Amuse/The Bloody Lips/Dopplepopolis - Live in Lafayette (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Amuse / The Bloody Lips / Dopplepopolis

Live in Lafayette (2018)

Live Show

This show was really just one piece of a bigger weekend trip. My daughter Alex and I spent a couple of days in Lafayette, IN, so that she could job shadow longtime Punknews contributor and recording engineer Greg Simpson. Greg works at the world famous Sonic Iguana, and also runs a studio out of his house called Velour Underground, so Alex was going to get some hands on experience in a couple different settings. I was also pretty excited about checking out the Sonic Iguana, as a good portion of the soundtrack of my youth was recorded there by owner/producer extraordinaire Mass Giorgini.

Greg’s band Dopplepopolis just happened to have a gig on that Saturday, April 14th. They were playing with my third favorite band from Indianapolis (after Sloppy Seconds and Zero Boys), Amuse. My Grand Rapids friends The Bloody Lips were also on the bill. It seemed like a stroke of good fortune and good timing, right? Well, not exactly. The show was 21 and up, and my Alex is not quite 17. It actually created a mini moral dilemma. Should I try to sneak her in? I’m not opposed to her going into a bar for a show. She’s been to a fair amount of dive bars for all ages shows. I wasn’t going to let her drink. I wasn’t even going to let her out of my sight. I’m also not opposed to being sneaky. The problem I had was, if I encouraged this flaunting of the rules, could I be mad if she tried it later with her friends?

The kid has a good head on her shoulders, so ultimately we decided to try it. I’m sure a few of you fretful parents will think I’m a monster. I will have to learn to live with the shame of your disapproval. (Mrs.Trauma wasn’t too crazy about it either.) We did have a plan B. If she got caught and we got thrown out, we were going to go to a late show of “A Quiet Place”. (Some of you might be shocked to learn that it wouldn't have been my first time getting kicked out of a bar.) In the end, we really didn’t even have to sneak. We just walked right in the back door. We got there before anyone was checking ID’s or collecting a cover charge.

The venue was an unassuming bohemian place without a stage. The bands set up on a big carpet on the back end of one of the two rooms. Local quartet Yesterday’s Chips came on first a few minutes after 9 pm. Three of the four dudes in the band were big, burly and bearded. I was a little concerned when their first song had a nü metal feel. A couple songs later they played the Fear classic “I Don’t Care About You” and I was sold. They described their sound as fat-core, and showed their commitment to this when the drummer and the singer removed their shirts. I appreciated their body positivity, but was a little grossed out when the singer got some sweat on me. Later they played the 35 year old Violent Femmes hit “Blister in the Sun” and the 20 year old Nobodys non hit “Scarred By Love”. Overall, it was a fun and energetic set.

By the time Yesterday’s Chips were done, we had pretty much stopped worrying about getting thrown out. I was steadily drinking 16 ounce cans of muscle relaxer/liquid courage. (I had a designated driver!) The room filled right up when the first band started, and pretty much stayed that way for the rest of the night. The bands had to be pleased with the turnout. I was definitely impressed.

Dopplepopolis was up next, and the trio was was a pleasant surprise. I think of Greg as an indie rock guy, but this project is fairly straightforward punk. Greg and another guy in the band have a similar look, and split the set between guitar and drums. (Spoiler alert: they both have mustaches.) The name Dopplepopolis is even a play on doppleganger. All three members take turns at lead vocals. The only song I knew was a cover of Teenage Bottlerocket’s “I Found the One” sung by Greg, but I enjoyed them all. The band’s studio tracks have a bit of a new wave influence, and I’m going to spend some time checking them out.

I’ve gotten to know Kole and Taylor from The Bloody Lips pretty well over the last couple of years. It started when I interviewed their former band The Lippies. (That band broke up before I finished editing, so there is a lost Lippies interview out there.) I’ve enjoyed watching the the various bands rise from The Lippies’ ashes, and I’ve probably seen The Bloody Lips a dozen times. I didn’t tell them in advance that we were going to be there, so it was a fun surprise nearly four hours from home. The female fronted quartet was on fire on this night, and the unsuspecting crowd ate it up. BL’s were definitely the most aggressive band on the bill. Krystal’s shredded screams can take some getting used to, but that didn’t seem to bother the audience at all. I was happy to see how well the crowd responded to this strange, angry band.

I learned after the show that the band has some serious internal tensions. I think I could feel it in the intensity of their performance. After their last song, Josh smashed his drums all over the place and just layed there on the floor. I had never seen that before. I hope the band can hold it together. I really like each individual member. They’re also supposed to open for The Lillingtons and MakeWar back in Grand Rapids in a couple weeks in a show that’s a bit of a Red Scare reunion. (The sole Lippies LP was on Red Scare.) Hang in there guys (and gal).

Amuse has been on my radar since last year. Greg did some production work on their last EP, and sent it to me to check out. It's really catchy pop punk stuff along the lines of The Lillingtons and The Queers. Live, they also give off a goofy, Blink-182 vibe. Believe it or not, I mean that as a compliment. They're funny guys and are even easy on the eyes. Of all the bands on this night, Amuse definitely has the most potential for wider success. They played most of the songs from last year’s Life Sucks, including the title track, “I Want to Believe (In Me and You)”, “Tarkin” and “F.U.Y.”. Amuse has a new full length coming soon on Dodgeball Records, and you should probably check it out.

We ended up having a really great time. If you’ve never been to a punk show in Indiana, I highly recommend it. I’ve seen shows in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, South Bend and now Lafayette, and I’ve always had a blast. The people are very friendly. I had my alcohol enhanced social skills going and made a bunch of new friends. My kid had to drag me out of there. On the way back to our dumpy hotel, we did something very teenager-ish. We grabbed Taco bell at like 2am. It was a delicious end to a fun day.

Confessions of a merch whore: I didn’t end up paying the cover, due to the reasons mentioned previously. I decided to spend the money on merch (and beer) instead. I tried to buy a Yesterday’s Chips fat-core shirt, but ironically they didn’t have one big enough for me. (Are they fat posers?) I settled for their new EP. I also finally picked up a physical copy of Amuse’s Life Sucks EP. Dopplepopolis only had digital downloads for sale, so I decided to hold out for physical which is coming soon. I don’t have much real estate left on my vest, but I will certainly make room for my new Bloody Lips patch.