Article by: Jessica Bishop
Photography by: Casey Diaz of TheRippOffShow
Pool tables flanked both sides of the HideAway Bar & Grill, an appropriate name for the little bar tucked back from the street in Lafayette, Indiana. The smell of fried chicken and cheap beer filled up the small bar. Several tables were haphazardly thrown in the middle where patrons of the bar chit chatted and sipped on their drinks as they awaited the first act. On the bill for the night was Fight Like Sin, 50 Six Feet, First Decree, The Veer Union, and of course (hed) PE.
Fight Like Sin started out the night. They are a local Lafayette band formed in early 2012. Fight Like Sin consists of Blake Balensiefer, Cody Hughes,Drew Luigs, and Tim Stepp. Their website describes them as “A new, crisp, heavy rock sound that blends an unconventional lower tuning with an occasional harmonized melody.”
Also from Lafayette was 50 Six Feet. They are self described as “An unadulterated blend of hip hop and Metal” Formed by frontman Brandon Reed (vocals), Shane Cook (lead guitar), Preston Sanders (bass), and Ryan Wilkinson (drums.) You can find more of their music here.
First Decree hails from Cheyenne, WY and is made up by Travis James (vocals/guitar), Dane Lopez-Smith (lead guitar), Isaac Lopez-Smith (bass), and Zach Lopez-Smith (drums).
Travis had a strong, clear voice that rang out in dulcet smoothness that was calming and expressive at the same time. Their songs featured catchy hooks, alluring guitar solos, and steadfast vocals.
Dane showed expertise on guitar while keeping a cool demeanor about him, hardly looking up for his guitar except to give the audience just a little taste of showmanship. Zach kept in time with smooth transitions while Travis kept the crowd engaged on the rail. You can purchase their newest album, This Is Our Rise, on iTunes.
The Veer Union is a five piece band coming all the way from Vancouver, BC. Crispin Earl fronts with vocals while Ryan Ramsdell is on rhythm guitar, Dan Sittler on lead guitar and vocals, Tyler Reimer on drums, and Amal Wijayanayake on bass and back up vocals.
The Veer Union tore up the show in a wild rebellious lullaby only fitting for the truly hardcore at heart. Beads of sweat flew through the air as Amal whipped back his braids in the midst of a wicked bass riff. They played “Bitter End” of their album, Divide the Blackened Sky, a song about never giving up on your dreams, which was by far my favorite of the set. Also performed that night was an excellent cover of “Epic” by Faith No More.
The band took full advantage of the smaller crowd, and got up and personal with the audience in a one of a kind experience. You can buy their music, including their new album Decade, on iTunes.
Finally the moment came for (hed) PE to take the stage. The smell of fried chicken became overpowered by the b.o. of all the sweaty, drunk headbangers in the crowd. Bright rainbow dots flanked the back of the stage in a 70’s like display that lit up the stage in a technicolor atmosphere.
(hed) PE was formed in 1994 and combines punk rock, rap, and reggae. Their line-up has changed a bit throughout the years but is now made up of Paulo ‘Jahred’ Gomes (vocals), Jeremiah ‘Major Trauma’ Stratton (drums), Greg ‘Gregzilla’ Harrison (guitar), and Kurt Blankenship (bass).
The first thing you notice about Jahred is how is voice can go from a scratchy and deep to smooth and melodic in a matter of seconds. The second thing you notice is the incredible amount of showmanship not only Jahred had, but the whole band seemed to posses naturally.
Kurt got up into the crowd’s face and made goofy gestures for their cell phone videos all while never missing one funky ass beat. There wasn’t one person in that bar that was standing still. But no matter how amazing their music was that night it wasn’t just about making the crowd move. Jahred used the platform to talk about the hypocrisy of Indiana’s marijuana laws. Marijuana in all forms, including medicinal, is currently illegal in Indiana. “I made it 20 years by being honest” Jahred states, “They won’t let you smoke herb but they will let you drink Jack until you piss your pants.”
(hed) PE put on a passionate performance, even with a smaller crowd than they’re used to. The blend of punk rock and reggae, real down to earth lyrics, and effortless musical precision makes (hed) PE a band you have to see live.