I know, adulting is hard.
Finding the time and money to see all the great bands that come through Indianapolis can be a constant sense of twisting the knife – no matter how many good ones I get to see, there are so many traveling bands that slip through the cracks. And weeknight shows can be the worst, both for the bands and the venues, never knowing if touring songwriters will have an audience of more than the bar staff.
But the Melody Inn has made its bones over the years by bringing in these amazing bands night after night, and the shows never cost much – for $20 you should be able to throw back a few band beers (Miller High Life) and pay your cover, with money left over to tip your bartenders.
Here are five bands coming through the Mel for weeknight shows over the next two weeks who you may not have heard of, but whose music is worth dropping in for a visit, even if it means a bleary-eyed morning at work afterward.
We can, after all, be adults and still find time to rock.
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May 19th with S-E-R-V-I-C-E, Pravada and There Are Ghosts
Check out their music: https://biohio.bandcamp.com/releases
A minimalistic band from Cincinnati focusing on bass, drums and vocals, imagine Indianapolis’ Brother O’ Brother if they focused on an alternative grunge sound with a bass focus rather than all the crunching guitars and Black Keys influences. Besides, how often do you get to see a band really put strong bass-playing front and center? Just $6 for a Friday night show and four bands.
Ian Fitzgerald and Something Else (Rhode Island)
May 24th with Jeff Kelly and the Graveyard Shift and I Dream in Evergreen
Check out their music: https://www.facebook.com/kburgess/videos/t.17603575/704934494298/?type=2&theater
In a more Folk-y mood? Aside from the opportunity to check out two of Indianapolis’ better-kept secrets in Jeff Kelly and I Dream in Evergreen, Ian Fitzgerald and his first touring band Something Else provide another solid reason to pop by the Mel and drop $5 on a mid-week show. The band features Fitzgerald alongside Seamus Weeden, of Smith & Weeden, MorganEve McSwain and James Maple. The latter two were in The Huntress and Holder of Hands). MorganEve is an insanely good fiddle player, and the band clearly, based on what I’ve seen via online clips, has gelled quickly as a unit. Teaming them up on the same night as Jeff Kelly’s Graveyard Shift, and it should be a great night for lovers of great music.
Sound & Shape (Nashville)
May 25th (openers unknown)
Check out their music: https://soundandshape.bandcamp.com/
This Nashville band would be worth $5 even if there were no other bands playing – I’m sure the venue has an opening act scheduled, but none were listed on the email I got at the beginning of the month. That said, check them out beforehand and you’ll hear a strong rock band on the rise, one you can see at the Mel in an intimate, musician-friendly environment. Their bandcamp page features their 2014 album Bad Actors, which though outdated, gives a good example of the band’s sound. It should be a great opportunity to hear the band’s latest songs off their EP Peasants, and have a few beers while you look toward the long holiday weekend.
Watching For Foxes (Michigan)
Folk Family Revival (Texas)
May 31st with Justin Duenne & the Midnight
Watching for Foxes stands out with a cinematic folk vibe and instrumentation that really lets their songs stretch. If you enjoy the music of We Were Promised Jetpacks or Lord Huron, you’ll definitely enjoy their sound – or locally, if you want a more subdued Stay Outside, you’ll have an interesting comparison. Folk Family Revival’s stuff has a more rockabilly vibe, reminding me a great deal of Ward Hayden’s work with Girls, Guns and Glory. If you dig Hot Rod Nebula, but also like Bakersfield country, you’ll really enjoy their latest single “I Drew A Line,” which you can stream on their website. This show will cost you $10, but even for a Wednesday show, how often do you get to see two national touring acts live on the same night? Plus local songwriter Justin Duenne never disappoints – this one will be a perfect way to send May out flying!