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Suck Fest Brings the Scene Together

August 3, 2010

Last Saturday’s Our Scene Don’t Suck Fest brought the Indianapolis music scene together to raise money for cystic fibrosis research.

The Irving

Suck Fest was a day-long indie music festival with a convention-like feel. It took place at the Irving Theater, an empty concert hall with stages set up at both ends. Once a band finished their set, the crowd rushed to the other side of the hall to hear the next one. Tables set up between the stages gave bands, promotion groups, and other scene denizens a place to hock their wares. When the crowd of teen/20-something music fans wasn’t head bobbing to a performance, they checked out the tables and chatted with friends and musicians.

Love Can’t Be Baht’s table particularly caught my eye. There I met Tyler Yentes, founder of the non-profit. Love Can’t Be Baht raises awareness and money for human trafficking victims.

The “Baht” in the group’s name has a double meaning. The baht is the currency in Thailand, where human trafficking is particularly prominent. It also stands for “Bands against human trafficking.” They sell t-shirts, buttons, and stickers at music events to raise money for the Rapha House, an organization that buys people out of the trade. It’s a worthwhile cause, especially considering that this horrific trade operates in our own country.

Back to the music– The 16 Suck Fest bands represented a mix of rock styles, including pop punk, emo, and hardcore. I have to admit that some acts were hit or miss.  But I was quite impressed with one band– They’ve Shot Flanigan.

Zach of They've Shot Flanigan

They’ve Shot Flanigan has a larger than life sound, mixing hard rock/80s guitar with smoother vocals.  They are adept songwriters, with the kind of mature, put-together sound you’d expect from a major artist. Unlike many indie (and not-so-indie) bands, they execute their slower songs with as much skill and creativity as their faster ones. And they put on one hell of a show. Front man Zach Stonerock burst onto the stage for the first song, staying just as kinetic throughout the performance, even hitting the floor. Davey Havok would’ve been proud. I cannot understand why they aren’t way bigger than they are now. I guess there’s not enough justice in the world.

News From Verona

News From Verona also put on a memorable show. They play upbeat Christian pop-rock. Now, is it just me, or are there a lot of Christian bands popping up lately? Maybe it’s a midwest thing? Not that I’m hating–I’m all about expressing your passion. Anyway, they gave a confident, engaging performance to an eager crowd. Plus, they incorporated some cool audience interaction. For “Victory,” they had the crowd wave little white flags. Glitter burst over the front rows to close out the song. Their music is quite catchy, but there were just a few too many “OOOOHs.” I know it’s a popular lyrical tool, but the pop-rock genre has got to move on.

Sadly, my camera died at the end of their set. But the timing was excellent, as I had to catch a bus home. I was disappointed to miss the later bands, especially Same As Sunday and Ghost of Maine. Next time, my friends, next time.

Overall, the coolest part of Suck Fest was seeing bands support each other. People I stood next to during one set later hopped on the same stage to perform. Chad Lehr of This Is Me even sang along with the audience during other bands’ sets. That kind of supportive communitas is the mark of true artists.

Suck Fest showed there’s a community of passionate and talented musicians, artists, and humanitarians in Indianapolis. I can’t wait to see what this scene will produce next.


Girl At The Show


The Irving:

Indy Miles of Money:

Good Fight Shows:

Love Can’t Be Baht – Official Site:

Love Can’t Be Baht on MySpace:

They’ve Shot Flanigan on MySpace:

News From Verona on MySpace:

This Is Me on MySpace:

Same As Sunday:

Ghost of Maine:

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