Behind the glitz and glamor of a traditional high school prom lies the hassle of finding an expensive outfit, spending a day getting ready for the dance, renting a limo and the pressure of finding a date to accompany you for the evening. The annual all-ages Punk Rock Prom, hosted by Piradical Productions, trades in all of that for a homemade goodwill dress and a venue made colorful and new with the highest quality of 99 cent balloons and streamers straight from the Wal-Mart party aisle.
For one night, the Hoosier Dome was transformed into a new kind of dance hall with the addition of chalk murals - one behind the stage and one on the garage door in the alley beside the building for a photo booth. Pink and black streamers dangled from the ceiling and balloons littered the floor as the largely young audience gathered inside the venue for bands and outside to compare outfits and handiwork, including the guaranteed yearly sight of at least one boy decked out in his sister's old prom dress.
The night of dancing started with back-to-back ska sets from Montreal group Danny Rebel and The KGB and North Central High School's One Inch Punch. Danny Rebel delivered a fun set of original ska and reggae songs, while One Inch Punch played various ska covers ranging from Reel Big Fish to Streetlight Manifesto. Both sets felt like warm-ups for the meat of the night that began with hometown favorites The Green Room Rockers. The reggae group seemed to leave their more laid-back tunes at home in favor of more rousing, energetic crowd-pleasers like their closing "Hoosier Homegrown."
"Ghost with a Boner" by Diarrhea Planet
But skanking didn't seem to be enough for the excited crowd, as evidenced by the sheer pandemonium that took place during Diarrhea Planet's raucous set of grungy pop-punk and showmanship. The Nashville, Tennessee group played pop punk songs barely surpassing the 90-second mark and sounding like Andrew W.K. strung out on too many Four Lokos. The kids on the floor greeted Diarrhea Planet's flurry of guitars and energy with boogie-board stage dives, Avengers masks, silly string and double the manic energy put out by the band in a glorious display of insanity the Hoosier Dome hadn't seen until that night. The end of the set saw fans rushing the stage to sing along to "Ghost With A Boner" and the epic "Fauser," the last song from their LP Loose Jewels.
Chicago pop quintet Blane Fonda closed the night with high-energy dance tunes and crooning slow jams about broken hearts and lost love. This band always comes armed with their own fog machine and laser lights. The peculiar activities and hilarious sights continued when one patron could be seen crowd-surfing while covered in bubble wrap and tape while another fashioned an outfit out of the light rings, which would eventually be taken apart and distributed to anyone who wanted to them. Blane Fonda played songs off their first release while mixing in new songs from their upcoming full-length Foolish Croon. One of the set's highlights came when the group pulled out a cover of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs," an odd departure from their usual party style that fit in better than it really should have. Although Blane Fonda is from Chicago, they are clear favorites of the Hoosier Dome audience, and have played shows to more and more people with every Indy performance. This year's Punk Rock Prom being their highest point yet.
By the end of the night, the floor of the Hoosier Dome was covered in sweat, candy, confetti, glow sticks and trash. Makeshift suits and dresses had received fresh holes and tears and everyone left happy and satisfied. Before everyone could finally disperse into the night, Piradical head honcho Stephen Zumbrun gathered as many people as he could together for the yearly group photo, which has grown larger and larger every year.
Punk Rock Prom at The Hoosier Dome (Slideshow)