Rocking for Darfur

Brazil CD release with The Antis, Big Big Car and Them, Roaring 20s

Saturday, Oct. 21

Irving Theatre

With its doors open since June, the Irving Theatre is emerging as one of the best all-ages venues for not-ready-for-prime-time music in town.

Rocking for Darfur in front of a costumed and eager audience, and celebrating the release of their new album, The Philosophy of Velocity, Brazil, along with local darlings Big Big Car, Them, Roaring 20s (Chicago) and The Antis (Indy), put on a show full of beach balls, muffin fights and confetti explosions.

Under the influence of producer Dave Fridman, who has worked with groups such as Sleater Kinney, Mogwai and The Flaming Lips, and moving toward a slightly more noise inspired direction than their last album (A Hostage and the Meaning of Life), Brazil infuses Panic! at the Disco drama with the guitar-heavy progressive sound of Coheed and Cambria, while dabbling with a Bowie-like stage presence. That is if Bowie was not the progenitor of genderbending glam rock, but instead wore a tie and suit vest and didn’t wear makeup.

Full of the dramatic energy that the crowd devoured, frontman Jonathan Newby only stopped the party to tease his loyal “Brazil Nuts” with free bootleg CDs of old shows, and to remind us what the Rock for Darfur is all about. That the night is not just about a good deal on their new album ($5, with a percentage from each CD and ticket sale going to the Oxfam Sudan Crisis Relief and Rehabilitation Fund), and another opportunity for us to murder each other with muffins and beach balls, but a way to make a powerful impact on the lives of people struggling to survive half a world away.

—Carma Nibarger

The Society

Musical Family Tree

Radio Radio

Friday, Oct. 20

The Musical Family Tree music festival delivered on its promise of great music last weekend with shows featuring more than 20 local and regional bands. Split between the all-ages venue of Big Car Gallery and the 21-and-over Radio Radio, the weekend festival in Fountain Square was highlighted by sets from Otis Gibbs, Born Again Floozies, Deep Cricket Night, Velo Deluxe and Brando.

But it was The Society who kicked off the rock and roll at Radio Radio Friday night and really stood out as one of the weekend’s best live performances. Jeff and Joe Eakins, Mike Ashley and Chris Ryan are a tried and true quartet of experienced musicians who don’t rely on tap-dancers or incomprehensible screaming to sell what any decent rock band should be able to make stand alone: great music.

With a definite early ’70s influence infiltrating through the short set, hints of the Ramones and maybe a little old school Rolling Stones seeped into a few of the songs, giving the youngsters in the audience whose familiarity with punk rock comes from mall stores and mom and dad’s record collection something substantial to chew on for a change. They may not have been the youngest, the loudest or the gimmickiest, but The Society was definitely one of the most solid and most enjoyable members of this year’s Musical Family Tree, and their rock and roll roots were the perfect starting point for the rest of the weekend.

—Laura McPhee

Cold War Kids

Birdy’s

Monday, Oct. 23

After watching the Cold War Kids set at Birdy’s, their album doesn’t seem nearly as good. By no means am I trying to break down their album, their live show was just that good.

The small crowd of tight-jean-wearing, scarf-toting, cigarette-smoking “scensters” all seemed to take in the same show that I was — a remarkable set filled with their adopted sound of banging piano, strong vocals and plenty of tambourine.

The show opener, “Saint John,” set the pace for the evening. Lead singer Nathan Willet belted out the tune and made it clear that this was going to be a great night. The highlight of the night, the opening track on their new LP, “We Used to Vacation,” took the show to a whole new level.

The Cold War Kids provided the small crowd with one of the most energetic sets I have ever witnessed in Indianapolis. They played the crowd at Birdy’s like it was a sold-out show, and it absolutely should have been. Next time they come around, you won’t want to miss it.

—Joe Ziemer

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