NUVO Amped Showcase is Friday

Brando NUVO Amped Showcase

Radio Radio

Friday, Feb. 24, 9 p.m.

Tickets: $6 at the door

The third installment of the quarterly NUVO Amped music showcases will be held this Friday evening at Radio Radio in Fountain Square. Sponsored by Heineken, United Package Liquors and IMC, among others, this showcase is the most experimental and ambitious offering yet. Although Brando, the show’s headliner, is a familiar name to local audiences, the other three groups on the bill may be lesser-known, but each has its own distinctive style and following.


Genre: Pop/Indie-rock

Hometown: Bloomington

Derek Richey, the stubble-faced leader of indie-rock heroes Brando, takes a hit off a cigarette as he tries to explain his songwriting method. “In the songs, I cover it all up with analyzing others: how shallow they are, how corrupt they are; how self-involved they are, but it’s just a cover for my own insecurities, probably,” he told NUVO in 2004.

“If you want me to be honest, I’m angry because I just don’t feel like I deserve to be unsatisfied. I’m sad because I think I have things to offer, but I haven’t found the one person I’m compatible with ... I’m cynical because I think this will go on forever. But that’s life, really. These are things a lot of people can relate to, I think, but I would never cry about any of these things through a whole song. That would be whiney melodrama. I’m more interested in taking snapshots of life and its passengers.”

For more than a decade, and so many personnel changes that it’s hard to tally them all, Brando’s music has gone through plenty of stylistic transformations and attitudinal shifts. The one constant theme has been a keen observational eye for the untidy nature of human relationships.

They’re not simple observations, or even observations that make sense, but they’re bird’s-eye views of how people interact with each other.

“I drag everything into the songs,” Richey says. “Situations that may or may not have happened in snapshots that might represent amorousness, jealousy, disappointment, self-righteousness. The songs are just full of these snapshots. My brain works in snapshots. So do the songs. If you put all the snapshots together, you can make sense of the songs. But none of the lyrics tell a seamless, heart-on-sleeve tale. There is emotion there, but it’s buried in the images.”

Brando is in the midst of recording a new studio album, tentatively entitled The Strangler.

The Two-Bit Terribles

Genre: Punk

Hometown: Indianapolis

The Two-Bit Terribles describe themselves as an “unwavering, unrelenting, uncompromising, in your face, punk fucking rock band!” On their MySpace page, they claim, “We do not care about trends or what is cool. We play what we play regardless of anything. We are an uncompromised institution of power and emotion. Lighting a fire under your ass and rocking faces off everywhere.”

The Indianapolis-based band is comprised of Kate Forrest on vocals, Rob Jacobsen on guitar, Chris Burton on drums, and Travis Harmon on bass. They combine elements of rockabilly to their mix as well. Formed in 2004, the group has played the Warped Tour and opened for punk legends The Sloppy Seconds. Currently planning a full-length album, the group is a fixture on the local punk scene and has played many Punk Rock Nights at the Melody Inn as well as shows around the Midwest.

Asked to describe their influences, they come out with a list of more than 50 bands, including Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Pennywise, Anti-Flag, The Misfits, Minor Threat, The Dead Kennedys and The Toadies.

Stay the Hand

Genre: Progressive/Experimental Rock

Hometown: Indianapolis

Formed from the ashes of three very different local bands, Stay the Hand is a group of musicians dedicated to changing the face of music in Indianapolis. “With a broad spectrum of influences, we write what comes naturally, with no regards to a certain style or scene,” the band says in its bio.

“Every song we write sounds different to us,” says the band’s Phillip Arney. “We don’t want to write to fit a genre. With three-part vocals, we don’t have to scream through the song. We’re trying achieve something new.” The band has a two-song CD, which it distributes at shows, and is entering the studio next month to record a full-length album.

Anchor Close

Genre: Post-Hardcore/Punk

Hometown: Indianapolis

With influences such as Burning Airlines, Hey Mercedes and Mewithoutyou, Anchor Close has an aggressive but somehow very organic post-punk/hardcore sound. In songs such as “Liar, Kisser, Truthteller,” they manage to tread the fine line between love and hate and all of the emotions in between.