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"...nothing beats seeing 3 independent artists in a small venue."

Concert Review: Mixed Race Independent Music

A little bit of rock, a little bit of punk, a little bit of pop, a whole lot of fun, and all of it can be found in our own backyard of Indianapolis.

Coming to you from the State Street Pub comes a show featuring New Jersey punks Lost In Society, as well as Indy’s own Bybye and Hero Jr.

Big shows are fun, but smaller venues and up-and-coming artists will always have a special place in my heart. There’s a very DIY feel to the whole thing, the shows are smaller and more intimate, and most of the artists rely on raw talent rather than production. So here we go. Off to the pub to watch some music. Allons-y.

It’s a beautiful, but relatively quiet evening just outside the city. The surrounding neighborhood is pretty calm (even after the guys in Lost In Society broke out their skateboards trying to kill time until the show). All three bands eventually show up and start moving their gear inside and exchanging pleasantries in the process.

It’s a modest crowd in the early going, which was to be expected on a Wednesday night. As I found my seat at the bar and ordered my food (but not a drink because I do have to drive home later), our first band has taken the stage. Let’s listen to Bybye for a bit.

The classic NSYNC song is sampled throughout (guess which one?) before they go right into their near-30 minute set. They’re definitely the odd band out for the evening, utilizing more of an electronic/soul sound. Despite my reservations when I saw “experimental” on their Facebook page, I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a very smooth sound, and it goes down very easy (unlike the bottle of whiskey I cracked open recently). A few people are even nodding their heads along to the music. It feels like this would be more suitable in lounge rather than a small bar on the east side. There aren’t many breaks in the action (except to keep telling Evan from Hero Jr happy birthday), but this short set is definitely sweet.

We’ll keep the action moving from here. A few more people have shown up (especially around the bar, as I found myself of several loud conversations. Hey, I was sitting here first!), and our lone out-of-state guests are setting up.

I first saw Lost In Society about two years ago, performing at Radio Radio in Fountain Square. I had been impressed by their energetic melodic punk sound. A lot can happen in that time, so let’s see how things go this time around.

This band really seems to have one gear: full steam straight ahead. They keep the energy very high for the 30-or-so minutes they performed. Their Bouncing Souls-meets-Rise Against with maybe a little Anti-Flag thrown in for good measure resonates with a few people around the bar. Actually, with how much they put into the show, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if this show wasn’t in a bar, and in a regular music venue where the hardcore punks could do what they do. In short, Lost In Society is enjoyable, and they’re loud, and they’re doing their part to keep the spirit of punk rock alive.

We now move on to our final act: a band from around Indianapolis that I’ve admired ever since I got into this gig. We’ve crossed paths many times and I’ve been to about as many shows over the years. Let’s take a few moments to watch Hero Jr.

This time around, the rock n’ roll quartet was operating as a trio for the first time in ages, as guitarist Ken Rose was sidelined due to an injury. Was it noticeable? A little bit. Having been the first time I’ve seen them “plugged in” in a while, you kind of notice how much Rose adds to their sound. Regardless, the band pressed on to deliver an enjoyable 30-minute set of mostly older songs (the ones you could perform with one guitar). It’s a more relaxed Hero Jr. for this show, and they look like they’re just here to have fun with it, and that they do. This is a band that enjoys playing for a hometown crowd, and although they didn’t seem to go all out like they usually do, they still looked to have a bit of fun on a Wednesday night.

Much like Cinderella, when the clock strikes midnight, the party is over (the bar also closes around this time and we are next to a neighborhood. So it’s back to my car we go and back to my computer where I can type these words out as I think back to that night.

Final verdict:

Sure, big shows are fun, but nothing beats seeing 3 independent artists in a small venue. The shows are more intimate, you can interact with the bands more, and the DIY aspect of it really comes through, giving you a better appreciation for what they do. Besides, every band starts somewhere, and seeing it all happen is a cool thing to witness.

If you take anything away from this, support artists big and small.

The Good:

This was a very relaxed show. What it lacked in things like big production or sound, it made up for in just being a fun environment for anyone who stopped by. It felt more like a group of friends getting together to jam. Plus, for my first trip to the State Street Pub, I think I might have to stop by again sometime.

The Bad:

Sometimes going to a show by yourself can be a drag, like when you’re sitting at the bar and people are reaching over you and talking loudly while the band is performing.