by Ben Shine
The beginning of the traditional fall arts season in Indy has been a pretty special time for people who like to engage with music culture. It’s been action-packed with a concert-heavy place-making takeover of monument circle (Spark), fun concerts in unique places and Small Studio Sessions, among other things. But it doesn’t let up from there. The next few months are filled with a wide range of concerts and musical experiences. I’ve perused all the calendars and event invites and picked out a few that I’m particularly excited about. So get out there!
Of Montreal with Diane Coffee
Oct. 22 at Old National Centre
For more than 20 years, Kevin Barnes has fronted psych/sex-fueled/disco/art rock/performance band Of Montreal. Last summer the band was a highlight of my WARMfest experience with its theatrical performance. When Of Montreal plays Old National’s Deluxe, expect dancing, quirky storytelling, a winky delivery, and costumes -- maybe even offstage.
World Singing Day Sing-Along
The organizers of World Singing Day have a pretty awesome mission: to unite the world through song. This Sunday, they hope to gather more than 100,000 people to not just sing, but to sing together and to sing to others. Indy’s contribution to the day is hosted by local spiritual mastermind and singing enthusiast, Pam Blevins Hinkle at the Church Within.
Red Velvet Underground Book Launch
Freda Love Smith spent the later part of the ’80s and most of the ’90s as a founding member, songwriter and drummer of indie rock darlings Blake Babies, Antenna and Mysteries of Life. Today, she is a lecturer at Northwestern University in Chicago, has two teenage boys and just published Red Velvet Underground: A Rock Memoir, with Recipes. It’s part rock memoir and part cookbook, and this Sunday she’ll be signing copies and holding a public conversation about her book with past bandmate, Dale Lawrence, at BookMamas in Irvington.
Indy Film Fest’s Rock + Reel Series
The Indy Film Fest loves movies about music so much they built a entire season around premiering new movies about music to local audiences. They make a full experience out of it too, hosting screenings at White Rabbit Cabaret and pairing each movie with a live musical performance.
Next up in the series is Deathgasm -- about two suburban metalheads who start a band and discover a piece of sheet music that gives powers to whoever plays it. Oh, and it also summons a godlike demon who threatens to destroy the world. The November screening features Arcade Fire's The Reflektor Tapes, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the band’s 2013 album, Reflektor.
Melody Inn Halloween Weekend
This Halloween the folks at the Melody Inn and Punk Rock Night will play dress up and put on a weekend’s worth of local bands performing entire sets in character of their favorite acts from rock and punk history. Friday’s slate features bands performing as such legends as David Bowie, Talking Heads and Violent Femmes. Saturday gets a little more raw with tributes to Johnny Thunders, Operation Ivy ( one of my all-time favorites) and early-era Motley Crue.
The first album I was ever allowed to pick out for myself was Men at Work’s Business as Usual when I was about 6 years old. I literally wore out the vinyl. Front man Colin Hay has never fully escaped the shadow of the ’80s band or reached its fame as a solo artist.But he has put together a pretty impressive 11-album solo career. He has matured, his songs have matured, and his voice has actually gotten better over time. He’s played in Indy several times throughout the years and puts on a great show. The Buskirk Chumley may be the best place to see a show in Indiana and is the perfect venue to show off what Hay’s accomplished in the past 35 years.
Brahms Concerto Numbers 1 & 2
Johannes Brahms debuted his Piano Concerto No. 1 when he was 26 years old. It was born out of personal turmoil and violated every rule of contemporary concertos. It was manic, unpredictable, emotional and (gasp!) partly in a minor key. Then, 22 years later, he debuted his Concerto No. 2, and actually performed as the soloist in its debut. Croatian pianist Dejan Lazić will perform the piano solos in both parts of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s two-week series.
Tonic Ball 14
Fifty-five local bands put aside egos and paying gigs to raise money to fight hunger and poverty in Indianapolis with Second Helpings. This year’s concert will feature the songs of Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Beck and Pink Floyd. It’s one of the most beautiful nights in the city each year, full of warm fuzzies and amazing performances. It’s always a sell-out, so if you’re reading this right now, go buy one of the few remaining. Every single penny of your ticket goes directly to Second Helpings.
I'm On Fire - Caleb McCoach
Debut! Caleb McCoach covers Springsteen's "I'm On Fire" in advance of his Nov. 20 appearance at Tonic Ball 14. Presented by Eskenazi Health it will be Nov. 20th and all proceeds will benefit Second Helpings. You can get tickets here: www.tonicindy.Posted by Tonic Indy on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015.
Earlier this month, more than 50 local musicians from all walks of life entered their names into a drawing to be a part of the Random Band Challenge. Their mission, should they accept it, is to join a band of random musicians to write three songs to perform at a sort of random battle of the bands on Dec. 5th.
Each band is also given a prompt that must be included in at least one song, which included Nikola Tesla, Richard Nixon and The Princess Bride. The winner of the battle on the 5th will get a spot at next year’s Virginia Avenue Folk Fest. What could go wrong?