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Posts tagged “Indianapolis

Back home again in Indiana, former Click Five leader Eric Dill ready to “Run With the Wolves” on new solo LP

In the space of a year back in 2004 Eric Dill went from Hoosier heartland obscurity to fronting a top Billboard pop act, leading the Click Five as they recorded “Just The Girl,” the song which taught him how harsh a mistress the world of pop can be. After juggling and eventually rejecting offers of publishing deals after his song “No Surprise” for Daughtry went platinum, he’s now back in Indianapolis looking to launch his solo career. His refreshingly candid interview with Indianapolis Monthly’s James Layne is worth checking out in its entirety. Check out “War with the Wolves” below, a shiny pop nugget which bodes well for the rest of his album Forever Is Not Enough. He seems to have his head in the right place, knowing that in today’s climate you’ve got to get the music out there, no limits:

I just really want to play a lot in Indianapolis and create my awareness here. And then connect the dots by letting people know that I’m from here, and then I left here. I had my little “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” [fronting The Click Five] and went around the world and learned all these different things. I got to see what I think few people have got to see, and I want to take the good and bad from that and apply it to my life, certainly to uplift the music here. I know it sounds ambitious, but I want nothing short of a renaissance here with music.

Quick, let’s get this guy out on the road with fellow Hoosiers Hero Jr and Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s and see what we can make happen!

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Everybody needs a Hero (Jr) — Alt-rock Revivalists Take Indianapolis, With Eyes on America

Hero Jr

Proof from the Hoosier Heartland that Hero(e)s do exist.

Backup PlanI love Hero Jr guitarist Ken Rose ‘s explanation of what his band’s song “Ann Boleyn” really means. When you get down to it, he says:  “When the going gets rough, don’t lose your head.” These Indianapolis alt-rock darlings, having received accolades from the Indy Star and Nuvo Weekly, are now ready and willing now to take on the rest of the country. And the music they bring on Backup Plan is more than worth some serious exploration.

Remember when rock and roll seemed to have it all? The band strives to bring together passion, power and chemistry to craft “timeless songs people can relate to.” Lead singer Evan Haughey is gifted with magnificent pipes, his vocals soaring over a guitar-heavy alternative groove which reminds instantly of a cross between nineties-era Tonic and pretty much anything by the Black Crowes or Cracker. Check out “Ann Boleyn” below — if you like it, download it, it’s free and legal! And if you happen to be in the Midwest, check the band out at one of these dates. I hear they bring the roof down every time.

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10/25: The Hideaway Saloon (Louisville KY) – w/ The Delta Routine
10/26: Hamilton St. Pub (Saginaw MI)
11/02: Fearless Radio Unplugged Studio Session (Chicago IL)
11/02: The Bird’s Nest (Chicago IL) – w/ The Delta Routine, The Hawkeyes, Glendenning
11/03: Radio Radio (Indianapolis IN) – w/ The Delta Routine, The Hawkeyes*
11/04: Scarlet & Grey (Columbus OH) – w/ The Delta Routine
11/05: World Café Live (Philadelphia PA) – w/ The Delta Routine, The Hawkeyes
11/06: HeadHouse Restaurant (Philadelphia PA) – w/ The Delta Routine, Boy Wonder
11/08: Fontana’s (New York NY) – w/ The Delta Routine
11/09: The Monkey Wrench (Louisville KY) – w/ The Delta Routine
11/10: Lemmons (St. Louis MO) – w/ The Delta Routine
11/11: High Noon Saloon (Madison WI) – w/ The Lucas Cates Band
11/16: Czar’s 505 (St. Joseph MI) – w/ The Delta Spirit
11/29: Old Haunts (Akron OH) – w/ The Hawkeyes
11/30: Legendary Hobbs (Philadelphia PA) – w/ The Hawkeyes, Late Ancients
12/01: The Place (Indianapolis, IN) – w/ The Hawkeyes12/07: The Crack Fox (St. Louis MO) – w/ The Lions of Gatwood
12/15: Rock House (Indianapolis, IN) – w/ Phoenix on the Fault Line, Veseria, Bullet Called Life
01/05: Uncle Slayton’s (Lousiville, KY) – w/ Po’ Brothers

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* Backup Plan
CD release show


DEMO WATCH: Scott Wilson – “Starts To Rain”

Scott Wilson Gauss

Scott Wilson, of Indianapolis’s prog-metal band Gauss

I rang in the new year here at “Hear! Hear!” by recognizing “Empty Frames,” by Indianapolis prog-metal band Gauss, a 12-minute epic of progressive melodic metal which remains my favorite indie track so far this year. Turns out Scott Wilson, who handled guitar and vocal duties on that particular track, has remained hard at work so far through 2012 working up demos for a potential future album. He’s asked me to mention that these are home recordings, with weaknesses and kinks still to be worked out. But I believe these songs are worth examining as examples of the craft of songwriting; even the songs we now call classics started as humble demo recordings.

And though these are demos, the recording quality on “Starts to Rain” in particular showcases a song for which all the elements of a potential hit are there. Sure, the vocals are a little too far back in the mix and muddied, but the melody is there and I can’t keep that hook out of my head. It reminds me of 80s-era Peter Gabriel with a more progressive-metal bent, something I’d feel no qualms in sending to what few rock radio stations remain, once a studio version is complete.

Check the song out below and let me know in the comments what you think. If you’re so inclined, you can hear all the demos, plus the original “Empty Frames,” on Scott’s full SoundCloud page.


POPMATTERS: Musical Chairs — An Interview with Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s

Richard Edwards

Richard Edwards, of Margot and the Nuclear So and So's

As the leader of Indianapolis’s Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s, Richard Edwards is a songwriter who knows what he wants. The result has been one of the more varied and interesting discographies to be found among modern indies.

PopMatters ran my first-ever interview for the site today! I interviewed Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s front-man Richard Edwards back in March about the release of their new album Rot Gut, Domestic, and wound up having a meandering half-hour conversation with the Indianapolis-based songwriter. Check out the full interview for his take on big-picture concepts in rock music, and why sometimes a band needs to stop seeking perfection and simply bang out new records.


FEATURED SONG: Gauss – “Empty Frames”

Gauss

Indianapolis's next breakthrough band? If you're a metalhead, you'll hope so.

Call this a perfect accidental find, but I can’t let the start of 2012 go by without spreading the word about Gauss, the next great metal act from Indianapolis I can guarantee you’ve never heard of. They’re so obscure right now you’ll find only their 12-minute prog-metal epic “Empty Frames” on their site, which you can download for free if you’re willing to sign up for the band’s mailing list. Trust me — it’s worth it … this song builds and builds, layering twist upon twist as they prove their instrumental mettle. This isn’t a 12-minute exercise in pretentious bullshit; these guys are ready to rock and they need the space this kind of aural canvas provides in order to let the music breathe. Consider it more of a song suite, an epic arrangement of half a dozen disparate hooks into one boldly daring example of what keeps me doing this job year in, year out.  This is a band I sure hope to hear a great deal more from in 2012.

MEMBERS

SCOTT WILSON:  Vocals, Guitar (Ex-Demiricous, Romance Morgue)
CHRIS CRUZ: Clean Vocals, drums (Ex-Demiricous, And currently in Lorenguard)
BILL PELON: guitars, noise/atmosphere (Ex-Whiskeytits, Romance Morgue)
JEREMY KING: Keyboards (Ex-Whiskeytits, Romance Morgue, Fax Arcana)

Stage collapse at Indiana State Fair Kills Five

State Fair collapse

The collapsed bandstand at the Indiana State Fair. Credit: Matt Kryger, Indy Star

UPDATE: (8/14, 12:30 p.m.) — The death toll is now at five, and the State Police have admitted that many of the injuries are severe enough that it’s not unexpected that the toll could rise. Meanwhile, Roger Edwards, from the Storm Prediction Center, has posted a call to action which I feel needs to be highlighted. It expresses the way I was thinking last night, though I don’t have more than an amateur’s appreciation for the prediction of storms … this all just seemed so preventable:

Large-venue weather disasters are not “acts of God”, they are failures of people. Why? Because the great majority of time, such weather now is predictable. I know this because the great majority of time in the modern era of forecasting, the potential for severe weather in the area is predicted! Yesterday, Indianapolis was in a severe thunderstorm outlook, watch and warning. And yet, the show must go on…really?

The problem is nothing new; as Les Lemon and I noted in nine years ago, covering decades of threat. In presentations nationwide, we have called attention to this matter using dozens of examples. In several expositions in this space, I’ve written about assorted “near disasters” (in Minnesota, Oklahoma, Texas, and Georgia) and the idea of “Atmospheric Terrorism” as a conceptual starting point for motivating and undertaking preparedness. Behind the scenes, we work to educate media and venue organizations, and mostly get friendly and open reception in doing so. Les has been an absolute bulldog about this in terms of gathering people together who could make a difference, and I am sure his efforts and those of others eventually will save lives.

What else? This is damn frustrating, because events like the Indy stage collapse are so preventable. In perusing the website for the fair as of this writing, I find nothing even remotely resembling a severe-weather plan of action…not even any severe-storm shelters marked on the fairgrounds map. Alas, this missing-information phenomenon is nothing new either, in my experience of searching venue websites immediately after they’ve experienced a disaster or nearly one.

The show must go on.

Governor Mitch Daniels, the State Police, and any number of online commentators have blamed the wind for this, saying the gust front (or outflow winds, as Edwards called them) was completely unexpected. But severe weather warnings are given as well in advance of the storm as possible for the very reason that you cannot tell for certain what will happen or when … forecasts are probabilities.

The fact that Indianapolis was under a severe thunderstorm special statement, watch and then a warning, should have led to the outdoor concert being cancelled or postponed.

The crowd should not have been there.

And even at 8:45 p.m. the announcements put the pressure on the fans. If you’re worried about the weather, go seek shelter, but the band’s going to be up in five minutes … do you really want to be the one to not see the show?

It’s not my intent to be insensitive to the grieving of the families, and there’s plenty of blame to go around when it comes to the Fair’s organizers. But these things need to be said so it won’t happen again. And again. And again. As a music critic who attends concerts like this regularly, I question what I would have done as an attendee, and in the end — as a fan and a writer — I hate to say, I would have stayed in my seat until told I had to leave. I wouldn’t want to miss the show over a little rain and wind.

That’s why the venue has the responsibility to make it so. If the weather’s bad, cancel the event to save lives. Better to seem alarmist and protect crowds at an outdoor event than to ignore warnings and have a disaster on your hands.

UPDATE: (8/14, 12:55 a.m.) – A State police spokesman said via WISH TV out of Indianapolis that an evacuation plan was being developed at the time of collapse due to a storm anticipated to hit around 9:15 p.m., but that it was not a “particularly severe event, but rather a gust of wind” which brought the bandstand down. No information is available re: who built the stage or what the structure involved, but such things will be reviewed. The State Fairgrounds will be closed on Sunday, and all scheduled events have been cancelled. Events are expected to resume on Monday, and there will be a public memorial at the Fairgrounds.

UPDATE: (11:05 p.m.) — According to meteorologist Scott Dimmich from Evansville, Indiana’s WEHT-25, the National Weather Service issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning 16 minutes prior to the stage’s collapse (at least going with the time the Indianapolis Police Chief has quoted when reporting the collapse.) One has to wonder what contingency plans the State Fair planners had in place for such an event — how do you clear thousands of concertgoers to safety in the event of a thunderstorm or tornado warning?

ORIGINAL STORY:  A strong gust front ahead of a storm this evening caused the bandstand at the Indiana State Fair’s Sugarland concert to collapse. According to the Indy Star, the coroner has confirmed four concertgoers have died, and dozens have been injured. The gust front led to the collapse shortly before 9:00 p.m. according to Indy Star reporter David Lindquist, who was in attendance.

This is breaking news, so there are obviously going to be developments in this story over the next few days. It’s almost certain that there will be no more concerts during the remainder of the Fair’s run, which was scheduled to include a Janet Jackson performance on Wednesday, Maroon 5 and Gavin Degraw on Thursday and Lady Antebellum on Friday. But with this not being the first major stage collapse to plague a major outdoor concert this summer, it seems appropriate to wonder what promoters are going to do in the future to prevent this kind of thing from happening.

Had Sugarland been on the stage at the time, they almost certainly would have been killed. Obviously this is going to affect how the band treats similar outdoor situations. Right now our thoughts are with the victims of this tragedy, but when the dust settles it is important that bands and concertgoers alike speak up and make sure those who plan major outdoor events are prepared for weather-related situations, and that the safety of all attending is treated with the utmost importance.


Album Reviews: Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos – “Buzzard”

Buzzard

My review of Indianapolis-based indie-alternative band Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos’ new album Buzzard is now up on Stereo Subversion! Feel free to check it out there for the full review, or read a clip below:

Richard Edwards can be an uncompromising bandleader. He knows what music he wants to make and how he wants to make it, and if fans aren’t ready to come along for the ride, or if record industry “know alls” decide they know what’s better for him, he’ll tear everything apart to regain control. I interviewed him for Ball State’s 72 Hours in 2004 back when he was part of Archer Avenue, and he was quick to tell me his music wasn’t for everyone and he wasn’t trying to make music that would fit that mold.

So it didn’t surprise me to see the band, on a major label in 2008, bucking the system by daring to release Animal/Not Animal as a dual album, the first being the label’s album, the second being their “director’s cut.” I also wasn’t surprised to note that in many cases the record label had been right. Sometimes artists need editors, and in the case of Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s, bypassing the gatekeeper made for a bizarre dual-album experience that was often less than the sum of its parts. It certainly wasn’t up to the lofty debut the band had made with 2006’s The Dust of Retreat, which remains one of my favorite albums from the last five years, indie or not.

A lot of fuss has been made over the band’s membership shifts when preparing for the release of third album, Buzzard, but put that shit to rest. If every band needs an editor, sometimes the makeup of a band can need some trimming and reconstructing as well. The band began with eight members, which created frequently complicated arrangements and sonic diversions which, while interesting to a point, tended to make some of their music lean toward the obtuse. There were always some great hooks there, but listeners had to be willing to listen repeatedly and dig, dig, dig.

To read the rest, visit Stereo Subversion.