23 May. 2011

Concert Review May 20: New Clear Threat, Katie Kerkhover, The Slappies, and The Grinning Man @ The Vollrath

Friday night at The Vollrath was an interesting insight into the music scene.  Four very talented bands played to a sparse crowd.  This did not deter performances or their appreciation for each other’s talent.  Let me be honest here, New Clear Threat and The Slappies are not the kind of music I would listen to voluntarily.  Now that I made this confession out loud, I will tell you they won me over with their enthusiastic delivery of their music.

New Clear Threat from Chicago arrived and started the show with a rousing set of Punk/Thrash.  This was their first trip to Indy, so in between songs they asked the locals where to find the Crown Point Brewery.  The fact that is was on tap at The Vollrath probably made the trip worthwhile.  The members are Eric on vocals, Warren – guitar, Charlie – guitar, Aaron – bass, and James – drummer.  This band has been together for ten years and performs with a passion.

I chatted with NCT after their set to learn they are just now starting to branch out of the Chicago area to tour.  They would like to get to the east coast and especially have D.C. in their sights because they like the music coming out of that area.  Their website http://www.nctchicago.com/ will be up and running this week.  Make sure you visit it and look for them on You Tube.

Next up was Katie Kerkhover and the Die Nasties from Nashville.  Meeting Katie the first thing you notice about her is she is tiny, once she starts to perform though her size is equivalent to a shot of tequila, and she keeps lining them up song after song.  An amazing band backs her girl rock anthems delivered with high energy.  Members Tim Crave – guitar (and wearer of checkered Vans btw), Blake Hickey – guitar, Henry G – bass, and returning local Andy Grooms – drums played with the same ferocity.

All of us girls who have ever stood in front of our bathroom mirror and sang into our curling iron; Katie is whom we wanted to sound like.  Furthermore, few of us would have complained if we looked like her either.  Katie’s website is http://www.katiekerkhover.com/ where you can hear her last album and look for the upcoming new songs.

The Slappies were up next with a heavy hitting set of garage punk.  The Slappies were led by Mike – vocals, guitar, and joined by Rick – bass, Chris – guitar, and Curt on drums.  They have been together for about four years, and known as Smash and Grab before.  Recently they picked up Rick and changed their name to The Slappies.

Their songs like Monster Truck, Follow the Road, and  Borrowed Time were short and thunderous.  All four are active while playing and this group is great to watch.  You can follow them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Slappies/148584091843976 and see them next at the Melody Inn on May 28.

The Grinning Man wrapped up the night with an instrumental set, which displayed this extremely talented trio.  JD – guitar, Matt – bass, and Mike on drums played an eclectic set of music that alternated between rocking the place and offering celestial sounding pieces.  In their pre-concert interview, they told me musicians usually appreciated them more than venues or listeners.  This was not the case Friday not, they quickly won over the crowd once they started playing.

In the middle of the set, Matt added his vocals to one song.  I was a bit shocked; he was the quietest one in the interview.  Yet when he sings, he is a powerhouse.  Talking to the band prior, they were planning to write more vocals into their music.  I would like to hear more vocals but also think they should keep a good balance with their instrumentals.  Check out their website on http://thegrinningmanband.shutterfly.com/ and make it a point to go see them perform.

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