Broad Ripple Music Fest
There are a lot of good things about the Broad Ripple Music Fest. It’s a thankless task to pull off a shindig like this, and to work it in a way that attempts to put some money into the coffers of local charities is admirable. But I was left looking for Indy’s top shelf talent. No Creepin’ Charley? Devil To Pay (or for that matter, any of Indy’s top metal bands)? Gay Black Republican or Dark Matter Halos? What about Mandy Marie or Stealing Volume?
I decided to opt out of Broad Ripple and stayed on the outskirts. I saw State play a kinetic show at ES Trinity, a groovy all-ages space on Westfield and Central, and later caught Red Light Driver bringing the house down at Locals Only. I ended up at the Melody Inn, where a packed house got it on with the Sump Pumps and the Dockers.
I had to catch Shelby Kelley and Christian Taylor’s solo sets. Now, God love them, they may want to show off their solo chops, but neither Shelby nor Christian has any business stepping up on a stage without their respective outfits behind them. Each of these boys needs a fully charged, jumping the rails rock band behind them.
To Shelby’s credit, his songs translated well to the acoustic format and he has a fine baritone that is pleasing to the ear. But to see one of the city’s finest herky-jerky frontmen sitting on a stool and performing a set that could easily be done by anyone with a Neil Young songbook is disheartening.
Christian Taylor, on the other hand, was being himself, playing his electric guitar and doing his songs more or less how he would do them with America Owns the Moon. And while this made for a more entertaining set, and actually made some of the songs take on a new life, you still couldn’t escape the fact that his set was missing that special AOTM magic.