Punk Rock Night needs little introduction. An Indianapolis institution, it's happened almost every Saturday night since 2000. So if you’ve ever been to the Melody Inn or if you’ve ever seen an indie punk show, you can put two and two together. The Melody is a small bar with a small stage, and when it gets packed with punk fans and punk bands, things get loud, smoky, and a little bit crazy. In other words: it’s perfect.
Last Saturday local acts The Putz and Stealing Volume played, as well as Chicago-based groups M.O.T.O. and Voice of Addiction. The lineup seemed to bring more than the average number of PRN fans out of the woodwork, and by the time the show got going at about 10:30, it seemed like most of the audience members already had a few Foster’s oil cans and PBR tallboys in the tank.
The emcee kicked the night off by introducing the “Ramones Award Winning” trio The Putz to take the stage first. Whether or not that award actually exists (and I couldn’t find anything), these guys definitely would be in the top ranks, playing the same brand of fast, up-beat songs as said hallowed band, and featuring their own quirky, fun lyrics (“I think your spaceship’s taking off, and you better be on it”). Cool thing about this trio is the way the use their voices as instruments, harmonizing sweetly in the true punk tradition, as in their song “Surfing Alone.” In appropriate homage to their progenitors, The Putz closed with a crowd-pleasing cover of “Blitzkrieg Bop.”
Next up was Voice of Addiction, another trio, fronted by lead-singing bass player Ian Tomele, who displayed some serious, lead-guitar type chops on his five-string bass. VoA’s sound falls more in the metal camp, but the band played around with different sounds, delving into rockabilly for their song “You’re All Crazy,” from their new album “Reduce Reuse Resist,” and taking things in a more thrash metal direction at other times.
M.O.T.O. (Masters of the Obvious) took the stage next. This New Orleans-based band has been at it since 1981, playing a bass-heavy, at times Mifits-like sound, with some great solo-work by lead guitarist Paul Caporino. Their song titles, such as “Thong Fever,” and “I Hate My F-ing Job,” seemed to come straight from the doors of a frat house bathroom stall, while at other times reaching for something a bit more dark and interesting (“I walk through the great primeval”). These guys displayed some of the energizing, cymbal-crashing drive that makes punk so great, they just extended their set too damned long, claiming to be on their last song when they were in fact in the middle of their 75 or so minute set.
Finally, local foursome Stealing Volume took the controls, playing to whatever drunk and weary patrons that were left after M.O.T.O. got done with them. Stealing Volume quickly took care of the weariness part, however, playing a set of maddeningly intense, lyrically inventive songs that have the power to move bodies. These guys have a polished, half-insane yet entirely pro sound with good pace changes and thick, driving chords. Sardonically cool frontman Ben Schimmel gets backed up by guitarist Lanny Boles, bassist Scott Lamb, and the frenzied drum work of Scott Tolley, as band rocked their trademark hits like “Internal Rocket Shock,” “With the Rats,” and “Hipstar” and proved they had every right to close down the night, staying on for two quick encores.