The neatly furbished interior of Russian Recordings in Bloomington was morphed into garage punk palace Thursday night as Bomb the Music Industry, a DIY outfit from Brooklyn, played for an enthusiastic audience comprised of Hoosier natives, and others who drove over seven hours to see the band plow through a 13-song set of angst, sweat and trombones.
Much of BTMI's music centers around a childlike fear of growing up, or the joys and pitfalls of being an outcast. But the band rarely come off as whiny or mopey thanks to singer Jeff Rosenstock's quick-footed melodies and the sheer joy he demonstrates on stage. Between songs with titles such as "The Shit That You Hate" and "Showerbeers," the band often bantered back and forth and made jokes laced with profanity and self-degradation.
But while the music played, humor took a back seat to punk rock laced with ska and riddled with hooks. Half of the band's set featured songs from their latest album Vacation, a more mature record which swaps being spastic and short for being more focused and mature.
The band found their stride in the middle of their set with "Hurricane Waves," a Weezer-esque song concerned with the joy of surfing, and "Vocal Coach," a pop-ska jingle where Rosenstock hopes to regain the his confidence by improving his singing abilities. Other standouts from the night included "25!," a propulsive blast of noise about having no prospects, no job and no insurance that had the crowd moshing and "439 Ruth," a tune so catchy and well-beloved by the audience the band let them take over vocal duties for half of the song.
Yet for all the paranoia to be found in some of BTMI's songs, the set-closing "Syke! Life is Awesome," full of vocal adlibs and a chorus made up entirely of nonsense words, proved that Rosenstock and company can have as much fun singing about enjoying life every bit as much as they do finding errors in it. No jokes here, just zest for music.
Opening bands included Point Dume, a surf-rock trio who performed a cover of Nirvana's "Come As You Are" (to coincide with the 18th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's passing). The band's sound was lush and lively, and had the crowd gently swaying from side to side at times during their brief set.
Traveling, a foursome including Ginger Alford of the band Good Luck, were clunky if melodic and fun. Many of their songs featured melodies which owed a heavy debt to Blink-182, and a less frenetic sound similar to that of BTMI, who have to have felt some kind of joy as they watched their influence manifest itself right in front of their eyes.
[Music] Punk + Metal, Festivals + Parties
[A+E] Festivals + Parties, Beer + Wine, DJs + Dancing