1. The Dream Is Dead at Dude Fest - The Dream Is Dead was simply one of the most memorable hardcore bands to come out of the Indianapolis scene. In a genre ridden with similar sounding artists, “T-Diddy” (as they were affectionately known) were known for their politically-charged lyrics and the brutal guitar stylings of member Jared Southwick, who died earlier this year. After 10 years of tearing apart basements and stages across the nation, The Dream Is Dead gave their final performance at this year’s Dude Fest to honor their late guitarist.
2. Punks Don’t Give A Fest - 2011 was the year of festivals with terrible names. Not quite as confused as “In The Fest Of War,” this festival deserves a mention primarily because all ages punk rock shows seem to have fallen off the radar. Fear not, however, this should become an annual event according to promoter Kenneth Keener, “(Punk rock) does exist, it doesn't suck, and it's not just limited to one age group, gender, philosophy or style.”
3. Step Dads - It’s not often that bands can switch lead singers midway through their existence and still retain a decent following. Step Dads came out of left field as a post-hardcore powerhouse featuring James Lyter of Chaotic Neutral on drums and Nathaniel Wolos from Take Two on vocals. Currently, they are dedicated to playing DIY shows and showing the world that, with a quick member change, even a girl can be a Dad.
4. Bolth’s Final Show - The Earth House is perhaps the greatest all ages venue in Indianapolis. They have a strong advantage over other local venue spaces—their room comfortably holds several hundred people with plenty of room to avoid the pit, and plenty of room to join the chaos. In a packed room, hardcore weirdos Bolth gave their farewell performance alongside It’s All Happening, punk rock veterans The Meatmen, and ska-punk heroes The Suicide Machines.
5. Earthbound - Based out of Fishers, Indiana, Earthbound originally gained recognition through the ES Jungle’s “High School Battle of the Bands”. Since then they’ve been playing out more and have managed to craft the perfect amount of pop rock and ska.