Photography and Article by Syd Innovaria
Sarah Grain and the Billions of Stars.
I went down to The Vogue in Indianapolis to cover a group show with 7 artists in July, at the prompting of my friend Cyrus Youngman from the band Cyrus Youngman and The Kingfishers & Papa Warfleighs Funk Revival– which was the band playing this night. I soon found out from my friend Doug Sauter that one of his bands, Sarah Grain and the Billions of Stars, would also be playing that night. I think I was pretty sold on the show at that minute, though I had never seen either one live before- I’ve met a large number of the people who were performing that night.
The Papa Warfleigh’s after their mind-blowing show.
I showed up a little before 8pm, which is when the show was listed to begin. The place was virtually empty; the place was just setting up and bands were loading in out back of the venue. I quietly moseyed around, got a drink and set up my camera.
The first band to go on was The Fuss. I had not heard of them, but they were pretty good. Every band throughout the night had a pretty funky fun style, some with a bit of reggae flair. I got several photos of The Fuss, a 3-piece “psychadelic bluesy rock band” as they describe themselves, who are Aleks (guitar/vocals), Aaron (bass), and KyLe (Percussion).
This is what all The Fuss is about.
Then we all took a break and went out back to smoke.
The next band was outside psyching themselves up and getting pre-show photos. I took a few as well, then they went on. ByBye was the name, and they were very unique and funky. One of the guys sings and plays organ, another sings, plays acoustic and keys- and it’s a beautiful mixture with everything else. ByBye is self-described as channeling “vintage soul-rock and psychedelic trips to shake hips and lay grooves.”
Sam and Cody laying the grooves out.
They are: Martin Green – Organ & Vocals, Nick Peoni – Lead Guitar, Sam Shafer -Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Paul Symons – Drums and Cody Davis on Bass. ByBye shared this about the evening: “We are all long time fans of The Vogue and their staff. Having collectively seen dozens of shows there, it was an honor to grace the stage of the famous Indianapolis venue, and to share it with a great group of bands. Papa Warfleigh’s Funk Revival was a fun, eclectic act that was entertaining to watch. We’re excited to play The Vogue again in the future.”
Martin slaps the tambourine as he sits behind his organ singing.
Pinky and the Basterds were following and they were so much groovy fun. I had never heard of them either, which is funny because I had met Chris Sarber who does vocals and plays guitar on previous occasions, and he really was phenomenal to watch on stage. Very fun, energetic and bouncy. I remember having a hard time getting pictures because he was never in the same spot for more than a minute. Pinky is Nate Gray-bass, David Bailey-Drums, Chris Sarber-Guitar/Vocals
Chris getting really into the rockin’ groove.
Also, the guy has fabulous hair. Check it out. From Chris after the show, “The show was smooth, all the bands sounded great! The Vogue always comes correct when it comes to sound. Only venue in the city I know of with a sound guy in the back of the room AND on stage. We had a bit of a rough start to our set, but worked out some technical kinks and then slammed the rest of our set! I had never heard the band BYBYE until that show and really enjoyed them. Kind of a ‘mousetrap vibe’ (referring to the venue The Mousetrap in Indianapolis).”
Chris rockin out with that bright red Fender.
The next artist was a solo act by girl named Katie Krater. She played acoustic and sang, an it was pretty decent! Very set apart from the other acts of the evening, forsure.
Fourth up was Papa Warfleighs Funk Revival. And they really stole the show entirely. There were as many as 8 or 9 people on stage at a time, with members rotating instruments and coming on and off stage. I was beyond thrilled by their performance. I remember it being more difficult to photograph them than other groups, considering the constant rotation of members, and the continual funky dancing. Some of the members of other bands came up to join the fun, including Katie who had done the solo act before them and Eledeah Kemp from Among The Compromised.
Most all of it being improv, they pulled off a show like no other that night.
Trev sharing the microphone with Megan in a beautiful moment during the show.
Trev, who does vocals in the group and dances around a lot, had this to say about the performance: “I’d say it was magical, and with so many talented artists coming together to celebrate Indianapolis music and community. It’s always a joy to get PWFRevival on the same stage with all of our schedules, and especially to bring in some of our favorite guest musicians. What emerges is musical alchemy, nothing less, and a true joy. We can’t thank enough Jason King and The Vogue for opening its doors to original local music, — and to all the divine spirit who joined to dance the night away, we love you with all our hearts and can’t thank you enough! Love to see you again next show. Thank you also, Syd and Drunk Octopus, for catching some of the magic in person. Y’all the bees’ knees!”
Trev walking with a purpose as Aaron beats it to his left, and the music soars.
Next was Sarah Grain and the Billions of Stars. Also beautiful, funky and so original. None of the artists sounded the same. Doug Sauter on guitar, Sarah Grain singing and playing guitar, Mina Keohane singing and playing synth/piano.
“My overall experience at The Vogue was great, I’ve seen many shows there but this was my first experience of playing on that stage. I felt great energy & comradery among the bands & folks there to see the show. It’s often a challenge playing multiple band shows with the quick changeovers, sound issues, keeping on time, short sets…. seems like you get set up in a flurry, start playing, & damn! the shows over. Big fun for certain!! Indy is full of killer bands, artists, & musicians. It would be wonderful to have more of these types of events to showcase this wealth of diversity & talent. It’s often hard as hell to get people to attend these things outside the “circle”; there’s just so much going down on any given night which is a good problem. You’re just up against many happenings.”- Doug Sauter on the experience overall.
Mina during the Sarah Grain and the Billions of Stars set.
Finally up was Indyca, the most reggae sounding group of the entire evening. They absolutely killed the act onstage, and it was beautiful. Indyca is Alicia (lead vocals), Brandon (lead vocals), Spencer (lead guitar), Bryan(bass), Jerry (keys) and Blake(drums).
Brandon is the voice of reason.
“We had a blast at the vogue show! This was our 3rd or 4th time playing the venue. We always have a great time at The Vogue. Excellent staff and great sound. We had the late slot at the recent show, so I think we got to see at least a piece of everyone’s set! By the end of the show we were proud to be sharing the stage with everyone on the bill. Good times all around,” they told us after the show.
Alicia belts it out while Jerry taps along on the keys.
Everyone was well received by the audience; there was a lot of cheering and clapping and dancing an overall enjoyment of the entire show. Between sets I was always out back getting photos of the people getting ready, carrying gear out, and talking with different musicians about their sets and how they felt about the show.
It was such a beautiful feeling, to be surrounded by such talented passionate genuine individuals. These bands are all amazing, and I highly recommend you go to one of their shows and/or buy their CD’s.
Katie and Aaron before the Papa Warfleigh’s set.
Most of the bands at least have an EP if not a full record, or some form of recording, and you can always go look them up on Facebook or in the links above, plus YouTube videos, and go to their live shows. These guys all pack a punch and I can’t wait to see each of them play to a room of no less than 2000 people. And that’s a smaller venue.
These guys are talented at their instruments, and that’s another thing about many music venues- they will only book/pay if there is a guaranteed crowd.
Personally, I feel shows like this open up the doors for these cats to become more well known , in other areas than just locally- even if that isn’t their goal.
It’s beautiful to have been there and captured this experience.
If I were to pick a band that was my favorite, it’s Papa Warfleigh’s Funk Revival hands down. They were easily the funnest, most diversely talented group I saw that night- even though everyone else was talented as well- in my professional opinion (haha), they stole the show. Go to their shows.
Some of them have album releases coming up, be sure to tune in to Drunk Octopus TV for some interviews with these bands as well.
A beautiful moment featuring Aaron of the Papa Warfleigh’s enjoying ByBye.