Year in Review: The birth of Fountain Square 

click to enlarge Clockwise from left: Crys (Mitchell Duncan [also of Learner Dancer], Joey Shepard, Jacob Gardner); Learner Dancer (Peter King, Landon Caldwell, Jesse Lee); Vacation Club (Jeb Lambert, Jered Sheline, Sam Thompson, Brandon Jackson) - PHILLIP HILL
  • Clockwise from left: Crys (Mitchell Duncan [also of Learner Dancer], Joey Shepard, Jacob Gardner); Learner Dancer (Peter King, Landon Caldwell, Jesse Lee); Vacation Club (Jeb Lambert, Jered Sheline, Sam Thompson, Brandon Jackson)
  • Phillip Hill

The summer of 2012 was an incredible time to be hanging around Fountain Square. There was live, local music available on almost any night, whether at clubs like the White Rabbit or Radio Radio, art spaces in the Murphy Building or at my personal favorite type of venue: somebody's basement or living room. It was always hot and it almost never rained; bad for the farmers but good for those of us who appreciate summer nightlife. And for a music junkie there was no better time and place to enjoy that nightlife than the few blocks radius of where Virginia Ave. runs into Prospect St. It took me about a year of covering the music scene in Indy before I began to hone in on the underground music community in Fountain Square, and once I did, there was no going back.

For me, it all began with Vacation Club and The Kemps. I stumbled across these bands at a house show in SoBro a little more than a year ago and from that moment on I took every possible chance to see them play. This quest took me to venues large and small, all over the city, but the locus of energy for these bands - their stomping ground - was clearly the Fountain Square neighborhood and the tight-knit community of young musicians who live and play music there.

I could talk about all the sweaty house shows, all the times I stayed up well into the night, watching bands like Learner Dancer and Crys shred at Mediumship, with my ears ringing and my shirt soaked with sweat, or all the cans of cheap beer I drank (more in an effort to stay cool than to get drunk - - which if you've ever drunk Hamm's,you know is quite a task), but I've already told that story a dozen times.

Suffice it to say, this summer was the time when one part of the city seemed to coalesce from a bunch of musicians living in the same rugged neighborhood, into a thriving, well-organized artistic community with a distinct character and public recognition by the entire city and beyond. But who knows? It's always difficult to chart the growth of these things. There were musicians living in Fountain Square long before most people in the city cared two shits about the neighborhood and - - as long as the rents don't go through the roof - - there will be musicians living there for a long while.

Grant Catton is a writer and co-founder of new publishing company Royal Pulp.

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