Three well-known local and regional bands brought the heat this past Friday at The Vogue Theatre in Broad Ripple. Local boys Funky Junk started things off early with a 9PM set time. The venue filled quickly as their local fans (endearingly referred to as “Junkies”) came out to support the rising star of the Indy jam scene. Funky Junk played through an evolving new repertoire of music while touching on some established cult classics. The band continues to gain attention as they head into festival season, recently joining the robust Summer Camp Music Festival lineup after winning a recent battle of the bands competition.
Another local powerhouse, The Twin Cats, followed Funky Junk. The Twin Cats have been bringing face-melting funk to the Indy scene for close to 10 years, but recently made an adjustment to their lineup as front man Nick Gerlach made a permanent transition to his side project Cosby Sweater. Though many feel that the missing saxophone leaves The Twin Cats with a gaping hole in their arrangement, the opposite is actually quite true. The four-piece band had a whole new air about them- the same funktastic flair that their music has always been steeped in, but with more room to breathe and experiment in jam and rock. Their evolved form evokes memories of Umphrey’s McGee circa 2004 and the Anchor Drops album- a tightly orchestrated and well-rounded group of trained musicians with a drive to push past their old image into uncharted territory.
As evolving bands seemed to be the theme for the evening, Cornmeal headlined with a new front lady on fiddle replacing the notorious Allie Kral. As Cornmeal took the stage, many crazed fans began screaming that Allie was on stage, throwing everyone for a loop at first, until they realized it was, in fact, a new female fiddle player. Slightly timid in her approach, her instrument’s presence was toned down and not as in-your-face as before, leaving Cornmeal’s new sound to be much more like a jam band with a fiddle player, as opposed to a bluegrass band with a jam band feel.
Overall, every band brought a new, developed and impressive sound to The Vogue, giving this writer a newly invested interest in all three. Funky Junk can be seen at various venues around Indy; The Twin Cats have no local shows as of now, but will be playing many local and regional festivals in the coming months; and Cornmeal continues to tour, showcasing their new vibe throughout the country. Look for all three a festival near you this summer!