To say that’s it’s been a rowdy week for Indianapolis would be a bit of an understatement.
This week: Stuck, Prizzy, genuine pop-punk
It started last Wednesday when Nashville, Tenn. ska-punks Stuck Lucky rocked out the basement of the Ska House downtown. The same night, the standard-bearers of modern hardcore, Marshalltown, Iowa’s Modern Life Is War played their final show in Indiana at the Rooftop in Franklin.
Then Friday night saw minimalist popsters Spoon rock out a sold-out Vogue with local heartthrobs Prizzy Prizzy Please. It’s so great that Prizzy got the opportunity to play with Spoon, but I’ve seen Spoon before and they must have been hard pressed to top a Prizzy set. I missed the Spoon show because I was in the basement of the Halloween House in south Broad Ripple witnessing a punk rock phenomenon.
Through the magic of the Pop Punk Bored (a national message board for pop-punk fans that boasts thousands of visitors a day), fans from all over the country flocked to a tiny basement to see The Copyrights, The Steinways and a handful of regional pop-punk bands. (By the way, we’re talking pop-punk in the vein of Screeching Weasel and The Ramones, not Blink 182 or New Found Glory.) The Copyrights rounded out a crazy night with a perfect set of viral melodies and contagious riffs.
Saturday: Circle City Ska
The next day was far from a day of rest for the scene, rather a thunderous cacophony. For twelve straight hours, local, regional and national ska and punk acts pulverized the Underground with loud guitars, blazing horns and rumbling drums at the first Circle City Ska Fest. Outstanding acts included Cincinnati’s The Pinstripes, whose smooth ska surely impressed even the most washed-up Green Room Rockers fans; Ann Arbor, Mich.’s We Are The Union, who drew a circle pit of about 200 young punks with their old-school ska-core stylings; and Chicago’s Shot Baker, who resurrected the corpse of ‘90s-era Bro-core (think Hopeless Romance-era Bouncing Souls, but not goofy). All those bands got the crowd crazy for what was the best Bolth set ever.
Bolth has been a hardworking band since their creation half a decade ago. Sadly, though, they haven’t gotten much respect from the jaded, cliquey hardcore scene. But the Br00tal kids can keep their hairdos and messages boards and let their parents drop them off at the Haste The Day show, because they probably don’t even deserve to like Bolth. Bolth’s set at the Ska Fest ended with a sweaty (and in some cases, bloody and swollen) punk pile. At the end of the day, all the bands agreed that Indianapolis was worth adding to their regular touring routines.
I must say: if anyone doubted the appeal of punk music in Indianapolis outside of Warped Tour, they need look no further than the Ska Fest.
Upcoming: Hives, Punk Rock Prom
The Indianapolis scene can mark their calendars for the upcoming Hives show. The marvelous A Squared production team is bringing the acclaimed Swedish quintet to the Circle City for the first time May 17. The Hives have out-lived many of their fellow garage-band-fad peers of 2001 for a good reason: They’re awesome. Their latest, The Black and White Album, will knock your socks off.
Sadly, the Hives are playing at the fairly lame, 21+ Vogue. But the kids shouldn’t be bummed, because that same night Piradical Productions is putting on its third annual Punk Rock Prom. To make up for last year’s weak headliner (Mercury Radio Theater), Piradical has pulled out all the stops to get psycho-ska-punk legends MU330, along with the Methadones and, wait for it…SHOT BAKER!
Also playing are local street punks Counteractive, Warsaw, Ind. post-hardcore wizards INGSOC and Bloth, a Bolth cover band. If you ever thought that there were no punk shows in Indianapolis, then let me be the one to tell you that YOU ARE WRONG! Repent your sins! Get out to these shows and support the scene!
Nick Selm is a punk rock junkie who works with Circle City Ska and The Halloween House to bring touring bands to Indianapolis.