Jonathan Sanders' personal essay about climbing the ranks in Indy's karaoke scene,
plus a list of more than 60 places to karaoke in Indy
a few weeks ago. There's a billion (approximately) places to karaoke in Indy weekly, but tonight's show at the Hi-Fi is hands down the most exciting karaoke event happening in Indy this week, and we'll explain why in just five words: live band punk rock karaoke.
"We had a short period of time to learn a lot
of punk rock songs," Tony Beemer says. "We're ready now, for sure, but it was 37 punk rock songs ... and it was extremely hard. Even though we knew these songs very well, and we grew up with them, there's nobody singing, so that was a challenge."
The "we" in that statement is Beemer, Aaron Miller — who conceived the idea with Hi-Fi booker RJ Wall — and Francisco Valdez. They'll play those 37 songs tonight at the Hi-Fi, with 37 different singers.
"It's always a good time when you hear a band do a cover song that you know and love. I tend to get really excited when bands I like cover other bands I like," Miller says. "The Hi-Fi has been doing weekly karaoke with great success lately so I just wanted to try and expand on that idea with a live band and just do simple, fun, energetic punk rock classics that most people with a cursory knowledge of punk would know. It turns out it's not that original of an idea, haha, but I'm still optimistic that tonight will be a blast."
They picked songs they all knew, plus a few requests. Tonight, people can sign up to sing each punk rock classic with the trio. Doors open at 8 p.m.; show starts at 9 p.m.; cover is $5.
"These songs are all classics, for the most part, and a lot of them were instrumental in my introduction to punk at an early age," Miller says. "I bought Bad Brains, Descendants, and Black Flag tapes at a flea market when I was 12 with my mom and I had never heard anything like it. With tonight's karaoke, I basically wanted to capture that same energy that i remember feeling when i first heard 'Myage' or 'Banned in DC' or whatever."
The songs will be divided into six blocks. Beemer says Miller's idea is that, instead of making it like a traditional karaoke night with a lot of stops and starts as singers are brought up, that singers for each set would be gathered before their song is up. Then, all songs in that set will be performed straight through. A short break with follow, and then another set, and another. Etc.
"People can feel like they're in the band," Beemer says. "I think it's going to be really fun. ... I don't see it being a really serious thing, which is yet another great thing about punk rock. You don't take yourself too seriously."
As for other projects, all three are active in a variety of bands. Miller plays in Sacred Leather (demo below); they just wrapped up a few songs for a split release with Kvlthammer. Beemer plays in Dirtbike (with Jeb Lambert and John Zeps), Smokes (with a release pending), Bitch Charmer, and an untitled project with Nate Gonzalez. He also hosts a rock-centric dance party at the Hi-Fi called Midnight Donuts on Thursdays ("The main thing is to make sure it still feels like a basement party," he says).Valdez is in Year Older with Scotty Raychel.
And if you don't know the words? The guys will have something set up so you can see them if you need to, but don't worry too
much about it.
Remember: "Darby Crash from The Germs would sing half the lyrics, or not even a full song," Beemer says with a laugh.
Here's a list of the songs on deck tonight as posted by Miller, and a Spotify playlist, too. Show up early to sign up for your favorite.
Punk Rock Karaoke setlist:
Ramones - Blitzkrieg Bop
Sex Pistols - Holidays in the Sun
Black Flag - Rise Above
Agent Orange - Bloodstains
Minor Threat - Filler
Misfits - Hybrid Moments
Descendents - Suburban Home
Black Flag - Nervous Breakdown
Dead Boys - Sonic Reducer
Dead Kennedys - Kill the Poor
Adolescents - Amoeba
The Runaways - Cherry Bomb
The Stooges - I Wanna Be Your Dog
Ramones - Sheena Is a Punk Rocker
Descendents - Hope
Minor Threat - Minor Threat
Misfits - Attitude
Sex Pistols - Anarcy in the U.K.
Operation Ivy - Knowledge
Bikini Kill - Rebel Girl
Misfits - Teenagers From Mars
Germs - Lexicon Devil
Descendents - Myage
Jay Reatard - Blood Visions
Bad Brains - Banned in D.C.
NOFX - Linoleum
Bad Religion - Fuck Armageddon...This Is Hell
The Distillers - Seneca Falls
7 Seconds - Young Til I Die
Dead Kennedys - Holiday In Cambodia
Ramones - Rockaway Beach
Descendents - Bikeage
Cro-Mags - Hard Times
Bad Brains - Attitude
Misfits - I Turned Into A Martian
Misfits - Last Caress
Misfits - Where Eagles Dare
NUVO's been on a karaoke roll, lately. We published soon-to-be karaoke star (we're calling it)