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Hustler, Kramus, Devil to Pay

Music Mill

Friday, Feb. 2, 9 p.m., $5

Had it not been for underage drinking, Hustler would be a different band. A week before its first show, the band suddenly found itself without a lead singer. “Our singer got caught drinking at a Van Halen concert,” frontman Dustyn Rothenberger recalls. “He had to drive to Noblesville to turn himself in.”

While Rothenberger, 20, jumped from behind the drumkit to front the band, guitarist Bill Adams joined in and Dustin Koester was recruited as the new drummer. “Dustin had to be a good drummer; you don’t want to give up an instrument to have someone not as good take your spot,” Rothenberger says.

On bass is Colby Holmes, a seasoned guitarist by the age of 19, who had been playing covers in bars with much older musicians for a few years. Coincidentally, the band also discovered they had each played at The Vineyard, a popular Southside church, at different points.

Hustler is one of those rare bands, especially at its members’ young ages, that has a hard rock sound without relying on gimmicks or mirroring MTV trends. The anthemic song “The Revolution” shows promise of elite songwriting skills and wears the influences of the classic rock bands Queen and Led Zeppelin on its sleeve. Elsewhere, on “Never Coming Home,” you can hear touches of Soundgarden and Nirvana.

Gaining notoriety in the local scene and playing to crowds of screaming girls isn’t as ideal as it would seem. “It’s always either 16-year-old girls or women over 30,” Rothenberger says.

After about 70 shows its first year, Hustler will release its debut CD at a German Park show on March 10. Its gig with Devil to Pay this Friday is part of Kramus’ CD release party. Read Kramus’ If Only for Words CD review in NUVO on pg. 40.

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