February 23, 2012

LIFESTYLE: The Melody Inn & The Toasters

by A.G. Hurt

I had this plan of a sort of triumphant return to the world of music journalism when I set out to work on this piece. Over the past summer, I interned (read: worked as a journalist for free) at an arguably successful music website. It was a good experience, all told. I got into shows for free, saw a combination of awful bands and shows I liked quite a lot and got an opportunity to write in a way I hadn’t done in quite a long time. With the start of school last fall, though, I let the internship fall by the wayside, disinterested in trying to cover multiple music venues and go to classes full time. But here recently, a friend of mine had asked for content for the Campus Citizen, I put two and two together, and there I was as a music reporter again.

So I found myself at the Melody Inn for Punk Rock Night on February 18th. How did that go? Honestly, not particularly well. For most of the night, I was just pondering what to write. Call it writer’s block or what have you, just nothing was coming to me. I mean, ostensibly, I should review the show. I could tell you how I disliked Roach Beach (they were just so absolutely average) or how I even more seriously dislike Neon Love Life (the local girl-rock act that seems to be leaning heavily on the girl aspect over talent) or even how I was shocked to learn there was a ska band in Indianapolis I’d never even heard of (they’re called Coolidge, they’ve been around for three years, and they’re not too bad). I just used an outrageous amount of parentheses in that last sentence, so I’m going to make an effort to not use any more.

Really, though, I just wanted to write about the Toasters. I mostly went to the show in the first place because of them. The Toasters are an old school ska band from New York, one of the pioneers of the third wave ska craze of the late eighties and early nineties. To most in my generation, they’re probably most recognizable for the theme song from the Nickelodeon show KaBlam!, actually a song titled Two-Tone Army. I’ve seen The Toasters a few times in the past and they always put on a good show. Even in the fairly cramped dance floor of the Melody Inn, they got the crowd moving well.
But even listening to them, I didn’t have much inspiration to write. I’d hoped to get an interview with their lead singer, Robert “Bucket” Hingley, a British ex-patriot and long-time frontman of the band. It wasn’t to be, though; the band had to high tail it to West Virginia by the following night and had little intention of hanging around after the show.

So what’s the deal, then? Am I burned out on music journalism? Maybe, but I don’t particularly think so. I had a good time (great time, actually. Damn, used parentheses again), danced to my heart’s content and all that. I enjoy the Melody Inn, even if its layout is a little odd and it gets crowded with a full house like The Toasters brought in. For as small as the place in, they bring in some pretty big acts. Hell, The Ataris will be there this coming Sunday. And Punk Rock Night is a weekly event, with varying themes and acts from all across the country coming in. The place isn’t a one trick pony, either. All kinds of different music acts play throughout the week, probably something for just about everyone. It’s actually fairly remarkable for such an old bar (the place dates back to 1935, after all, making it one of the oldest in Indy). I certainly plan to head back there in the near future.

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