Review: Mean Jeans, Hollywood, John Rambo 

Mean Jeans, Hollywood and John Rambo and The Vietnam Wars
Melody Inn
Monday, June 11
click to enlarge Mean Jeans
  • Mean Jeans

Monday nights are starting to make weekends feel like weeknights when it comes to live original music in Indianapolis. What was first shrugged off by Dan O'Connell of Rev It Up Promotions as "a typical Monday night show" turned into a surprised shock at the end of the evening with the audience swelling in numbers throughout the performances.

If anyone had any worries about the smoke ban keeping crowds away from the bars, the Melody Inn enjoyed a packed evening of great garage punk, and smokers took advantage of the night club's open air patio in the rear.

Opening local act, John Rambo and The Vietnam Wars hit the stage with a head count of sixty bar patrons occupying every seat and booth in the room while people kept flooding through the door. The line up of The Vietnam Wars seemed different this evening without long time bass player, Carrie Zuckerman, and keyboardist Ian Donahue.

Filling out the missing lineup included Jordan Allen on bass guitar and keyboards, and Brandon Beav on a killer retro Wilshire guitar that added the right garage rock texture to an otherwise tight performance.

Lead singer and guitarist, Tony Beemer lead the group with full-blown rave up garage punk riffs and vocals that varied stylistically from Gibby Haynes to Joe Strummer. The band's final song drifted into a space rock jam, possibly in a mocking tribute to Roger Waters, who was performing The Wall on the same evening downtown.

"We're Hollywood, from Baltimore!" exclaimed the lead singer of Baltimore garage punk band, Hollywood. This four-piece band came ready to rock Indianapolis with a Fender Jaguar guitar and a red Fender P-bass.

Hollywood's brand of garage rock was a bit slower and heavier than John Rambo & the Vietnam Wars and combined elements of the Circle Jerks with The Stooges. The lead singer had all the rock kicks and floor crawling of a front man while channeling his inner Iggy Pop to the growing crowd of garage rock fans filling the club.

The headliner of the evening, Mean Jeans from Portland, Oregon, hit the stage to a packed house with drunken garage rock fans elbowing for a spot to watch the band. This three-piece, armed with a black Fender Jazz bass and a silver sparkle Squier Jazzmaster, went straight into an upbeat punk frenzy with the crowd moshing and slamming into each other in front of the stage.

The band played fist-raising anthems with singalong choruses while the crowd was busy soaking themselves in beer from shook up cans. Singer/guitarist Billy Jeans, repeatedly asked for Jäger shots in between songs while drummer, Jeans Wilder had some technical difficulties with his borrowed drum kit.

Mean Jeans ended their set by playing the intro to "Zombie" by the Cranberries before rocking into "Party Animal," which Billy Jeans announced was the first song they ever wrote.

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