The Indie 500 is a special event. The first one took place on the Trunk Space’s tenth anniversary, and, if memory serves correct, a joint celebration of a new air conditioning unit that was public funded. However, that isn’t what makes it special. It is that it brings together a bunch of different musicians and genres that I don’t always get to make it to. Plus you can jump in and out of it, like I did last year, and catch a bunch of music at any time of the day or night for a day and a half. To further explain the Indie 500, bands will be told a set number of songs to play to help with tracking numbers. This article covers catching about one hundred of the five hundred songs, including a headliner in Kimya Dawson. Think of it as a snap shot of what you experience at an Indie 500.
I got there anticipating I probably would miss Kimya Dawson, and turned out it was near the beginning of her set. If you are scratching your head, saying that name sounds familiar, then you are correct. She is most known for being a part of the Moldy Peaches and for her work on the Juno soundtrack. The first thing that stood out to me is that I ended up sitting in a church pew for the first time in years. The set was a mix of her regular songs, and the children’s songs she puts out. A great personality up there, reflected in and out of her songs. She laughs off any flubs playing, and cracks sarcastic jokes. For example, at one point hoping she can play a well-known song of hers and pointing out how her thumb used to go faster. This was my second time seeing her live, and it is a joy each time.
From there I found myself running over to the main Trunk Space to see an already established favorite in this local scene, Zero Degrees North. These punk rockers are full of energy, which is exemplified by Ava. With her wireless receiver for the bass, she runs in and through the crowd. Tonight it created a little technical difficulty that didn’t deter her. She spent a song just moshing around when she couldn’t get the bass to work. It was immediately reminded me why I love the crowds at Trunk Space. If you haven’t seen these guys, put them on that list of “To Do” quickly.
Then in this great Easter egg hunt, over to the basement stage for Mullarkey’s band Run-On Sunshine. They are a Trunk Space staple. The instruments were played off of a recorded cassette. Mullarkey was completely into it, moving everywhere while singing. The last song Andy Warpigs and a drummer joined them to close it out with real instruments behind the music. It was awesome to see Mullarkey performing music for my first time.
Up the stairs and to the main Trunk Space stage to see Nick Perkins. This was a cool dynamic, as he does hip hop, but enlists a full Jazz band. They played good Jazz too. Nick does his hip hop over the songs as they are played. I was entertained by his sense of humor, plus midway through the set playing a fast song to get the crowd bouncing around. Nick Perkins was one of the standout discoveries of my Indie 500 experience.
From there I entered the Hope Hall for my first time of the night to see the Smiling Faces. This is the auditorium Playboy Manbaby had their release show. This was a fun indie rock sound with the TV playing an assortment of things from Elvis to Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I enjoyed the energy up there on the stage.
I went down the stairs over to the basement for the first electronic artist for my Indie 500, Terminal 11. The thing about these kinds of artists I find at the Trunk Space, it isn’t the traditional remixes and samples of songs. They use sound boards that they create rhythms off of their pressing of buttons. Adding to the experience is seeing the patterns of the LED’s on the board jump around. Not the most informative on the genre, but do enjoy grooving to it.
The fun run for the next stage space was the main Trunk Space stage for Lil Trip. They reminded me of Weezer. From the way they played guitar keys, to the pace of the beat. It was a good, slower alternative rock set. They were smiles and enjoying themselves up there as they played their set of songs.
Back over at the basement stage, I was finally catching Rum Drinker. These guys made me thing of a grunge band at times, and then a hard punk band at other times. The keyboard’s inclusion made me start thinking horror punk too, with that fresh in my head from earlier in the week. An enjoyable, high energy set came from Rum Drinker.
Running up the steps I immediately heard our next band in the courtyard, Drunk and Horny. Two of my favorite local musicians make up this band. Tonight that was Ryan with a megaphone and Andrew on accordion. I suppose I should say this is more of a serenade over a megaphone and with topics like that of cocaine. Both members in high energy, running around and interacting with the people of the audience gathered around. Drunk and Horny are one of the standout acts I caught on this night.
Back indoors we went to catch my second helping of Aerico in a week’s span. They are an intense band to watch play. They kept reminding us that their bassist was on acid for the set, and doing a good job too. People were bouncing around, creating a circle pit for the entirety. The set ended with a bang, literally, as their lead vocalist kicked over the TV stand with his pedals. Aerico got more entertaining to me within the week.
Down to the basement we went, catching a man and his computer that go by the name Wayward Son. He actually mentioned he didn’t bring the full equipment so it could be distinguishable when one song ended and the next began. It was cool watching him play guitar along with his composed music processing through the laptop. He was one of my favorite surprises of the night.
Continuing the running around, in the main Trunk Space I was greeted with another one of the electronic musicians, Deadsnake. His was more of a mix of noises composed on a soundboard mixed with a keyboard. Again, not my biggest area of expertise, but it was a great listen.
I was finding more electronic artists in a row at this point with Hex Marrow down in the basement. He was another with a mix of different soundboards putting out a beat and other ambient noises. The only thing about this is that it was good music to zone to, and my energy was starting to wane. No matter, I continued to push on for a few more musicians.
One of my favorite electronic musicians greeted the crowd covered in purple lights and in the dark, Lav Andula. It looked more like the use of pedals and less a soundboard for the music composed here. They moved about with the lights covering them. At points, they were singing into the microphone along with the music being composed. Lav Andula was another one of the artists that stood out to me.
My last musician of the computer and soundboard generated music was Daniel Fury in the basement. He was composing his tracks with a mix of equipment and laptop. At this point, I was taking a seat and making sure zoning out to the music didn’t mean sleeping.
I had decided I’d use my phone to be the factor of leaving and with nine percent battery left I caught Aorta. This three piece band was composed of Blake doing vocals and ukulele and two female vocalists. They had great voices for singing, with good harmony together. I enjoyed catching Aorta’s set as my phone’s battery wound down.
I thought that would have been it for my phone, but it powered through on four percent to get me to see the awesome guys that make up Clay-Fighter. Andy Warpigs put in my head that they were like Primus, and the moment I heard them I could see it too. However, unlike Primus, they have guitars in their tracks. The keyboardist at one point juggled it like a guitar as he played. The dialogs with the audience were weird in a funny way. They closed on a song that they described as playing Battlefront 2. My phone died two thirds through their set, but I don’t think I could have asked for a better band to close my 2017 Indie 500 with than Clay-Fighter.