The Broad Ripple Music Fest started early in a couple of the all-age joints and at least one bar. The air outside was perfect prototypical fall weather in Indiana which was conducive to taking the "shoe leather express" from one venue to another, if you had the time to ride it for a while. The places were fairly spread out. Acoustic folkster, Caleb McCoach got things started at Luna at noon, located a few blocks south of the main strip, while Spirit Spine treated customers to an ambient backdrop at Indy CD and Vinyl, located directly on Broadripple Ave. Japatucky launched things of at Local’s only around the same time, which is located a couple miles southeast of Broad Ripple. Despite the pleasant air, cars or buses were probably the preferred way to get around.
The beats got started at Northside News a couple hours later with sponsorship from Heavygunblog.com, which as the banner in the window notes is a “salute to all kinds of “badassery.” This seemed like an appropriate benefactor for a music showcase that started with the superhuman mixing of Cyclopean Superhero, hosted four beat battles, and climaxed at the end of the night with the Indy sensation, Mudkids. The venue was ideal for a direct experience with the artists. There was no elevated stage and the crowd gathered around the performers, or poured into the main area of the coffee shop through the postcard-decorated entryway. Some artists returned the love to their host in between sets, “Get some snacks, drinks, cigarettes, sandwiches or whatever.” Deeg of Blank Space assured the audience the sandwiches were worth having, after their well received set ended around 4pm.
Locals Only was doing the marathon performance thing more than anyone else, starting at noon and going all the way until Jookabox performed at 2am. Constant music is not a new thing for this bar that hosts local performances six nights a week. The bar had a sparse scene of stocking cap-clad music fans in skinny jeans when Hermit Thrushes, traveling through from Philadelphia, went on at 5pm. Standing in front of, and underneath, wire mesh figures in various poses the band showed their ability for musical multi-tasking. The lead singer delivered some impressive mid-air kicks, all while singing, hammering the xylophone, and playing the guitar. Disjointed, noise rock started the set and kept the listener curious as it finally morphed into more comprehensive and accessible songs for the finish. An entertaining discourse with a fan left everyone confused about whether a song was about braids, or dreads, or either at all.
Prayer Breakfast followed this performance, as the hipster crowd expanded. The night was coming on and more bar patrons were starting to make it out to the shows. This was an interesting junction as the featured band started to more closely resemble the fan base. The flannel shirts and straight-leg jeans worn by the band members directly reflected the audience’s general wardrobe. The sentiment of their songs also mirrored the crowd. Nodding heads and smiles followed each beat closely. Prayer Breakfast offered some atypical merchandise of LP’s and stuffed animals when all was over.
The sun was starting to go down on Broad Ripple as Bloomington native, Eric Radoux, was setting up his one man show at Indy CD and Vinyl. This set up was either not completely accommodating for a show, or pure marketing genius. People stood several feet away in the aisles as there wasn’t really any room to stand directly in front. While listening to Radoux loop segments of his trumpet playing, guitar strumming, and beatboxing, fans were almost forced to browse. It turns out this is a more enjoyable, but financially damaging, alternative to shoe-gazing. However, this method of listening to music doesn’t take anything away from the appreciation. Browsers and listeners alike gave the solo act a warm applause at the end of the set.
Cootie and the Rhinestones started setting up, around 8pm, for the two hour allotment of time they were given at the Monkey’s Tale. The make-up of the crowd had shifted once again. Here were the first cowboy hats of the evening, along with some western-style shirts. Those who weren’t in western wear donned casual clothes that one might put on to go to a sports bar, modest sweatshirts and polo shirts. The atmosphere of the bar was relaxing and casual, with candles and Christmas lights setting the mood.
Cootie took the stage shortly after 8pm for a song-style sound check and then actually got started about 20 minutes after that. The performance was more rocking than one might expect from the aesthetic of band and crowd. Every person wearing a cowboy hat, head banged at some point in the evening, or throughout the entire show. Both Cootie and the Rhinestones formed the ultimate bar band. They were rollicking and engaging, while at the same time performing their own original music. Different members of the band took turns singing and performing their own songs. To the audience’s delight they capped off these original numbers with covers of Neil Young, The Band and Johnny Cash.
Near the end of the night, The Alley Cat, winner of the “Best Final Stop on a Barhop” award as well as other accolades for being the best dive bar and the best bar for rocking out, saw some of the biggest crowds of the night. The audience took up the whole bar from wall-to-wall and yet things moved efficiently as long as the urge to pee or drink wasn’t too painfully overwhelming. A last-minute multimedia outfit set up and started rocking the pierced, dyed, and shaved heads at 10pm. The dark, instrumental reverberations were nicely complemented by a backdrop of projected chaotic images. Flashes of war and general government tyranny were broken up by intermittent calls to revolution. Their set was the perfect introduction to the night of hardcore sounds to follow with Slam Dunk, Pheonix Bodies and Demiricous all screaming their metal guts out.
That was the broad broadness of the Broad Ripple Music Fest. This of course was only a small cross section of the musical entertainment available and still shows some of the diversity the event had to offer. With fifteen venues playing music day and night and half of them being all ages and many of them free, there should have been no reason for any Indianapolis music fan to not be in attendance and judging from the impressive turnout this was pretty much the case.