The words high, school, and band evoke mixed emotions when spoken together. Remember Marty McFly's high school band that judge Huey Lewis ultimately dismissed for being "too loud"? Yeah. That was awesome.
Aside from being too loud, high school bands very often share a tragic flaw: They suck. But high school bands are also in a unique position: They have a built-in fanbase (their classmates) and a youthful energy that few bands can manage after graduation day - that is, if they ever graduate. In Indianapolis, there are three high school bands that really stand out. Catch these guys before they graduate and go their separate ways.
I could write a description of Brain Damage that goes something like, "Straight-edge punk from the suburbs of Indiana." And some people might snicker. But you won't be laughing if you see Brain Damage live. Formed in mid-2008 as Jailbreak, the band made a name for itself by campaigning on the frontlines of the Central Indiana hardcore scene. In basements from Bloomington to Franklin to Indianapolis, these young guns managed to impress their jaded hardcore peers with their youthful D.C.-style hardcore-punk (think Minor Threat). They ditched Jailbreak in favor of Brain Damage, but they're still soldiering in the scene. While in Indianapolis, they usually play the 1511, so try to catch them there.
The Glory City Disasters
Started back in 2006 under the name The Future Teens, The Glory City Disasters have since become teens and have never looked back. While their earlier material took more from street punk and UK 82 (bands like The Unseen and GBH), they've lately come more under the influence of straight hardcore bands such as Black Flag and Modern Life Is War. While the band has gone through innumerable lineup changes, a few core members have kept things on track. Well known in the Piradical Productions circle (now centered at the ES Jungle), they are becoming mainstays in the local street-punk scene as well. GCD guitarist Decker C. compares his musical exploits to other extra-curricular activities. "The scene could be bigger," he notes, "but the people in it are all die-hards. I can't go to bars, so I really appreciate the all-ages shows that CCS and Pirad put on. I don't play any sports, so music is like my football. It's my life." Upcoming shows: Feb. 28 at the ES Jungle, 6151 N. Central Ave., opening for Zero Boys.
This duo - comprised of Cole Star and David Scofield - is quite the trip, as much Atom and His Package as they are M.I.A. Mixing goofball punk with cut-up dance music, Hitops leave many listeners cheering for more or scratching their heads. Having played only in basements and talent shows, the duo is far removed from the tough-guy hardcore scenes of Glory City Disasters and Brain Damage but their DIY ethics place them in the same rockin' boat. Scofield, the ringleader of the group, has noted the growth of the local scene. "I don't know if I would call it a resurgence," he said, "but there are a lot of young people getting involved with music. We have a great system here with a lot of great houses involved." As far as local bands go, the mighty Bolth holds a place in Scofield's youthful heart. "They're my favorite local band. I've seen them a bunch," he added. "I also like [Everthus] the Deadbeats - they're really fun - and from Bloomington, I really like Good Luck and anyone associated with Plan-It-X Records."