Formal introduction to Indianapolis: Accomplished. The album release of You, Me, and the Monster by new Roaring Colonel group Hotfox hit on full force last Friday at the Earth House Collective. Technically savvy with yearning hearts, this group plays hard with what appears to be a teenage chip on their shoulders. Whether intentional or not, their most noticeable influence was bred from a 90s grunge appeal. Play soft, play hard, it does not matter as long as they are banging it out. Check out their new song AK-47. Ragin’!
Taped, written and experienced by Brett McGrath
This video was shot by Brett McGrath on his iPhone. It does not suck. Neither did his seats.
Even after jazz at the Chatterbox (the perfect post-show bar by the way), a night of sleep, and a morning of reflection, my mind is still blown by Bon Iver’s performance last night. With that being said, please be patient while I attempt to gather my thoughts and articulately portray my magical evening.
After an incredible performance by The Rosebuds, Bon Iver took the stage and opened with a stunning rendition of “Perth.” This song was only the beginning of the emotional story Justin Vernon would tell throughout the duration of the night. For every song, you see, was part of this bigger picture…this beautiful journey we all took part in on a Monday night at the Murat. As I’m looking at the set list now I’m wishing I could write a paragraph about each song and how it so intricately fit into Vernon’s mind map of music and words. “Calgary” nearly brought me to tears, “Blood Bank” was epic, and don’t even get me started on the acoustic “Skinny Love” or the Bjork cover, “Who is it?”
This concert was more than a 10 piece band on a stage, it was an experience. Although all were spectacular, my favorite part of the night was not the perfect and meticulous lighting, the thought provoking lyrics, or the life changing harmonies. My favorite part of the evening was the relationship between Bon Iver and Indianapolis.
Throughout his performance he complimented the crowd on our attentive yet interactive behavior. Now of course this is fairly typical for any musician trying to build a connection with the audience; however, there was something very different about this night, this concert, this crowd. Indianapolis was alive and there was no denying it. As we all anxiously joined in to clap to the beat there was a feeling of solidarity I had never felt before—Bon Iver had never felt before. It became very apparent that the band not only recognized this solidarity but was humbled by it. Vernon even stated, “You’re on your feet. That’s insane. You’re working hard.”
Once the encore was complete the band just stood there for a few minutes, genuinely impressed with the enthusiasm and spirit of Indianapolis. As we cheered and watched Bon Iver take it all in, I noticed they were staring back at us in awe. It was a mutual exchange of love and respect. They knew we fell in love with the show…their music…their chemistry. We knew they fell in love with us as an audience…a being…a city. What a monumental love story.
For one of the first times, Indianapolis had made a true and honest mark on a band’s national tour and that feeling was more than palpable.
As someone who has been fighting for musicians like Bon Iver to visit Indianapolis for years, last night was more than a victory, it was a moment of pure pride. Groups like My Old Kentucky Blog (MOKB) and IndyConcerts have worked their tails off to make Indianapolis a known stop on any band’s tour and well, I tip my hat to you guys. You not only got them here but you proved it was well worth their while.
This realization comes at a very interesting time for me…as I will be moving to Portland, OR in just a few short weeks. While I’m going to miss nearly everything about the city I’ve called home for 25 years, I feel last night gave me the reassurance to know its okay to leave. Of course I will never believe my work in music is complete, but now Indianapolis has shown me there at least 2,300 people with the same goal in mind.
I couldn’t be more thrilled and excited for you, Indianapolis music fans. This is your time! With bands like The Head and the Heart, Yuck, ands Cults coming through Indianapolis, I find myself saying something I never thought I would—“I’m going to miss so many good shows in Indianapolis after I move to Portland.” I know Portland will have an amazing music scene but this is just different. We worked for this. We earned this and we deserve this.
Written and experienced by Laura Ferguson
This story was also featured on IndyConcerts.com