April Fool’s Day usually brings out the chicanery and subterfuge in us all. For me, this April 1 brought about denial of individual health care coverage from Blue Cross Blue Shield — that I wanted to pay for out of pocket, mind you (No fooling, for a 28 year old perfectly healthy male with no pre-existing conditions).
So with my livid disappointment teeming, I conjured the self-loathing willpower to bring myself to local haunt Mike and Molly’s for Elsinore’s spring tour kick-off show. Here I found an unexpected surprise in the pair of Indianapolis-based bands opening the evening. Both were seemingly bent on bringing the chicanery and subterfuge straight to your doorstep in a very serious (and sometimes, glitzy glam) fashion. Needless to say, I was pleasantly entertained along with the other 30 or so attendees.
First up was the heavily bearded, self-proclaimed “Fourth Best Band in Indiana”: Everything, Now! The band was fresh into the fifth day of a spring tour of their own, and directly aligning themselves for May dates with friends and fellow Indianapolis darlings, Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s. From the beginning, the music and energy effortlessly reached into the cellars of old psychedelic rock and roll, conjuring the tones of early Velvet Underground meets Ziggy Stardust, along with hints of Staxx-based soul.
In a more modern context, The Brian Jonestown Massacre came effervescently to mind. Toward the end of the set, the group (which has endured many lineup changes in its seven year existence) reminisced about the last time they played Chambana. That show boasted a crowd of two to three, one of whom was going to write his senior thesis on the show. Shame, shame indeed. The lead singer, drummer, and at times choral vocal harmonies carried many of the songs to very pleasant melodic arenas, while still grounding the audience in the barefooted tambourine-stomping charisma all 30 of us came to know so well. Another redeeming quality of the set was that their friends and “next on the bill” band members were standing in front and singing nearly every word (sometimes on stage) to their songs, like it was the first time they had come to see them play. After the set, I learned that their friends in the Indianapolis music community are the main source of inspiration for this up and coming neo-psych rock outfit. By the end of the night, I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to the “band of brothers” camaraderie felt at shows featuring Athens, Ga.-based bands, such as the 10 million member group Dark Meat. This set was just a preview of what was to come …
The next group cannot be properly described in the 200 or so words I have left to expound on the matter. Here goes nothing: Everthus the Deadbeats issued forth with all the honesty and integrity of those glitz-glam-pop days gone by. The start of the show featured a Boss Dr. Rhythm drum machine beat, followed by a yelling freakout session, which concluded in the lead singer and guitarist stripping down to reveal the black spandex unitards they supposedly obtained from American Apparel.
I immediately was propelled into the realization that I was witnessing a melting pot of the greatest rock-opera, music-laden movies I had ever seen, live on stage. It landed somewhere between Rocky Horror Picture Show, A Nightmare Before Christmas, and Tommy. The lead singer did everything in his power to convince me that he was in fact the hybrid of a darker Neil Diamond crossed with Vincent Price and Tim Curry (in the roll of Dr. Frank N. Furter).
The music was richly embedded with pristine, but eerie, call and response harmonies and keyboard heavy phrasing. Their songs are thematically rich in the science fiction genre, with stories of time travel; a tale of earth without humans, and all that remains are our bovine friends: cows; to a song about paying homage to “Hi-Definition Man”. The pop sensibility remained throughout, reminding me once again why I truly like groups such as They Might Be Giants. Simply put, they write songs that please the ear and make you laugh uncontrollably at the same time. What more could you want?
Everthus the Deadbeats – “Hi-Definition Man”
So the next time you are wanting to complain about not having health insurance or the fact that our lovely town “no longer has the music scene it once had,” take a chance on bands like Everything, Now! and Everthus the Deadbeats. I was pleasantly surprised, and it continued to quell (for me at least) the underbelly of the microscopic critical analysis of our scene. Good bands do play here. You just have to quit your trickery and tom foolery, get off the couch, and go to the shows. You might never know what you missed out on.
Photo and video by Gillian Gabriel.