She Wants Revenge, Mellodrone, Benzos
Friday, Sept. 15
The anticipation circled The Vogue moments before Los Angeles based She Wants Revenge took the stage. The cold chill was real. The crowd, willing participants in this drama, stood ready.
The glittery guitar intro that begins” Red Flags and Long Nights”, the first track on SWR’s current release, simply titled She Wants Revenge, served as foreplay, if you will, to the sleazy romantic adventure to follow. Singer/guitarist Justin Warfield’s haunted vocal mannerisms brought the audience right into the damaged psyche that serves as his lair. For the next 60 minutes he would not let them out.
The lyrics to SWR’s music (co-written by Warfield and cohort Adam Bravin, the founders and sole musicians on the CD) read like pointed rough-sex poetry (“It’s never hard to tell when things are done, she looked into my eyes and a voice said run/ You can occupy the space inside my mind, at least until the price becomes too high”).
The group was expanded for this tour with the addition of a second guitarist and a drummer, which transformed the band into a true rock machine.
SWR rocked through “Broken Promises for Broken Hearts,” “Someone Must Get Hurt,” and the killer “I Don’t Wanna Fall in Love.” A beautiful sexual tension developed. Their fans knew every lyric, singing them in unison as they weaved back and forth while writhing through their suggestive dance.
“The authorities are in control here tonight,” Warfield sternly noted before launching into “Black Liner Run.” The gathering was asked to scream “ Hello Gary” as a tribute to one of the band’s staunchest supporters, who alas, was under 21 and not allowed into the venue.
The Cure’s Robert Smith could have played guitar on “Someone Must Get Hurt” and the style of Depeche Mode was clearly evident in “Monologue.” As the nattily attired (black vest, black tie and yes, a black Borsalino hat) Mr. Bravin (Adam 12) launched into a beautiful keyboard solo leading into “Disconnect” one could tell, however, that SWR was its’ own entity.
“Indianapolis you’ve been great, but we don’t do encores. Thank you for being here with us.” an exhausted Warfield explained, as the crowd’s climax was realized with “Tear You Apart,” the last tune of the evening. She Wants Revenge left the stage to a raucous response leaving the audience to start thinking about how pleasing the experience would be the next time.
Highway Magic, Jerkwads, Two Bit Terribles, Up! Scumbag
Friday, Sept. 15
This four-band show started like any good rock concert — an hour late. Highway Magic took the stage and from then on it was rapid drumming, fuzzy guitars, and screaming vocals. Their music, accompanied by interesting and comical antics, packed lots of energy and a few patented Pete Townshend windmills. It takes a certain amount of bravado to play Metal. Whether beating the symbols with a guitar, bending backwards to the floor, or yelling at people to dance, they made sure the audience always had something to hold their attention.
Second to take the stage was the Jerkwads. This group was my favorite overall. They blended strong vocals, heavy drums, and a classic rock and roll attitude. Their chemistry stood out. They successfully matched the rough sound of one vocalist with the melodic sound of the other. To their credit, the Jerkwads had the most distinguishable lyrics and guitar, making it easier to enjoy the music.
The third band, the Two Bit Terribles, was another success — though the audience wasn’t as hyped during this set. This was the only band to give a little information about themselves and their songs (all original). The band’s second CD, Assholes and Elbows went on sale Saturday. Although the female lead vocalist is extremely talented, her vocals were often lost in the white noise of the guitar and bass. But the contrast between male and female vocals worked well, and their voices fit the music comfortably. All in all, they were the most professional of the four bands.
As the clock approached 10:30, UP! Scumbag took the stage. They played with intention. Their guitar work is excellent, making it easy to identify different parts in a song and setting them apart from the other acts. The drums and bass sounded good; neither overpowering the other for long. The vocals were uneven with one vocalist often more understandable then the other, but this didn’t hinder the performance. They worked the stage without distracting from the music, and humorous conversations with the audience between songs made their set flow.