April 30. Walpurgisnacht. It’s all too appropriate that the monsters came out to play on the Witches’ Sabbath, halfway to Halloween and ready to rock the collective faces off of some Midwestern punks. Rich Barker and the amazing folks at Indianapolis’ Melody Inn have been hosting Punk Rock Night (every Saturday night, with a smattering of off-dates – including this one) for almost two decades, and this Punk Rock Night featured yet another amazing line-up of horror punk, pop punk, and a band that effortlessly fuses both of those sub-genres together to create music for misfits that kicks the ass of most of the big acts working in both genres today. Yes, The Jasons (Crystal Lake’s Favorite Sons), MakeWar (kickass, emotional pop punk from New York), and The Lillingtons (horror, science-fiction, and espionage fueled pop punk from Wyoming) took over Indianapolis for a night of face-melting, throat-ripping rock, and this horror kid couldn’t have been happier.
The night started with heavy metal burgers and beers at Kuma’s Corner, Indianapolis, with the big boss/head honcho Bryan Coffey. After knocking back a few tasty craft beers and a vegetarian Plague Bringer (and stealing a good deal of Bryan’s fries), we headed over to the Melody, just minutes before The Jasons were taking the stage. It’s no secret that I love those mongoloid bastards dearly, having shilled for… er… written about them on the site a few times, and, like every other Jasons’ set I’ve been lucky to catch, these slasher punks did not disappoint and slaughtered the stage. The Jasons’ played some mainstays of their catalogue – “American Slasher,” “I Wanna Be An Asshole,” “Loony Bin,” and also played a few songs from their newest album, Get Sued, which fuses the music of The Ramones with the lyrics of The Misfits. Despite frontman Jason V’s warning that this would “take all of the energy out of the room,” it in fact did the opposite, and the crowd went fucking crazy throughout the set.
After The Jasons left the stage, I slinked back through the crowd to grab a PBR and chat with The Jasons a bit, but my chatting with those mama’s boys soon ended as MakeWar took the stage and immediately became one of my favorite new bands. I was woefully unfamiliar with the music of MakeWar, but, for any fan of emotional, kickass power pop punk, it’s a safe bet that MakeWar will immediately become a favorite upon the first listen. As I was unfamiliar with their music before this show, I sadly cannot comment on the setlist for the night, but rest assured, the guys were amazing, launching into their set and proceeding to impress old and new fans alike. I have to thank my good friend and fellow horror-compatriot Josh Conrood for acquainting me with “Ode,” what I’m guessing is MakeWar’s absolute anthem; a rocking, driving tribute to both New York City and to nights spent drinking and rocking with friends in general. I immediately picked up both of their albums at the merch table, and for the past week and a half, they have dominated my earbuds.
Finally, after two terrific openers, The Lillingtons took the stage. Adored with pyramid necklaces, bathed in red light, and accompanied by a Baphomet statue overlooking the scene, The Lillingtons immediately launched into a massive, impressive setlist that covered most of their discography (sadly, due to the main songwriter of 2006’s The Too Late Show no long being a part of the band, The Lillingtons continue to not play songs from that album, which is a damn shame – they don’t hurt for impressive songs, but it would be great to hear some tunes from this album). The crowd, who admittedly rocked hard to both The Jasons and MakeWar, turned into a frenzied mass of battle jackets and black t-shirts through the entirety of The Lillingtons’ set, singing along to every Lillingtons tune. Hell, even The Jasons, in hockey masks and (faux?) leather pants were deep in the crowd, howling along like every other creep. The Lillingtons played a good deal of songs from their newest release, 2017’s Stella Sapiente (as well as from the preceding EP Project 313), but played many old favorites, too. “Final Transmission,” “Phantom Maggot,” “Invasion of the Saucermen,” and “One Armed Man” all delighted the crowd, and, when The Lillingtons finally launched into “Lillington High,” the crowd, who should have been entirely drained, went nuts, chatting “L-I-L-L-I-N-G-T-O-N-S” along with the band. I couldn’t imagine them playing a more perfect set.
In total, the show was an absolute blast, and one hell of a night of punk rock. Melody Inn’s Punk Rock Night never fails to do my little black heart good, and it’s always an amazing show when every band is just as good as every other one on the bill for the night. The Jasons, MakeWar, and The Lillingtons kicked much ass, bringing the punk and also a huge amount of fun, to Indianapolis and I sincerely hope that all three bands come back as soon as they can.
(Special thanks to Shipwreck Shep of Punk Rock Night for all of the photos, sans the Baphomet/PBR altar from yours truly; it’s the one shitty photo on the post, and I didn’t want to do Shep a disservice if anyone laughably mistook it for one of his.)