benson, Trombone Shorty, Spyro Gyra and Yellowjackets. That’s not to mention the Indy Jazz Fest Band’s free concert Sept. 15 at UIndy. Sept. 16, 7 p.m., $25-55; Sept. 17, 1 p.m., $30-75. Package tickets and VIP options available; check

Indy’s Irish Festival, Sept. 16-18 at Military Park
Music certainly isn’t the only thing going on at Indy’s Irish Fest — check out the hurling tournament, kilted run, sheep shearing demos and bountiful harvest of meats, cheeses and beers. But the music is pretty darn good as well, in both rock (The Elders, Mickey Finns) and acoustic varieties (notably, the family band McPeake, whose bloodline in the Irish music scene run back a century). Sept. 16, 4:30-11 p.m.; Sept. 17, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sept. 18, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Baseline admission: $13 adult, $10 student, free for 13 and under. Advance discounts and early-bird specials available; check

Tattoo City Underground, Sept. 16-18 at Primo Banquet Center
And here’s another event that’s not solely about the music, but rest assured that Indy’s first tattoo convention is more than a decade has a pretty good lineup, headlined by Vancouver-born first-wave hardcore band DOA. Locals are well-represented: MG and the Gas City Three, JJ Pearson and the Insignificant Others and The Involuntarys are among the pickings. Sept. 16 and 17, 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Sept. 18, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. $10 one-day pass, $25 three-day pass.


Eliot Lipp at The Mousetrap
Once again, IndyMojo brings in the good stuff. This time, it’s Eliot Lipp, a bi-coastal IDM DJ who was channeling UK post-punk before the indie kids got into it. He’s a fixture on the festival scene; Movement, Electric Forest and Wakarusa were all on his itinerary this year. With support from Samples, Shy Guy Says and Hollow Point. The most star-studded edition of Mousetrap electronic night Altered Thurzdaze. 9 p.m., $5, 21+.


Ember Swift at Irving Theatre
Once upon a time, Ember Swift was just another Canadian folk singer, distinguished, perhaps, by a multi-genre approach that incorporated funk, Latin and Indigo Girls-style singer-songwriting. But then she moved to Beijing. Swift’s last couple records bear the mark of Chinese music, incorporating the Mandarin language and pentatonic Asian scale into the folk-jazz style which she had already established. 8 p.m., $12 advance (, $15 door, all-ages.

Fishtank Ensemble, Tonos Triad at White Rabbit Cabaret
An extraordinary, polyglottic group performing the folk musics of the world on violin, guitar and bass, with particular focus on Roma music. The LA-based Fishtank Ensemble's first gig was comprised entirely of Romanian folk music; they’ve since expanded their sound to gesture towards hot jazz and flamenco. Instrumentation includes violin, bass, guitar, trombone, accordion, singing saw. With Tonos Triad, a similarly-adventurous acoustic trio. 8 p.m., $10, 21+.

Earl Scruggs at Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts
The night before a country legend drops by, one of the reigning kings of bluegrass and probably the reigning king of the banjo, Earl Scruggs, will drop by the acoustically-friendly confines of the Palladium. Scruggs’s three-finger picking style, which he didn’t quite invent, has come to be named for him; even those who prefer to pick by a different method will testify to Scrugg’s greatness: Bela Fleck and Ricky Skaggs, among others. 8 p.m., $15-100, all-ages.


Playing for Change Day on Mass Ave
When Playing for Change started out, it was about recognizing the talent and power of street musicians; you may have seen the video that launched it all, of street performers from around the world singing “Stand By Me.” Now, the video has become a movement. Saturday’s Playing for Change Day will see musicians worldwide banding together to raise money for music education, often by playing busker-style on the streets of their cities. For more about how Playing for Change came to Indy, check out this interview with event organizer Philadelphia Phil. 9 a.m.-8 p.m. on Mass Ave at the Art Bank and Chatterbox, and outside of Starbucks and Global Gifts.

Fiesta Indianapolis at the American Legion Mall
The largest Latino festival in the state — with a draw of over 30,000 persons, according to event organizer La Plaza — heats up as the night goes on, hosting bands from throughout the Midwest on its main stage. We’ll be listening to Direct Contact, a fast-paced, aggressive Latin jazz trio and Gueroloco, the reggaeton emcee who’s taken home several Chicago Music Awards. And keep in mind this is one of your few free options for the week. 12 p.m.-11 a.m., free.

CATARACTS Music Festival in Fountain Square

A showcase for experimental and indie music, presented in four houses in the Fountain Square area, each of them given clever names (Skull Manor, Jasona Beach, Debi’s Palace of Noise & Laundromat and Dave Cave). While CATARACTS will be a great opportunity to hear something new and, hopefully, provocative, there are some sure bets: DMA, Vacation Club, The Kemps, Apache Dropout, Marmoset, Christian Taylor & Homeschool, Learner Dancer. 12-10 p.m. at four homes on Morris Street in Fountain Square (927, 934, 945 and 951 E. Morris St.), $10, all-ages.

George Jones at Old National Murat Centre
If I need to tell you about George Jones, you’re probably not paying attention, or you’ve got an axe to grind against country. And while the 80-year-old may end up touring till he’s 110, this could well be one of the last chances to see him in a full-night concert setting. For 20 or 30 years, he’s been called the greatest living country singer; he and Merle Haggard, with whom he’s been known to collaborate, are perhaps alone at the top of that pantheon. 7:30 p.m., $25-55 (plus fees), all-ages.

Oranje, Sept. 17,

One of our city’s best party-type experiences is a combination art show, concert and happening, featuring a solid lineup tending towards rock, hip-hop and EDM. You can’t go wrong with any familiar faces on the bill: Neon Love Life, Oreo Jones, Jackola, Taylor Norris, Kyle Long, Kodama. And we’re titillated by some newcomers, notably ‘Verse, an electro-pop project by Lauren Moore and El Carnicero, and Chindi, a new band fronted by David Barajas and Josh Silbert. 8 p.m., $20, 21+.


Cut Copy, Washed Out at The Vogue
The guys in Cut Copy don’t stint on their beats, which borrow from disco, house and New Wave, but they also find room for a chorus and a hook, offering more in the way of melody than some of their chillier compatriots. It’s all perfectly balanced, perfectly catchy and perfect for dancing; less sardonic than LCD Soundsystem, but just as smart. With the chillwave of Washed Out and the art-funk of Midnight Magic. 7 p.m., $25 advance, $27 door, 21+.


Yuval Ron Ensemble at Arthur M. Glick JCC
Yuval Ron, whose work, and we’ll take it from the well-spoken press release, “endeavors to alleviate national, racial, religious and cultural divides by uniting music and dance of the opposing people of the Middle East,” returns to town with his ensemble this week, presenting programs for several audiences. A uniquely cross-cultural experience, earnest in just the right ways — and above all, a presentation of mystical, sometimes ecstatic music with a respect for all traditions and without religious strictures. 7 p.m.; $8 JCC members, $12 non-members, $6 under 13; all-ages.

Erasure at The Vogue
It would’ve been a longshot to bet on Erasure coming to town, but here they are, the long-lived Depeche Mode offshoot, fronted by the bizarre, dark and theatrical Andy Bell, who — as one of the first openly gay performers in pop music — has long told listeners every detail of his sometimes sordid personal life (or has made those details sordid to suit the band’s vibe). Their first album in more than four years, Tomorrow’s World, will drop in October. 8 p.m., $32 (plus fees), 21+.


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