Last Friday night, Birdy’s was packed to the gills with people who were attending IndyMusicScene.com’s Battle of Birdy’s. I came in as Thrive was finishing up a set of moribund hard-edged music that fell somewhere between Tool and Three Doors Down. Their sizable contingent of rabid fans was doing some kind of freaky line-dancing. It was like some kind of surreal Warhol movie moment you couldn’t make up. Thrive played just what the suburban drinkers liked to hear, a little aggressive for the guys and a little sappy/funky for the ladies. They won this particular installment of Birdy’s Battle in a landslide.
But Lafayette’s Moonshine Mason and the Rot Gut Gang were the only band on the bill worth paying attention to. They played a strong set of good old-fashioned country and western. All decked out in matching cowboy outfits, they engaged the crowd. Guitarist Dan Shaw sounded amazing on his Gibson, and the lead singer, Dustin Hopkins, looked like Cowboy Bob hopped up on high-balls at the local sale-barn. But he had a classic, booming voice that was perfect for the material. Their cover of Waylon’s “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line” was worth the terrifying agony of the rest of the night’s lineup. Of course, they didn’t advance to round three.