There aren’t many duos that can put out such amazingly funky music which is also so minimalistic, but BoomBox does just that. The disco house duo features Zion Godchaux (electric guitar, vocals) and Russ Randolph (production). Equally as remarkable as the sound of BoomBox’s music is the sweet and sultry sound of Godchaux’s voice. The group coupled with the dance invoking fusion rock group Signal Path caused so many wonderful people to disregard their own personal safeties and travel considerable distances during such an awful snow/ice storm. Anticipation for the evening rested with the notion of a night of a fun and funky dance party. This was admittedly my first time seeing Signal Path, but from the beginning it was obvious the electronic rock group had exceeded my expectations, causing quite a ruckus amidst the sparsely crowded venue.

Signal Path was truly an amazing opener, creating pleasantly crafted electronic rock dance grooves. Even more remarkable, the group was able to keep the music sounding seemingly improvised while keeping the music tightly held together. The highlight of their set came while noticing bass player Matt Schumacher switching from a normal electric bass to an upright electric bass, a rarity for me to see in my live music endeavors. One might think this transition wouldn’t make a difference, but I assure you it made a huge difference with Signal Path’s music. Also strengthening the group’s set was the incredibly simplistic yet effective play by drummer Damon Metzner. These two combined with production to create crisply sounding fusion rock. The group had an uncanny ability to fuse the sound of hip hop, EDM, and rock & roll into such an incredible cocktail of music. I was honestly blown away as their set came to a close. Signal Path is surely a band I will make a point to see in the future. Luckily it won’t be long and I won’t have to travel far, SP is set to return to Indiana March 29th for an Indy Mojo event at The Mousetrap Bar and Grill in Indianapolis.

After a brief intermission, BoomBox took the stage and attempted to wow the much larger crowd of fans. The music began, but to be perfectly honest the first half of their set started very slowly. I kept waiting for the duo to fully cut loose and they finally did during the song “Stereo”. The song seemed to instantaneously energize the crowd, sending concert goers into a dancing frenzy. Riding the wave of their musical prowess, they delivered again by playing “Midnight on the Run”. The song perfectly captured the essence of BoomBox’s sound, maintaining the funky dance grooves created by Randolph’s production and Godchaux’s guitar play to create seemingly naturalistic sounding music. It was obvious from the reception they received from the crowd that the duo had finally settled into their set of music.
The heart of the set came during the second half, which featured BoomBox relentlessly playing without stoppage. Pure joy enveloped my body when after just a couple of notes “Mr. Boogie Man” began to play. The fun and energetic song does wonders to my soul and perfectly highlighted Godchaux’s smoothly sounding voice. The song is admittedly one of my favorite BoomBox songs, always causing pure joy throughout my mind and body. Easily the highlight of the show was at the very end when they blasted the crowd with their rendition of The Grateful Dead’s “Shakedown Street”. Fans were presented with a funky and fresh eclectic version of the original of the Dead’s excellent song. As amazing as the original is, I find BoomBox’s interpretation of the song better than the original. The music ended, thus ending the incredible dance party. I found an amazing act I hadn’t seen before with Signal Path and reinvigorated my love for BoomBox. Also, I was left with the lasting impression that despite any adversity music lovers will go to great lengths to see the bands they love. Check out more photos from the show by Wide Aperture Images

Written by: Alex Toy

Photos by: Aaron Lingenfelter, Wide Aperture Images

 

  • After much anticipation, the time had finally arrived for Cosby Sweater to headline an evening of solid local EDM musicians. Shy Guy Says(Bloomington) and DJ Hollow Point(Indy), both members G-9 Collective(group of EDM DJs based out of Indy), were the openers for the amazing night of electronic music. The night began with DJ Hollow Point delivering a solid set of drum-n-bass, as usual. I must admit, DnB is hit or miss for me, but I never get tired of listening to Hollow Point’s live mixing and robust tempos. I just feel when a DJ adds turntables to their repertoire it adds much more to the music and allows for more glowing stage presence. Technical difficulties cut the set slightly short, but it most certainly didn’t detract from the quality of music, with the set featuring a nice flow of tempos, beats, and breaks. Truly a solid start to the evening and primed the swelling crowd for a fun night ahead.

    After a brief intermission, Shy Guy Says took the stage, adorned with his usual white mask of “Shy Guy”, the character from Super Mario Brothers 2. I always have an incredible time watching Shy Guy pop around the stage in perfect step with his well-executed glitches. His set featured high energy hip hop beats, raunchy dubstep, and a pleasant presentation of glitch hop tracks. It was really fun to watch the crowd react to his music and stage presence. With dubstep gaining in popularity and so many artists butchering the sound, it is refreshing to hear Shy Guy present it well-layered and not watered down at all. Also, it is pretty amazing to see an artist develop and mature in such a short span of time. Many EDM artists find what works for them and don’t really stray too far from that realm, but in the last year I’ve heard Shy Guy explore several different styles of electronic music. The enormous crowd truly fed off of his energy and his set ended in typical SGS fashion, amazingly.

    I found myself giddy when it was finally time for Cosby Sweater to take the stage. This is my third time reviewing Cosby, but the first time they’ve headlined an event I’ve reviewed. So, I was quite interested to see what they had in store for the jam-packed Mousetrap. Cosby started the first of their two sets with “Peanut Butter and Jealous”, the sultry electronic jazz track off of their album Hey Girl Hey. Given the hard-hitting nature of their music, this was an interesting start to the evening, providing Cosby with the opportunity to deliver a nice upward flow in tempo for the first set of music. Nicholas Gerlach(Tenor Sax, EWI), was the force behind the song, churning out perfectly executed jazz notes from his tenor saxophone perfectly meshing with CS’s unique electronic sound. Without stopping, the heavy and dance inspiring electro sound quickly made its presence known when the guys delivered a relentless onslaught of caffeinated tempos with “PBJ” playing directly into “Open Mouth Kiss”. Cosby continued pounding out the supercharged tempo, still without stopping during “Hole>Landing Gear>Hole>Challenge!>”. Richard “Sleepy” Floyd(drums) pounded away at the drums, holding the supercharged electro sound together. The start of the first set showed the crowd Cosby meant business and were ready to test their limits.

    The second half of the first set easily transcended the already amazing start. Next, fans were treated with an amazing new track called “Sex Journey”. I must admit, I absolutely love every time I’ve heard David Embry(turntables/production) provide vocals to their music. Some sets I’ve seen haven’t featured any vocals, but tonight we were all given the pleasure of hearing Embry showcase his vocals on multiple tracks. “Sex Journey” was definitely a solid track and clearly showing how amazingly unique Cosby’s music sounds and how much fun the guys have on stage playing together. “Dance Yrslf Clean”, the absolutely incredible LCD Soundsystem track, was covered next and was easily my favorite song of the evening. It also featured Embry on vocals and even featured Embry invoking crowd participation during the chorus. I love the song, love the few times I’ve heard Cosby cover it, and love the feeling that permeates throughout my body when I hear it live. The first set ended with “The Huxtable Hustle>Mountain(remix of the Eliot Lipp track)”, rounding out an amazing set of music.

    After a short break, Cosby Sweater took the stage and returned with their musical mastery for their second set. The second set started off with a bang, featuring Cosby’s track “Swerve” playing directly into their remix of Thievery Corporations “Culture of Fear”. The non-stop hard pushing tempos being delivered by Cosby were truly remarkable. Equally as impressive as the music was the fun trading back and forth between owning the stage by each member of the group. It is quite obvious these guys are enjoying playing music together, which is what how it’s supposed to be. Without stoppage, the guys continued on with their remix of the New Deal’s “VL Tone”, an unbelievably amazing rendition of one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite electronic groups. These guys do it right. Their music meshes so well together and they truly capture the original essence of each track they sample or remix. Another special treat of the evening was when Embry’s vocals re-entered the evening during their cover of the Disco Biscuits’ “Feeling Twisted”. As a former(emphasis on former) huge fan of the Biscuits, it was pretty awesome to hear someone play their music well. Honestly, it is the best Bisco I’ve heard in over 3 years and it didn’t even contain a single member of the group.

    The second half of the second set featured their mashup of Outkast and SBTRKT tracks, with the best portion of the song featuring Outkast’s “Hey Ya”. This portion of the set also featured the track “#coolstorybro”, which is also the title track off of their upcoming EP, one which I can’t wait to hear. When Embry was giving his praise to those who came and telling of the upcoming EP he also told the crowd about the recent announcement that they’ll be opening up for Lotus in Boulder quite soon. Wow, I wish I could be a part of that amazing night of music. Anyway, the set ended with the title track off of Hey Girl Hey. This song is a lot of fun and very silly. The second set I witnessed Nicholas Gerlach emerge even more than he has in the last year with regards to his stage presence. The music is working and Gerlach is obviously coming out of his shell. It is so much fun to see Gerlach and Embry feed off of each other while Sleepy bangs away at the drums. These guys are doing it right, and making waves not just locally but nationally. They maintain atop as my favorite local group and this evening featured the two best sets of music I’ve ever heard them play.


    Written by: Alex Toy

  • Photos by: Aaron Lingenfelter, Wide Aperture Images

A lot of bands attempt to recreate the music of the beloved Grateful Dead, but all pale in comparison to Dark Star Orchestra. Normally theater/club shows feature DSO fully recreating a specific Dead show, which is actually amazing. This wasn’t the case for the show at the historic Buskirk-Chumley Theater; concertgoers were treated with a rare treat in the form of an acoustic set. A set described by Rob Eaton (rhythm guitar/vocals) as a “stools and stories set”. The evening began with the director of the venue explaining its role in Bloomington’s history¸ the notion of it being owned by the city, and recognition of donors. After the brief formality, DSO took the stage. In an attempt to pass time while certain members got situated, Alice’s Restaurant filled the air in a playful manner. Also something worth noting, Jeff Mattson (lead guitar/vocals/Jerry comparative), was a new member I hadn’t seen play with the band since he joined full-time in 2010. I was especially excited to see Mattson perform given the fact that he is a founding member of the Zen Tricksters, who have been playing Dead covers for over 30 years.

After the initial silliness, Dark Star opened up with “Dire Wolf”, easily atop my list of Grateful Dead songs. It was a pleasantly surprising acoustic rendition of the lyrically amazing song. I must be completely honest, I was skeptical before the show due to it being an acoustic show, but from the beginning it was highly impressive. Another highlight in the show was when they played “Operator”, a song which is featured on the famed Dead album American Beauty. I was blown away with how well DSO executed the song, adding an excellent element with their personal touch. Things just seemed to keep getting better during the show, especially when they covered Loretta Lynn’s “You Ain’t Woman Enough”. I was completely blown away by this cover and it was easily my favorite part of the show. DSO continued to impress me, playing “The Thrill is Gone”, a song that digs deep within my soul and makes my mind and body feel magical. The show was fun and very energetic, with Rob Barraco (keys/vocals) fueling the tempo with amazing piano solos.

Further adding to the luster of the show was when they played “Cassidy”, another song very dear to me. Things truly got silly when Lisa Mackey (vocals) whipped out the kazoo during “Tell It To Me (Cocaine Blues)”. It was pretty much awesome and you could sense the band was truly having a lot of fun onstage. Another highlight of the show was that they covered the Everly Brother’s “Wake Up A Little Susie”. It was spot on and kind of made me giggle, in a very good way. All in all, it was an unbelievable show. I felt very impressed leaving the show. DSO was the first club show I saw upon turning 21 oh so many years ago, and the ever-changing group has definitely made positive growth throughout the years. Click here to checkout more photos from the show.

Written by: Alex Toy

Photos by: Aaron Lingenfelter, Wide Aperture Images

A busy night of music continued as I ventured toward Jake’s, a venue I had not previously seen a show at and the setting for Lotus to play on a frigid Wednesday evening. The evening started off seeing Dark Star Orchestra, but I hastily made my way over to the unfamiliar venue to see one of my favorite bands. I was quite excited to be treated to two sets of music by the group and once the music started my excitement built even more. Initially, the amazingly created and well-executed new light show quickly caught my eye and definitely added to the magic of the evening. Another special component of the evening was being treated with one of the most intimate Lotus shows I’ve seen thus far. It was truly a special treat.

Lotus started the first set with “Massif”, a track off of their recent studio release Build, and one which proved to supercharge the crowd from the get go. “Golden Ghost”, a track off of their self-titled album and one of my favorites from that release, proved to further energize the dance hungry crowd. Both tracks featured the booty-popping bass and dance inspiring synth melodic dance grooves with heavy rock sounds I’ve grown to love Lotus delivering. The heart of the first set featured the non-stop relentlessly hard-hitting rock dance latent grooves of the jam “Intro to a Cell>Triplet>Sunrain”. This concoction of melodically funky yet dark electronic dance music sending the crowd into a frenzy and leaving me bonkers, while setting the tone for the rest of the evening. The first set ended with a bang, featuring “Jump Off”, a fun and furious track further testing the limits of both the music and the dancing crowd. Euphoria had definitely settled in, leaving me and the rest of the patrons hungry for the second set to begin.

After a brief intermission, the second set began, and boy did it begin with a doozy. “Bellwether” was chosen to start and surpassed anything the band had delivered in the first set, which was surprising given the quality of music delivered thus far.  Just when I thought my night had already been completed, Lotus blasted me with what was by far the best series of music I’ve seen them play in the six years following the group. This insane concoction of non-stop playing featured: “Did Fatt>Am>Lucid Awakening>Zelda Theme>Lucid Awakening”.  They definitely tested the limits of the crowd with this dark and heavy dance rock jam. This was a very special treat for any true Lotus fan with “Zelda Theme” thrown into the mix. Also, I was personally bestowed with something special, this being my first time hearing the Zelda Theme played live. As a big fan of both Lotus and the classic video game, this was merely icing on the cake for the evening.

The second set neared an end and Lotus delivered one last bombshell, playing the fun and funky dance track “Tip of the Tongue”. I felt euphoric as the track test my dancing limits and made me bonkers. The band thanked the crowd and left the stage, leaving me for the first time joining in with the crowd roaring for an encore. After a brief moment, Lotus reentered the stage and began to play and encore which perfectly ended an already magical night of music. The encore featured “The Surf” and “Scrapple”, with the two track encore proving to be another added bonus to the evening. I must note, I have a soft spot for “The Surf”, given the notion that it is one of the few tracks featuring vocals by Lotus. It was a perfect end to a perfect two sets of music. Lotus is one of those bands that reaches deep within my soul and invokes a hungry fire from within. I truly love and respect everything they produce. If you are not familiar with the group, I highly suggest you find a show within traveling distance and go there immediately. Click here to check out more photos from the show 

Written by: Alex Toy

Photos by: Aaron Lingenfelter, Wide Aperture Images

 


Combining elements of funk, rock, blues, and even electronica Dopapod was able to wow the crowd with their intricately smooth jams. Honestly, I can’t wait for this group to start headlining their own shows, because they are quite worthy of any fame and fortune they come across. It will surely be a treat when Dopapod comes to Indianapolis for an Indy Mojo event on March 8th.  When their shortened set came to an end my excitement to see Dosio was at an all-time high, with the intermission lasting far too long.

When the intermission finally came to a close Papadosio finally took the stage and began to play one of my favorite sets of music I’ve witnessed in my entire life. They started the evening off with an unbelievable version of “The Cue”, a track off of their recent studio album T.E.T.I.O.S, and one which proved to kick the evening off with a bang.  Often times during their initial jam I found myself amazed at the direction of the song. Next, the band took the set in an incredible direction, playing a Dosio class “Oracle” directly into a new song “Taking Turns”. “Taking Turns” was highly impressive, showing the positive direction the band is going, while also showing a stark contrast to their “normal” sounding tracks. As always, Anthony Thogmartin moved me with his heartfelt falsetto singing.  Honestly, I was blown away with this new track, it showing maturation and a positive evolution of direction Papadosio is going toward. The next portion of the set was the heart of their set and easily my favorite throughout the evening. It consisted of an all-out rock improvisation consisting of “Method of Control>Improv>If it Wasn’t For You”. This section of the set was a relentless in-your-face jam that seemingly went on and on. It was truly magical and left my mind and heart fluttering. Also, it featured another new track, “If it Wasn’t For You”, which showed many elements of “old” and “new” Dosio. Another special treat during this period of the set was hearing Robert McConnell step to the forefront and takeover lead vocals.

As the set wound to a close, Mike Healy (drums) completely took over control of the flow of the set. Songs like “Puddles for Oceans” and “Monochrome” typically feature a collaboration of all artists banging out in perfect harmony, but Healy forged through, taking the sound to new heights and making the crowd go bonkers. The set came to a close and in typical fashion the crowd roared for one more song. The encore featured an amazing rendition of “All I Knew”, a lyrically lovely song with amazing music to add the luster. My body tingled as Papadosio blasted the crowd with a final musical bombshell. All in all, this was by far my favorite Papadosio show, no easy feat for my favorite band. My heart and soul yearns for more and I can absolutely not wait to see what these guys have in store for the future. Click here for more photos from their show at The Bluebird.

Written by: Alex Toy

Photos by: Aaron Lingenfelter, Wide Aperture Images

After reviewing Keller’s recent studio album and seeing his amazing show this past fall, I was fairly excited to see Keller come to Indianapolis for an intimate show at The Vogue. The artist known as “The One-Man Jam Band” always seems to deliver an interesting show, creating intricate sounds by looping several instruments simultaneously during live shows. Upon arrival to the familiar venue it was quickly apparent many local patrons were equally as excited to see Keller. I arrived well before the show was set to begin, thinking entry would be swift, but as I approached the venue it was obvious the well-known artist would have a jam packed crowd in attendance. After a long wait in the freezing cold I finally entered the venue and claimed a spot amongst the eagerly awaiting concert goers.

When Keller finally took the stage it was obvious his set wasn’t going to be as funky as his show last fall, but he definitely delivered more flow with his music, starting the set with an easygoing rendition of “Breathe”.  He then played directly into “Cookies” and “Cadillac”, starting his first set strongly, but lacking the funkydubalicious sound to get the crowd grooving like he had this past fall. His set really started to take hold when he played “Something Else”, finally beginning to put some much needed energy into the crowd. The first set may have not featured the funky imrprov I witnessed this past fall, but it definitely showed the maturation of Keller’s musical prowess, with Keller offering the crowd with more crisp renditions of his tracks. The highlight of the first set was easily “Birds of a Feather”, which featured the classic song energizing the crowd and bringing a much needed smile to my face. Keller rode the high of this track by ending the set with “Convertible” and “I Love California”, keeping the energy of the crowd high and maintaining the set with tightly formulated tracks.

After a short intermission, Keller took the stage and began to wow the crowd with his second set of music. “Thin Mint” and “Gate Crashers Suck” started the set and quickly surpassed anything he had played in his first set of music. The irony of Keller playing “Gate Crashers” was quite silly given the hatred portrayed in the lyrics toward concertgoers of Jerry Garcia’s last live performance which took place at Deer Creek in Indianapolis in the early-90s. Also, the second set featured far more improvisation and funky looping by Keller.  Also, “Gate Crashers” played directly into “Shakedown Street”, featuring the best jam of the evening and highlighting Keller’s obvious love of The Grateful Dead. He rode the high of this improve jam, carrying the energy and funkiness for the remainder of the show. This was very evident during “”Makin’ It Rain”, “Moving Sidewalk”, and “Dancin’ Fool” which featured the crowd fully under the artist’s control and far more dancing amongst the crowd.

The highlight of the set and the entire show was during “Best Feeling”, a track that invokes energy as well as euphoric happiness throughout the crowd. This track was the first song I fell in love with by Keller many years ago and brought an amazing tingle throughout my body as a huge smile crept upon my face. Keller ended his set with this, but in typical fashion, the crowd cheered as he left the stage for one more song. The wait for an encore didn’t take too long and Keller reentered the stage to perform “Celebrate Your Youth”. “Celebrate” definitely ended the show on a high note, further riding the energy brought by “Best Feeling”, and featuring the funky improvisation of his music I’ve grown so fond of. All in all, Keller delivered an excellent night of music. I must confess, I enjoyed his show at The Bluebird this past fall a lot more, but these two sets delivered a better flow of music and showed his growth and maturation as an artist. Click here to view more photos of the show

Photos by: Aaron Lingenfelter, Wide Aperture Images

Written by: Alex Toy.

 

Keller Williams digs deeper into his musical repertoire with help from bluegrass specialists The Travelin’ McCourys in his latest studio album Pick. Anyone familiar with Keller’s work knows he isn’t a stranger to exploring different musical avenues. In recent years he’s released a reggae-funk album, a children’s album, and an album of cover songs. His collaboration with Del McCoury’s bluegrass band The Travelin’ McCourys is his 18th album and arguably his most well-rounded studio album throughout his twenty-two year long career. As talented of a musician as Keller is, he absolutely could not have pulled this gem of an album off without the help of the Ronnie McCoury masterfully plucking the mandolin, Jason Carter’s ability to create absolute auditory beauty on the fiddle, and the steady bass play of Alan Bartram.superb banjo play by Rob McCoury,

The album starts off with a Keller Williams original, “Something Else”, and from the get go it is clear his singing has greatly matured over the years. In “Something” his guitar play still offers frantically fun blasts of energy and The McCourys ingeniously keep the music sounding crisp and tight while maintaining an excitable twang. “Mullet Cut” features an excellent blend Keller’s silly songwriting skills, his funky guitar play, and the undeniably refined bluegrass twang of The McCourys.“The Graveyard Shift”, a Steve Earle original, features excellent melodies with mandolin and fiddle beautifully harmonizing with Ronnie McCoury’s excellent vocals. Also, the track features the most notably recognizable upright bass play by Bartram.

“I Am Elvis” features the best mixture of Keller’s silly songwriting skills and The McCoury’s infectiously energetic bluegrass twang. The lyrics to the song go like this: “I like to sail around the world in my mind. I like to snowboard naked in the morning, jump out of a helicopter and freeze my behind. I like to ride upon the space shuttle where there’s no gravity. I like to float around just for fun ‘cause you see space is the place.” “What a Waste” is classic bluegrass through and through. The lyrics touch a wide array of subjects; love loss in the form of death, moonshine, religion, and definitely playful comedy. “I’m Amazed” is easily my favorite song. The My Morning Jacket cover perfectly captures the essence of the song, but I believe it transcends the original. A very special treat comes on the last track of the album, “Bumper Sticker”, which features Del McCoury joining Keller and the rest of The Traveling McCourys. It is an excellent bluegrass fusion track and ends and already fantastic album with a bang. If you even remotely enjoy bluegrass music this album will be a very special treat. After seeing Keller play an amazing set this past fall and hearing his latest album, I’m very excited to see his upcoming show at The Vogue.  

Written by: Alex Toy

Photo by: Aaron Lingenfelter, Wide Aperture Images

 

A wickedly cold Thursday evening in the middle of January marked the end of a seemingly long four month hiatus without seeing Future Rock, the electronic rock trio hailing from Chicago. After being lifted to unimaginable heights during their set at Hyperion Music Festival this past September, I was eagerly awaiting an evening of FR pounding out their funky fresh electronica dance grooves. Kaleidoscope Jukebox and Manic Focus were set to open the evening, but due to unforeseen circumstances Kaleidoscope Jukebox was unable to perform. Manic Focus was an utterly forgettable EDM artist who merely provided somewhat ambient background music in the wake of the main attraction. The tracks in his mixes didn’t seem to resonate with the crowd, with much of his mixes sounding like something a DJ in a Miami mega-club would play. It was a very watered down EDM set. It featured just enough dubbing and mixing to give the appearance of electronic music to those who have latched onto the genre only when it gained commercial success and oozed into pop culture, but lacked any ingenuity and depth in comparison with the vast majority of EDM artists I review. As his set waned on, all attention to the music was gladly lost to my growing anticipation of the auditory pleasantries I have come to expect from Future Rock.

After a brief intermission between artists, it was finally time for Future Rock to take the stage and began to play for the nicely intimate crowd of eager fans. Their set began with intensely dark and heavy electronic elements, but the tempo and beat quickly morphed the music into FR’s concoction of modern disco rock. This eclectic mixture of sound was on full display when they played “Tranzmission”, an uppity yet dark track from their most recent studio album One Day. Mickey Kellerman, keys and synth, orchestrated the initial flow in tempo and as always energized the crowd with his infectiously happy stage presence. I have seen FR well over a dozen times and watching Mickey’s combination of energetically playful movement upon stage and hyper-connectivity with the crowd never stops making me smile. Felix Moreno(bassist) and Darren Heitz(drummer) provided the necessary components for the creation of FR’s unique blend of dance rock music, with relentless tempos and tight basslines fueling the dance grooves and crisply popping breaks. This was especially evident during “Midnight Madness”, another track off of their latest release and by far my favorite of the evening and the EP.

The trio seemed to relentlessly push the music harder and faster as they delivered heavier and darker melodies, invoking rowdiness throughout the dance hungry crowd. This is the whole reason my fondness for FR’s music and live shows has not only been sustained over the years, but continued to grow.I was taken aback a little when their music began to sound like a delightfully nutty conglomerate of music reminiscent of workout videos with booty popping bass slapping by Moreno. The music continued to be playfully euphoric during “One Day”, the title track from their most recent album, and also a track featuring both the evolution of Future Rock’s quirky sound and the depth of their music. The song featured a perfect flow of tempo changes, a steady bass line, and the sampling of a track sounding like a mixture of early-90s feel good electronic music being played in a dance club with fading glimpses of New Wave. It was absolutely wonderful. During this portion of the set I literally saw my friends (myself included) shaking their heads with cheesy smiles splattered across their faces while still maintaining their boogie to the funky dance grooves..The dance rock trio kept bringing heavier and heavier dance grooves. The crowd went bonkers when FR rocked out to “Spark”, a track which proved to be both fun and funky. Yep, this was truly a fun spectacle to witness. As the set forged ahead, they inched back toward darker yet funky melodies. The harder Moreno slapped the bass the more the rest of the trio pushed the speed of the tempo. The final song of the evening was “$$$$$”, with the guys jamming out to their classic track. Overall, it was a solid set, the music flowed beautifully and in typical fashion FR delivered fans with hard-hitting dance rock. I have seen far more crowded FR shows, but this intimate show was far more enjoyable than one might expect. The night ended on a very positive note, with Future Rock leaving me euphoric and ready to see them again. Herm Productions provided the excellent lighting for the evening, adding a visually aesthetic quality to the show..

Words by: Alex Toy

Photos by:Aaron Lingenfelter, Wide Aperture Images

Click here to see more photos from the show.

 

 

This New Year’s Eve I happily chose to stay close to home and attend a well-rounded lineup of Central Indiana musicians. The night featured an eclectic mixture of Traditional Bluegrass, Newgrass(Progressive Bluegrass), Outlaw Country, American Psychedelia, Blues, and Southern Jam Rock. Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band headlined the holiday event, with The Indiana Boys and The New Old Calvary as supporting acts. Initially, seeing The New Old Cavalry was my sole reason for attending, but proved to be very myopic given the caliber of music on display. The Indiana Boys were the first to take the stage, starting the night with an excellent set. Their set was fun, energetic, and featured a very talented presentation of music. Also, the veteran musicians’ stage presence undeniably displayed a certain sense of swagger. The first half of the set featured two mandolins feverishly plucking away, while Kenan Rainwater(lead vocals, harmonica, and rhythm guitar) added a rich and wholesome element in contrast to the energetic sounds coming from the other members. Barry Todd, mandolin, lived up to the label of a virtuoso on the instrument, owning the stage for most of the set. The second half of the set featured  the band inviting other musicians from Dan Bigler’s other group, White Lighting Boys, to join them on stage. This proved to be beneficial and added even more musical depth to their already impressive set.The apex of the set, and easily the crowd favorite, was when The Indiana Boys played their rendition of Snoop Doggy Dogg’s classic gangster rap hit, “Gin & Juice”. It was honestly a well-executed cover, not letting the silliness of the lyrics detract from the quality musical composition. The Boys fed off of the energy of the crowd, taking it up a notch with huge smiles adorned across their faces as they closed their set on a very high note. I was very impressed with the entire set, and those gentlemen are obviously professionals.

My excitement began to rise in anticipation of The New Old Cavalry’s set to begin. After the briefly playful stint of sound adjustments, their set quickly began in a fury. Chris Doller, guitar and vocals, and Alex Wukmer, Dobro and vocals, began the set by energizing the tempo and the amassing crowd with heavy hitting play on their respected instruments. The first portion of the set featured the two trading back and forth between who led the charge. They traded off in perfect sync, forging ahead into seemingly improvised bluegrass-psychedelia jams. Justin Hughey, electric banjo, plucked along in lockstep, providing the hard-hitting music with crisp melodies and the signature bluegrass twang. It didn’t take too long for Hughey cut loose and took control of the music, taking the Psychedelia jam into a Newgrass jam. I absolutely love the hearing a banjo(electric or not) relentlessly push the tempo faster and faster, especially when properly executed, which he did so with ease. Brandon Lee, mandolin, also came to the forefront of the jam, furthering the sound of the Progressive Bluegrass gets down. Chills crept down my spine as the rest of the stage-front attendees and I began to boogie, revival style. I must also point out, Brian Chomka, Upright Bass, was essential in holding the sound together with booming bass lines, well-timed changes with the beats, and tightly held the music together. He was the glue holding the rhythms of the far out jams in tact. I was impressed when the guys took the music down several notches, adding a nice flow to their set with the beautiful track. The abrupt tempo change was all they could do to add some sort of flow to their short forty-five minute set. They finished the set just as they had begun, in a fireball fury. A band like The New Old Cavalry deserves at least an hour and a half to properly deliver their seemingly improvisational Newgrass psychedelic jams. Honestly, I was a little disappointed they weren’t allowed to play much longer, but they most certainly made the best of their allotted time. It’s always a treat to hear their fusion of several genres of music. Every time I see them their music continues to evolve.

After a brief intermission spent with whiskey consumption providing necessary warmth and perfect numbness outside in the freezing cold while chain-smoking, I finally reentered The Bluebird a few moments before Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band took the stage. I stood, uncertain of what was about to transpire, with this being my first Reverend Peyton show(that I can remember). The uncertainty quickly subsided as Washboard Breezy Peyton came out playing a washboard and harmonica with Reverend wailing on the guitar. It was truly a gnarly concoction of sound, in a very good way. His unique voice and edgy guitar play boisterously roared through the venue. I totally get the irony of the band’s name, with Aaron “Cuz” Persinger(drums, vocals) rounding out the trio, but their music does provide an illusion of a big damn band actually playing. Reverend Peyton provides an illusion of another musician by utilizing a Fingerstyle guitar, relying on his thumb to provide the bass lines for their music. Equally remarkable was his commanding stage presence. The undeniably overpowering frontman didn’t deter Washboard Breezy from showing her own skillful stage presence. Their energetic movements on stage and raunchy Country Blues music infectiously spread throughout, causing a rowdy dance latent crowd.

Even after releasing their latest album “Between the Ditches” this past August, they still played a nice mixture of old and new material. “Mud” and “Something for Nothing” were two classics played and both were delivered magnificently. Their new material easily eclipsed both of those tracks, which was no small feat. “Devils Look Like Angels” was a phenomenal track musically as well as lyrically. The Blues element of their music definitely shone through for “Devils”. Another impressive presentation of new material, “Broke Down Everywhere”, showed energetic play by Breezy and Cuz and playfully intoxicating singing by Reverend, delivering a truly fun song. It was possibly my favorite song of the evening, but hard to decide with the entire set being absolutely impressive. Another track off of their latest album, “Big Blue Chevy ‘72″, was another fan favorite worth mentioning. “Big Blue” highlighted the eclectic fusion of their music, this time presenting the crowd with more Country and Southern Rock influence in the music. The set was excellent, ringing in the new year wonderfully and capping off an excellent night of music by talented local musicians. Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band is musically in their own class of music, impressively producing fun and fresh music and live shows.

Words by: Alex Toy

Photos by: Aaron Lingenfelter, Wide Aperture Images

 

 

 

 

A busy night of music forged ahead as I rushed from Digital Tape Machine w/Dexterous Roy & Cosby Sweater’s show at The Vogue to The Mousetrap for Altered Thurzdaze, Indy Mojo’s weekly electronic music event. A special guest, Phutureprimitive, was set to headline the event. This wasn’t my first time seeing the EDM DJ, which is why I was so excited when I finally reached the familiar venue. After being forced to park farther away than ever before and seeing the large crowd oozing from the entrance, it was clear other local EDM fans were equally as excited. I finally fought my way through the clogged entryway, body immediately overtaken by the heavy basslines and vibrant sound of Phutureprimitive’s production. I found a place to settle in amidst the frenzy of the dancing crowd, basking in the glory of what was transpiring. It is rare to see an artist and the crowd coalescing into something so magical.

The music was flowing beautifully from up tempo to down tempo, producing well-layered mixes. Phutureprimitive was presenting a masterful fusion of EDM styles; blending dubstep, trip hop, electronica, electro house, glitch hop, and even ambient trance elements into well-crafted mixes. Elongated bass drops and well-timed glitches perfectly offset supercharged tempos, putting the feisty crowd under his control. One might think such an eclectic mixture might sound chaotic or cluttered, but his fusion was quite harmonious. Overpoweringly fun stage presence combined with amazing musical productions, truly made him a master showman. Like a puppeteer, he forced the crowd to bounce and groove as he playfully guided us through a musical journey.

As the set continued, so did Phutureprimitive’s well-layered production of sound and musical prowess. The heart stopping industrial bass whomps slowly bridged toward more melodic and ambient dance grooves, which flowed back into heavy dubstep sound, creating a uniquely crafted mixture of music. It definitely wasn’t the normal feeling I get from dubstep music. It was actually quite impressive. A huge smile adorned my face, when he presented his remix of Gary Jules’ “Mad World”, the slow and beautiful song featured in the movie Donnie Darko. Yes, it was an absolutely wonderful addition to his already incredible set. The dark and soulful singing and ambient music of the original track was highlighted, but didn’t overshadow Phutureprimitive’s dance invoking alterations to the original. An absolutely wonderful remix, delivered with perfection. I was really enjoying his ability to present deeply cerebral musical compositions, while maintaining the fun dance inspiring grooves. It is impressive to see an artist balance between the stark contrasts. With his set nearing the end, Phutureprimitive reached farther in his musical arsenal, injecting the crowd with one last fury of sound. This portion of music featured the most energetic mixes of his set. In your face bass chops and caffeinated tempos fueled the energy of the dancing crowd. The music pushed faster and harder, before finally coming to an abrupt end. The music might have abruptly ended, but not the lasting effect of his awe inspiring set. The entire set was engaging. The music sounded fresh and  was a beautiful artistic display of electronic music. Electronic music has had a lot of commercial success in recent years, inherently creating watered down music by artists seeking to make it big, but this is definitely not the case with Phutureprimitive  This might not have been my first time seeing the artist, but it was definitely my favorite. Indy Mojo keeps presenting amazing electronic artists for Altered Thurzdaze, no small feat for a weekly event.

Written by: Alex Toy

Photos by: Aaron Lingenfelter, Wide Aperture Images