NUVO correspondent Nora Spitznogle walked Saturday's Mini Marathon with a notepad, scribbling notes about the 40 bands playing along the 13.1-mile route.
The combination of a record number of entrants and construction at the start line of the 500 Festival Mini Marathon caused a bottleneck. The elite runners took off at 7:33, while those of us at the back of the pack crossed the start line at 8:07. Organizers kept us entertained with inspirational music ("We Are Family," "YMCA") and beach balls. By the time we got to the first band, they'd already been playing for 45 minutes.
Crossroads of America Scout Band
: marching band music - the perfect way to start the race. Yankee Doodle Dandy - off we go!
: The crowd was still bunched up at this point. They sounded vaguely Pearl Jam-ish as I elbowed my way by.
: solo singer/songwriter playing "Love is All (Shine Your Light On Me)" as I walked by. Yes, shine some light on us; it's a damp 47 degrees.
Tumbling Dice Band
: bluesy rock and a lovely guitar solo as I rounded the corner to the end of Mile 1.
: Bad timing; they were between songs when I passed by.
: The funky duo sang encouraging words.
: big pop fun. They were singing the Romantics' "That's What I Like About You." A woman walking next to me said, "I wish we could put them on wheels and take them with us." Agreed!
West Indian Association of Indianapolis
: steel drums and danceable Caribbean fun. And when I say dance, I mean walk.
: A Jimmy Buffet song always quickens my pace.
At this point, I was at the 1.5-mile marker, where the elite runners lapped us on the way to the finish line. They were only 1.5 miles from the finish. Sigh.
: free style rapping, "Pass that light, make a right, Naptown, Naptown," as I passed by.
: I really liked them, catching a whiff of the Jayhawks. They were playing in a lot next to an abandoned house and what has to be the last pay phone in the city.
Above the Garage
: big ska fun on a concrete slab.
: good-looking equipment. They were on a break when I passed by.
: a high-spirited rendition of "Jealous Again." God bless the neighbors.
: I think they were playing the Modest Mouse song "I've Got It All," but I might be way off base.
: my favorite kind of rock band: talented high-school looking kids with their moms sporting the band T-shirt and cheering them on. A great version of Neil Young's "Like A Hurricane."
Gas Station Bandits
: tuning guitars and saying encouraging words when I walked by. From their tie-dye banner, I'm guessing they are a jam band.
: looked and sounded like the best of indie rock.
Circle City Cloggers
: These folks are badass; they clog for four hours! They were clogging to "Shake Your Groove Thing" as I passed.
: I loved their location, right smack in front of the Super Tortilla. Guitar-driven rock and an enchilada, please.
: hard rock goodness on a sidewalk on Main Street.
: the most accurately named act along the route. She played trippy, mystical music. I don't know if the guy standing a few yards away from her beating on the Native American drum was with her. If not, he should be.
: playing Mellencamp's "Lonely Old Night." Looked like they'd be a fun group to drink beer with.
: Florida-esque songs overshadowed by the rock sound of Never Eleanor just half a block away.
Sign On The Door
: playing the Barenaked Ladies song "The Old Apartment," which suited them well.
Indiana Dancers Association
: square dancing in the parking lot of Pit Stop Liquors. Fabulous! The out-of-town runners are still talking about this, guaranteed.
: If I'm not mistaken, these guys were dressed as Elvis and Meatloaf and signing their songs. Or I could have been dehydrated.
At this point we were funneled into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a 2.5-mile lap around the famed oval. Bagpipers in the tunnel created an echoing, mournful sound. There were several cheer squads around the track, but otherwise we trudged along to piped-in music and watched the award ceremonies on the big televisions. We weren't even half-way through and the winners were already taking their medals and heading back to wherever freakishly fast people come from.
: Everything I hoped a band named Razorback Llama would be. Rock with your, um, well, llamas out.
Scecina Memorial High School Rock Bands
: talented kids playing "Hey Jude."
Common Ground Urban Line Dancing Group
: as advertised: urban line dancing. Which didn't look so different from not-so-urban line dancing.
: nice drum solo to quicken the step.
: solo singer-songwriter. A group of people next to me cheered when they saw him and I can see why he's a crowd favorite.
: You could hear them before you could see them. I didn't expect to see guys in baseball caps and bucket hats playing Billy Idol's "White Wedding."
: packing up as I walked by. I was happy that they were playing songs through their sound system.
: You could hear Chad Mills playing a block away. A bunch of us shouted along to "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" as we hobbled toward Mile 10. I veered off course for a minute to chat with Chad's lovely family and solicit a beer. No luck. Jogged back to the crowd with Chad playing "The Gambler."
: A solo singer-songwriter who belongs in a coffeehouse, although she sounded great playing on a crumbly corner in front of an empty lot.
: looked like there was a father/son combination in the band playing Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Gimme Three Steps." If only it was just three more steps, not 3 more miles.
Fire Station No. 1
: Not a musical act, but the firemen sitting outside made me stand up straight and walk with a little pep. Thanks guys!
West Indian Association of Indianapolis
: The course route took us back by them. They sounded and looked as fresh as they did three and a half hours before. Me, not so much.
DJ Mama Mia
: She had a lot of energy, encouraging us and dancing as we walked by. If she was wasn't so darn nice, it would have been annoying at mile 12.7. Just half a mile to go!
Three hours, 42 minutes, five cups of water, three Gatorades and 40 musical acts later I crossed the finish line. And they were out of bananas. So I had a beer instead and listened to The Wright Brothers. Wonderful harmonies and great timing. It was a nice way to wrap up the musical adventure. I hauled myself the 12 blocks back to my truck and drove home in silence.
Big thanks to all of the bands, cheerleaders, kids high-fiving, people ringing cowbells, folks in bathrobes, guys drinking 40s outside of liquor stores and volunteers. The walk wouldn't be possible without you. Seriously.