806 Main St., Amo Joy, The Whigs
Monday, April 9
If you’ve ever thought of creating a kazoo troupe, you’re too late. Indy’s psychedelic “magical mystery band” Amo Joy beat you to the punch. The quartet of mostly Butler University students, comprised of Adam Gross (kazoo, guitar, vocals and harmonica), Alison Pitt (synth, melodica, flute, keyboard, kazoo and vocals), Paul Cobb (bass, vocals and kazoo) and Steve Trowbridge (drums), played circus-style, experimental noise-pop at Spin Nightclub’s April 9 Rock for Riley gig.
All the jovial Amo Joy needed was a tuba player to replace the bass parts in songs that needed hearty “oompahs” and clowns balancing on giant rubber balls for more novelty. Amo Joy’s performance highlight arose during a wacky breakdown of mandolin wailing, flute tooting and slide whistle hooting.
The slim crowd that arrived at Spin before Amo Joy got a musical treat just after 8 p.m. when six-piece rock outfit 806 Main St. (named after the address of its rehearsal space) hit the stage. The recent high school graduates from Vincennes, Ind., inflicted a mixture of Strokes sensibility and a gritty Midwestern-meets-Western sound.
Comprised of Max Mullen (vox, guitar), Eric Watson (backing vox/guitar), Ryan Wilson (bass), John Mansfield (keys), John Codespoti (lead guitar) and Quinten Schulze (drums), the band played tambourine-happy numbers with enough soul to spark a ’60s love flame under your feet. Folky pieces with hungry choruses suggested vast musical potential, especially in the realm of rural storytelling.
806 Main St., which derives influence from classic rock bands and Indiana-based groups like Murder By Death, recently released Surprise!, a four-song EP recorded at the OPEN art gallery and recording studio in the boys’ hometown.
The night’s headlining trio, however, The Whigs, from Athens, Ga., presented a power-rock, T-shirts-and-jeans jolt of tight musicianship and oftentimes hackneyed, screaming vocals by Parker Gispert. Showmanship fell on The Whigs’ side, though, and drummer Julian Dorio threw hard blows in the face of mediocrity. For the most part, The Whigs have grown from lo-fi college musicians to boys outgrowing their britches on their originally self-released debut, Give ’Em All A Big Fat Lip.