Thursday, February 18, 2010

Broad Ripple Gazette, vol 7, no 4

I must start with an apology. Have you ever wanted something so badly you changed the details in your head to make it fit? I did that with the Saint Valentine’s Day Eve show the Northside News Café. Cara and Tad and Stasia and Pholly played on Saturday, not on Friday as I reported in the last issue. I hear the show was great – I was flipping burgers and slinging beer at the Red Key that night.


Kate Lamont and Devon Ashley (music)
Mike Graves and Justin Cooper (art)
Friday, February 27, 2010
Indy Hostel
4903 Winthrop Avenue
7:30 gallery opening, free, all-ages, non-smoking
8:30 music, $7, all-ages, non-smoking

The Hostel is combining a terrific art show with a great concert. The gallery opens at 7:30 and the music starts at 8:30.

Mike Graves has producing art (and music) in Indianapolis for the last 15 years. He uses a wide range of media and subject matter to create diverse pieces. His works portrays an intense image-maker, illustrator and painter showing the real to the surreal. He uses collage elements, painting and mixed media to produce his art.

The very talented Kate Lamont will release her first solo album, After the Traffic, next month. You might recognize her from her varied projects, Mad Lab, Blueprint Music and the Undefeatable Beats. Kate has a gorgeous voice whether she’s singing trip-hop or something bluegrassy. She refers to the new album as a minimalist collection of piano-based songs. I don’t know Kate very well, but she also strikes me as one of the kindest souls in the music community. I’m thrilled for her that she has a record all her own. I look forward to hearing it. She’ll be joined by the talented percussionist, Devon Ashley. Devon has drummed his way across the world – we’re happy to have him play in our little corner.

Mustard Plug, Lockstep, Like Bats, and One Punch Knockout
Saturday, February 27, 2010
ES Jungle
6151 Central Avenue
7:00-11:00 pm, $10, all-ages, non-smoking

Okay, I’ll say it up front – the band name Mustard Plug intrigues me, is a gross way. I’m not a big mustard user so when I annually grab the bottle from the fridge invariably the tip is jammed with crusty mustard and, well, you can picture the rest. I think that naming bands must be way harder than naming children. After all, it’s acceptable to have a bunch of kids named Silas running around but two bands with the same name is trouble. It was only a matter of time before a band was named Mustard Plug.

This is not Mustard Plug’s first at time in the ES Jungle, they were a big hit before. They will be joined by local bands Lockstep, Like Bats, and One Punch Knockout.

If you haven’t been to a show at ES Jungle you’re in for a treat. It’s exactly the kind of venue you picture for all ages shows in a basement. There is a low stage, plenty of room to either dance or stand with a smattering of sofas around the room and parents hanging in the back of the room. I’ve been to some great shows there – check it out.

Mustard Plug
Like Bats
One Punch Knockout


I didn’t get the chance to see any music in the last two weeks – unless you count the band playing in the hotel in the Bahamas (I just had to throw that in) and I goofed up on the date of the show I’d really been looking forward to (see apology above). So I’ll pick back up where we left off at the Austin City Limits Festival in October. We’re up to day two of the three day event.

Saturday, October 3, 2009
Austin City Limits Festival

Where we left off: I had a photo pass for the show which means that I got to be in the photo pit, right in front of the bands for the first three songs of their set. I quickly caught on to the etiquette and rules of the pit. Almost everyone was great and helpful, and I spent the first day mostly trying to stay out of the way of the “real” photographers and their thousands of dollars of equipment. I had my extra lens in a pouch clipped to my over-the-shoulder Marigold bag and an extra memory card. The other guys (I say guys because the photog ratio was about 90% men, not that I was complaining) had two or three cameras and bags full of lenses and little step stools and accessories.

I didn’t want the story of Saturday to be about the rain, but it was raining. Hard. For a long time. I soon discovered that it leveled the field in the photo pit. For one thing the pit was a pit. Mucky and muddy. Luckily I’d hauled boots with me and all of our camera equipment looked the same under trash bags with holes poked in them for the lens to stick out. We looked like a classy bunch. None of were as concerned with keeping ourselves dry as we were about the equipment.

The first show I hit was Deer Tick. I’d just seen the charming lads the month before at Locals Only. They did a great job and I was thrilled to be among thousands of folks watching them instead of standing with fifty other people.

With liberal stops to the media tent for drying off, well it was not so much drying off as sluicing the water from my poncho I saw The Felice Brothers, Mute Math and Grizzly Bear. It was really pouring by the time Flogging Molly started.

The American Celtic punk band joked that the weather reminded them of a nice day in Ireland. They played an intense set to a very soggy crowd. I’m a bit of a worrier and I was concerned about the rain/electric instrument mix but everyone was okay.

I hated to go back to the media area between bands but it was the only way to half-way get the water off and dry off the camera. The area had a few open tents in the middle so we’d all crowd under them for a few minutes until the water that was pooled at the top splattered on us.

With a quick stop at the…And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead set I walked to the big stage where The Levon Helm Band was playing. Levon Helm is a rock icon (drummer for The Band) who has been a part of the rock scene since there’s been a scene. He’ll be 70 this year and has survived throat cancer. He now hosts The Midnight Rambler Sessions at his home studio in Woodstock featuring live performances by the likes of Emmylou Harris and Elvis Costello.

I loved every second of Levon Helm’s set. He sounded great and looked genuinely happy. His drum kit was at the front of the stage and he kept looking out on the crowd and laughing. And the sun came out during is set. We were all able to peel of a few layers of plastic and sloshed out of the photo pit laughing.

I swung by The Decemberists set to check out the Portland, OR indie band. They are worthy of all of the buzz. Lush songs layered with accordion, organ and upright bass played by ethereal pretty youngsters. What’s not to like?

I was starting to get nervous about my next photo gig. Having a photo pass did not get you automatic entry to all of the stages, some bands required extra credentials. In a cocky moment back in Indianapolis I applied for all of them. All of the applications asked for concert photo samples so I sent photos from the Indiana State Fair tractor parade. I almost fell over when I saw my name on all of the photo lists but one (Pearl Jam). Either no one looks at that stuff or they had a sense of humor.

And that is how I came to have a photo pass for Dave Matthews. I’ll put it right out there. I’m not a rabid Dave Matthews fan. I don’t dislike him, I’ve just never been tempted to go to a concert or buy a CD or tee shirt. And now I was standing just five feet from the stage where the extra beefy security dudes went over the rules with us. Which were basically the same rules (no flash, only shoot during the first three songs) as everywhere else but delivered by someone that I was sure could pick me up with one hand.

All of the stages had a dedicated place for the photographers to enter. I soon learned that “stage left” was my right. Not that I’m real handy with the left/right thing. The big stage had an awkward entrance. First of all it was the opposite side of the other eight stages and it was tucked against a beer vendor, and rows of Porta Potties. Add that thousands of people had been waiting for hours in the rain to see Dave Matthews and getting to the entrance was no picnic. Luckily I’d given myself half an hour to make the five minute walk and I got there with just a few minutes to spare.

All twenty of us were herded into the pit just in time for the rain to start again. I talked to some fans that had been staking out their spot for twelve hours! I offered to take their photo with their camera and soon I was handed dozens of cameras. Just as I was wondering if I’d broken some sort of cool photographer code I noticed some of the other guys doing it too.
Once the music started I came to have a new appreciation of Dave Matthews. He’s good at what he does and plays like he’s enjoying himself. And watching the crowd was a treat. Tens of thousands of people twirly dancing and singing along was amazing.

Once the three songs were over the security dudes literally pushed us out. I was already packed up and near the entrance when the group toppled in to a sudden stop. There was no way out. The crowd was blocking the entrance. Behind us were beefy guys yelling, “out!” In front of us were drunken barefooted fans pushing us back.

My timid, just hang back and observe the photo pit days were over and my years of waitressing instinct kicked in. “Camera’s up!,” I yelled, holding mine over my head like a cocktail tray and I snaked us over the people through the beer tent (with a polite, “excuse us please”) and behind the potties. When we finally popped out behind the crowd we stood in the rain and laughed and high-fived. I felt like one of the gang.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Broad Ripple Gazette volume 7, number 3

first published in the Broad Ripple Gazette

Tom Fontaine's "All You Need is LOVE" Beatles Exhibit
Friday, February 12, 2010 6:00 kick off party
Saturday, February 13, 2010 noon – 9:00 p.m.
Mother Nature’s Sun
6515 Ferguson Street
$5, all ages

Tom Fontaine, one of the largest Rock and Roll Memorabilia collectors in the world, will be exhibiting items from his rare Beatles collection to celebrating the Beatles 46th anniversary of their arrival in America.

Tom has been featured on everything from CNN to Across Indiana and has published a Beatles signature study.

Memorabilia will also be for sale, here’s your chance to own a piece of Beatles history. Items for sale include:

•Beatles autographs, including Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr.
•Paul McCartney handwritten yrics for “Goodbye”
•Original John Lennon artwork
•John Lennon’s running suit from Denmark 1970
•Guitars signed by Paul McCartney
•George Harrison handwritten first draft for “Bangladesh”
•Beatles stage clothing

I’m excited to see the Beatles at the Indiana State Fair tribute display.

Cara Jean Whalers and Grover Parido, Tad Armstrong and Stasia Demos and Pholly
Northside News Café
Saturday, February 14, 2010
5406 N. College Avenue
7:00 pm, all-ages, non-smoking, $TBA

You know the party game question, “if you could invite six people to dinner who would it be.” To paraphrase that, if I could invite six people to play at in my neighborhood these six would be at the top of the list. If you’ve been reading this column for anytime at all you know that Tad Armstrong is one of my very favorite musicians and that Stasia Demos is just amazing and cute as a button.

As much as I count Cara Jean Whalers as one of my best friends I have to admit that I’d hadn’t heard her do more than two songs in a row ever until last month. Now that I’ve heard her and cellist Grover Parido I’m smitten with her music.

I’ve been looking forward to seeing Pholly for quite some time. Pholly is Phoebe Davis and Molly Grooms. They met in sixth grade, which is not as long ago for them as it is for the rest of us. Phoebe has been playing ukulele practically all of her life and accompanies Molly’s vocals. I’m really looking forward to this show.

Indy Hostel Open House
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
4903 Winthrop Avenue
11:00 am – 3:00 pm

Ever wondered what happens at Indy Hostel but were afraid to ask? Ever wanted to check out a concert but not quite sure where the hostel was or where to park? Now is your big chance to check out the hostel and poke around to your hearts content. Stop in the hostel on Tuesday, February 16th from 11:00-3:00 for tours, door prizes, snacks, music and information. Contact John Newton ( for more information.

Finest Grain CD release show
Friday, February 19, 2010
2131 East 71st Street
21+, 8:30 pm,

I got a copy of their second and newest record, In the Story – the adventures of kid B, right before my deadline so I only had time to listen to it once, but I give it an enthusiastic two thumbs up! Great melodies, pretty harmonies and smart songwriting. They’ve captured the essence their live show very well. They’ll be celebrating the release of the CD at Birdy’s on Friday, February 19th. I can guarantee it will be a fun time and great show.


The Accordions
Earth House Collective
Sunday, January 17, 2009

First of all – shame on me for not checking out the wonderful Earth House before now. It’s tucked in the church at the corner of New York and East Streets downtown and houses two music spaces, a coffeehouse and Jenxie’s restaurant. I only got a poke around a small portion of the building. I did get an excellent freshly French pressed decaf coffee from the café – yummy.

The Accordions charmed the socks off of me. They are a delightful mix of instruments, musicians and collaboration. Although they played several songs where the accordion was used, this is no Polka band. They weave ukulele, autoharp, saw, violins, guitar and trumpet into poetic and memorable songs.

Mark February 27th on your calendar for their CD release show at Earth House.

Git Down
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Locals Only

I was thrilled at the thought of getting to see music after my Saturday night Red Key Tavern shift. The last band at the Git Down was scheduled for 2:00 a.m.. And a friend was in town from NYC and I was itching to show off our local music scene.

I was able to dart out the door at 1:45 and raced (and by raced, I mean drove at a safe and reasonable speed) to Locals Only. As I dashed to the front of the stage to hear Thunders and snap a few pictures I slid on the dance floor. Puddles of beer. Always the sign of a good party!

The last band of the fourteen-hour marathon, Thunders did a great job of keeping the crowd on their feet and engaged. Good stuff!

There were still lots of cool kids in the room. Annie and Andy Skinner were spinning records. I ran in to Rusty Redenbacher (Mudkids, DJ) who declared the day a great one and told me his Colts anthem was up and ready for download on the Mudkids Web site.
Locals Only co-owner, David Queisser shared with me that the Git Down was a huge success from their end. He applauded the collaboration between the sponsors, organizers, musicians, fans and the venue.

And I got to show John Gernand that Indianapolis has a thriving music scene. Even if it is smoke-filled and beer soaked.

Lucas Oil Stadium
January 24, 2010
Half-time of the AFC Championship game

I was impressed by the logistics of getting the stage with classic rockers Foreigner perched on top out to the middle of the football field to fire out two songs and back to the sidelines in the twelve minute half-time break with no one breaking a hip.

Foreigner played Feels Like the First Time and Hot Blooded to tens of thousands of air-guitar playing, face painted, Colts jersey-wearing guys. I know the running audio must be crazy to get the sound three stories up to the cheap seats but I think they did a decent job with the audio. It looked and sounded like drummer Brian Tichy (Billy Idol and Ozzy Osbourne) was playing live. It was hard to tell with the other guys. Between front man Kelly Hansons mic stand waving and dramatic gestures and bassists Jeff Pilson’s (Dokken) wavy locks I forgot to play attention to their vocals and instruments.

Foreigner was a good band to warm us up for the main show – Super Bowl XLIV half-time entertainment The Who.