As anyone who has had the conversation with me surely knows, anytime I get talking about Indianapolis (where I just spent four formative years of my life at university), I point out my biggest complaint about the city is that it doesn't really have any personality or character of its own. Instead, it's just kind of stuck in between everything: it's too big to be "mid-sized" and too suburban to be "big," it's not dynamic enough for jet-setters and go-getters, nor laid-back enough for bohemians and artists, and it's smack dab in between Chicago, Columbus, St. Louis, and Louisville. (Indeed, I know very few people who actually claim they're from Indy... Even amongst people who've lived there quite a while, they generally resist attaching themselves to the city, instead claiming "Chicago," "The Region," "St. Louis," or if they're a Hoosier [myself included] it's whatever town they were born in. Most people that live in Indy, it seems, is by default rather than by choice...)
Now, this is fine if you want to run a trucking company or open a new chain of family dining establishments, BUT (and this brings me to the point in conversation that I inevitably get to), if you want to see nationally-recognized music artists... Well, it makes things a bit more difficult. Instead, most "big" names (all things being relative, speaking as a fan of so-called "indie music") stick to Chicago, while the up-and-comers usually go to the quintessential college town Bloomington to the south. Louisville and Columbus both also have pretty well-established local scenes, which is also a testament to their major campus presences as well (which is another key factor missing in the Indy equation...).
And so, after having just returned from a 3-day trip to the Chilean countryside in Cajón del Maipo (where I noticed an astonishing amount of Piñera paraphernalia, which all makes sense considering General Pinochet owned a guest home there...), why am I talking about Indianapolis?
Well, after sitting down at my computer after a brief absence and pulling up my email, the first page I pulled up was Pitchfork.com (and feel free to interpret what this says about me however you please...) and the news headline was regarding a new single from one of my favorite bands in the world, Titus Andronicus. And, most importantly, not only are they announcing a massive tour that includes numerous *free* in-store performances across the US, Indy-freaking-anapolis is one of the stops, AND they're even looking for places to crash for the night!
I did have the good fortune to be one of (I'm being generous) the five people who caught them at an in-store at Luna Music the last time they were in town (and I think the only person not behind the counter that was there specifically to see them play...) and, needless to say, they were spectacular. And they're also the only lo-fi indie punk band that I can think of that exudes such a gloriously-epic character and can pull off references to obscure Shakespearean tragedies, "Seinfeld," Albert Camus, and the (American) Civil War. If you're not the least bit interested or aroused by now, then you're probably not a very close friend of mine or should at least stick to reading my posts on politics...
And so, with all that being said:
IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE IN INDIANAPOLIS ON APRIL 20TH(!!) (OR ANY OTHER CITY ON THEIR ITENERARY FOR THAT MATTER WHEN THEY ARE IN TOWN), I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU GO SEE THEM!!! And, better yet, LET THEM SLEEP ON YOUR COUCH!
P.S.- One final important note: all my "criticism" of where I come from is dashed with a hearty helping of love. Indianapolis does at the very least try to define itself, primarily as a top-rate sports destination, though I wish there was more of a focus on my beloved Butler Bulldogs, and their most popular pro sports team was stolen in the middle of the night...
But seriously, there are a lot of great things about the city outside of the rather limited appeal that sports can have, including a tremendous art museum, great neighborhoods in Broad Ripple, Mass Ave, and Irvington, and, of course, a tenacious local music scene that includes great venues such as The Melody Inn and The Emerson Theatre.
P.S.S.- Did I really go this entire time w/o saying "Nap Town"???