Last Friday, a relatively new 9-piece band hailing from Chicago made their way down to Indianapolis to send the weekend warriors of Naptown out into the fray at The Vogue. My god, did they do it right. Overall, it was a night specializing in all things groovy with local acts Breakdown Kings and Audiodacity coming out in support of the out-of-town headliners to give fans a hell of a show and something to remember for weeks to come.
The night began with Audiodacity’s signature blend of brass and beat, giving the crowd a sense for the funk that was soon to come with the rest of the set. Starting with a small gathering in front of the stage, the crowd grew as their show progressed. The six-piece Indy-bred band powered through their set with drive and determination, leaving everyone in the crowd smiling as they morphed their bodies to the pulse of the beat.
Following their set was Breakdown Kings, another one of Indy’s own rockin’-soulfunk-hip hop revivalists with something to prove. Having never seen them before, this writer was left surprised as songs like “Monster”, “Pow”, and what can be only guessed as “Balls Deep (In Your Love)” were dropped. The latter of the 3 songs, a love song of sorts written for a girl at the farmer’s market, got the entire crowd laughing and dancing at the same time- always a welcome combination.
And then, with the crowd hyped and reaching for more, it was on to the headliners of the night: Chicago Loud 9.
For those who don’t know, Chicago Loud 9 is an amalgamation of 9 members from 5 former acts/bands: ‘grunge-funk rockers Eleven Dollar Life, roots-reggae outfit Drop Steady, cover bands Dr. Rock / On The Radio, and rapper-MC Pro Blak The Don’, according to their website. Funk, grunge, reggae, hip-hop; it’s all one with these guys. No boundaries; nothing off limits. They play what the moment calls for, and they do it damn well.
Taking the stage and starting the set off in an energetic frenzy, one felt the fuel that was about to burn throughout the performance. After a brazen start, they eventually fell into the chill and groovy intro to, “Brainfield” with a solid drum groove that led into some serious flow from Pro Blak aka Don D. Immediately after the first verse the song unleashed itself, blending funky brass, solid guitar work, and singing/rapping exchanges between the two vocalists.
Soon, an unexpected cover broke out: “Spottieottiedopalicious” by Outkast (if you don’t know this song, look it up now. It’s the 21st century; don’t deprive yourself of this classic). Once the solo-laden instrumental took off and wound itself back down to baseline it was time again for some original tunes, breaking into “Ratso”. A funk-rocker that melds its way into some reggae inspired rap verses, “Ratso” laid it down heavy before closing up shop to set up for the next track.
The show continued, eventually building up to the party rocker, “After Party”. During the climax of the song, J-Bone (percussion/keys) ran out from behind his post to revive the tiring dance party. Clearing out a section of the crowd before launching a backflip off of the stage, he ended the move off with some breakdance skills that could start a b-boy battle.
After this uncommon bit of showmanship, Chicago Loud 9 departed the stage just ahead of the loud mass of cheers that chased backstage after them. Not gone for long, they returned to drop the single from the cLoud9 EP on us, “Chill (Wait)”. As the hip-hop/ska groove culminated into one final climax they left us yet again. And then the chanting began…
“ONE MORE SONG! ONE MORE SONG! ONE MORE SONG!” the crowd cried, jeering the band away from their comfortable reprieve and back onto the stage. Starting back up with a high-energy drumbeat that quickly progressed into an all-out jam the MC announced, “We don’t even know what we’re about to play, y’all are beautiful Indianapolis!”
That, my friends, is a beautiful feeling and the mark of a true band, true artists, and true entertainers. In that moment, the music held us together- sweet, punctual sounds moving in harmony to create something bigger than us all. They could have easily left the crowd there, wanting more, ending the night at that moment-but they wanted to keep playing; one could feel it. After completing the unknown 2nd encore, they retired for the night, leaving the crowd sweating with their hands in the air and eyes to the sky. The feeling that we were left with was pure elation- something that no action or thing can replace except for real, heartfelt, music; it was the feeling of [biological] ecstasy at its finest.
In retrospect, this writer is still smiling about the show, it’s energy, and the bands that gave us that feeling. There was no better place to be in Indianapolis that night, one can be sure of it. Fresh, original, music played by three different sets of skilled songsters- what more is there to want out of life?
Tear it Up
Almost Let it Get to Me
Can’t Hardly Wait
25 or 6
Neva Comin’ Back
[Unknown Second Encore]
Get the cLoud9 EP here
Find more photos from the show here
“Indulge your senses”. This is both Oranje’s motto and goal. From brilliant pieces of art to shattering live musical performances, Indy’s premier culture festival is a haven for sensory stimulation. The twelve year old event has transformed immensely since its grassroots beginnings, and last Saturday night was a shiny, orange testament to its local prowess.
Strolling into the main quadrant of Oranje, which was composed of the lawn and building of Centennial Hall, festival goers were greeted by live art and music. Graffiti artists wielded their cans in creative glory as they sprayed a PBR themed mural onto a trailer. Orange little globes softly glowed along the paths leading to different attractions. Additional artists drew and painted on easels surrounding the PBR stage, which hosted a slew of musicians.
While The Bright White, rockers from the Windy City, had this stage they played some pretty typical pop rock. They sounded like they’d definitely taken a couple of pages from the Goo Goo Dolls. This fact coupled with their non-native status could have attributed to their lack of listeners. Nonetheless, when Audiodacity and Jomberfox hit the stage later on, the PBR tent received plenty of love. Local outfit Jomberfox strummed and serenaded a growing crowd with their rock tunes. Brandishing a lap steel guitar and a unique indie-rock subtlety, it was exciting to watch this group perform. Audiodacity followed up with their energetic horn driven sound. They had their large audience swaying and dancing through the entire set. Although the dynamics of Oranje outdoors were terrific, the interior also had plenty to offer.
Inside Centennial Hall, the scene was even wilder. Booths of artists lined up against both sides of the three levels of the facility. With a stage at the end of each level, the masterminds behind Oranje had left no space for quietude. Honestly, with only six hours to cram all the attractions in, there wasn’t a soul present who minded being sounded by stimulations. Visual artists like Izaak Hayes, who unearths inspirations in his found art, and Caren Charles, who creates richly colored paintings, interacted with patrons at their booths. Most presented business cards and had works for sale. Charles was offering face paints which ranged from playful kitten whiskers to inspiring, and vivid designs. Down the hall from these artists more musicians were performing.
At the Jakprints stage an indie rock band, from Chicago, titled Landmarks played ambient tunes. Both relaxing, and reminiscent of the nationally popular indie sound present at this time, they were a calm addition to a very high-powered musical roster. At the Indy Mojo stage, DJ Topspeed spun an eclectic mix of rap and pop songs strung to a fast paced tempo. It has been said that Topspeed can play for any crowd, which is certainly the truth. Hippies, hip-hop heads, and general music lovers thrashed to his beats. Topspeed’s beat weren’t the only ones being spun that evening, though. The Beats and Breakfast Lounge was home to the evening’s rap music. Indian City Weather put on a stellar performance that had the crowd nodding their heads. Blending elements of hip-hop, rock, and pop, these guys brought hot sound to Oranje. However, the late night set by the Breakdown Kings was the perfect climax to the night. Ace One and his group brought the night to a boisterous and crashing finale armed with their raw rap-rock sound.
As the night drizzled to a close, and the partiers hopped in their cabs or rides from Uber, there was a glow that seemed to surround Centennial Hall. The orange globes that lined the path shone in solidarity to a night that should make Indy proud.