It's the eighth year that the Harrison Center for the Arts has hosted the Independent Music + Art Festival, a free celebration of and exhibition space for artists who may fall outside of the mainstream, who may not have the money for traditional art fairs or who just want to give back to the community (especially to teetotalers and the under 21) by playing a free afternoon festival. Two adjacent stages will trade bands throughout the day, nestled between sidewalks full of art that ranges from the knowingly outsider to the, uh, just plain eccentric. NUVO's Laura Mathews spoke to four musical acts performing Saturday; flip to page 13 for related events.
Indianapolis band God Made Robots
describe their music as "experimental art rock" inspired by the low-fi (Guided by Voices) and many-layered (The Flaming Lips).
"We love getting together and experimenting and magically it all pops out," bass player S. Jane Mills said. Although guitarist Brian Peterson sings most of the lead vocals, Mills' voice brings a harmonic completeness to the band's sound. While this is her first time performing at IMAF, bandmates Peterson and Randee Eimer have played in the festival with a former band. "We're excited; it's a great way to listen to great local music," Mills said.
Kings of Tragedy
, a hip-hop duo composed of performers MC Till and Wonder Brown, try to capture the fun feeling of '90s East Coast hip-hop with a sound largely influenced by Native Son and A Tribe Called Quest.
"There's only a handful of artists that are able to be selected so that's always exciting and encouraging to be selected," MC Till said. "We feel like it's a big responsibility any time you get on stage." He says that their music is about finding joy in the midst of your troubles as well as having the freedom to express yourself how you want. "We try to kinda not worry about if people will like the music as much and just try to create what we think is good."
The piano-driven sound of singer-songwriter Sarah Scharbrough
is influenced by both jazz and classical. Scharbrough, who has been a musician since shortly after birth, said the focus of her band's latest album is finding common ground with the people around you.
"In our culture everything seems to point to our differences," she said. "A lot of our songs have to do with finding the ways that we are alike with other people."
While Win With Willard
could be called a "garden-variety melodic indie rock" band, according to band member Evan Hock, their music has been influenced both by Americana and the "hookiness of '60s folk music."
"We're excited about making an event of it," Hock said. "We're so used to playing in smoky bars where people don't always listen to you. People that come to this are interested in the music."
Performing at IMAF
11 a.m. God Made Robots
11:35 Sarah Scharbrough
12:10 p.m. Resting Rooster
12:45 p.m. Lord of the Yum Yum
1:20 Win with Willard
2:30 T.J. Reynolds
3:05 Highway Magic
3:40 Ebenezer and the Hymnasters
4:15 Rob Dixon and Triology
4:50 Kings of Tragedy
6 Mandy Marie and the Cool Hand Lukes
6:35 Grandpall Jookabox
7:10 Creepin' Charley and the Boneyard Orchestra
8:35 Stereo Deluxe