When I saw that ska/punk/hardcore/electro/everything collective Bomb the Music Industry! were returning to the Circle City, I jumped at the opportunity to go. Although they had just been through in June, their new album, Get Warmer, had left me hungry for more.
As various punks, squirts, wieners and other undesirables filed into the Underground (in the Basement of a defunct church-turned-art gallery), the opening act, Take 2 serenaded the crowd with their sloppy, silly take on the dignified ska-punk genre. It was quite goofy, but it got the crowd pumped for what was to be a stellar night.
Next up were Bloomington, IN rockers Prizzy Prizzy Please, whose mix of punk, rock, funk and pop drove the crowd into a wild frenzy of dancing and moshing, especially during their "hits," "Campfire Girls Weekend Party" and "Too Many T-Shirts."
Next up was ska-punk act Coinslot who put on a good show, but were hindered by two things: They could not keep up with Prizzy Prizzy Please, and the announcement from the show's organizer that BOMB THE MUSIC INDUSTRY WOULD NOT BE PLAYING THAT NIGHT!!!
Yes. It was true. Due to problems with both their trailer and the police, BTMI would not be able to make it to the show. The sound of hearts dropping into stomachs was heard throughout the venue. Coinslot finished their set and the bands went home. End of story? Well, not quite.
Jake Swiss, the organizer of the show was glued to his cell phone all night trying to work things out with BTMI. Eventually, a solution was found: BTMI would play a free house show the following afternoon.
Despite announcing to the melancholy crowd that was exiting the Underground that there would indeed be a makeup show for BTMI at "The Ska House," only ten people showed up. While it was sad that not more could make it, it was a rare treat for those present. Jeff Rosenstock (the BTMI mastermind) and his motley crew set up their equipment in the cozy living room of the ska house and, after a brief rest, ripped into a quick, half-acoustic set.
Mr. Rosenstock, on acoustic guitar, opened the set with the rousing number "Unlimited Breadsticks, Soup and Salad Days" from the band's latest album Get Warmer. From that point on, the set list was determined by shouts from the crowd. The next song was the brand new "Sadder?, Weirder?" which Mr. Rosenstock played solo (and for the first time live...ever). Next up was a trio of slower, sadder songs including "Future 86," "Sweet Home Canada" and "All Alone in My Big Lonely Apartment," the latter of which was accompanied by stomping, clapping and whistling, courtesy of the small, but happy crowd.
After playing "I'm Terrified" from the upcoming split with O Pioneers!!!, the band played a wonderful version of the Clash's "Hateful." Unfortunately, a broken guitar string forced the band to call the set to an end, but not without a rousing finale of "I Don't Love You Anymore."
As the band packed up to head off to Cincinnati, I couldn't help but think what a wonderful show I had just seen. To those who didn't attend (who literally number in the billions), such a show seems like such a quaint, forgettable thing. But for those who did attend, it was an extremely memorable moment. Without trying to felate BTMI, I am reminded of how the meager crowds must have felt when they went to see an unknown band called the Beatles at the Indra Club in Hamburg, or a bunch of rejects called the Ramones at CBGB's in New York or the noisy kids of Minor Threat at some house party in Washington D.C. It must have seemed so silly and small, but they must have known inside that it was a part of something huge. Kudos to bands like BTMI who fight the good fight and play for the music, but keep the fans in mind.