In the up-and-coming neighborhood of Fountain Square in Indianapolis, a new record store called Square Cat Vinyl recently opened. Or, I guess I should probably say a new record store/coffee shop/bar/concert venue recently opened. It’s modern, cool, and one of the things that neighborhood was missing. Then again I might be biased, since my boyfriend’s family owns it, but just trust me on this one. I would think it was cool regardless. I mean, come on, it has all my favorite things. The store tries to get as much local music from the Indy area to play there on their sitting area that transforms into a stage, and I found myself at a show the other night for the bands Park Stone, Video Grave, and Bybye.
Park Stone is a couple of high school seniors from the north side of Indy who formed because of a 90s-themed musical a few of them were interested in playing in. With this being their first real gig and with a crowd of over 100 people— they were really REALLY excited to be there. They didn’t try to put on this super cool and mature persona and be something they weren’t, which is something I completely appreciated. They were cute and funny and didn’t hide that, yeah, they were still in high school. Cam Todd, on drums and vocals, was all smiles the entire set, and even made sure to send out an apology to his grandma about the language he was about to use in the next song. They had an indie rock sound with hints of 90s post-grunge alt-rock influence with one of their covers even being Weezer’s very fitting “Say It Ain’t So”. For being such new performers, they played and joked with the crowd well. They say next year when they all go to their separate colleges, they want to try and stay together. Although a few plan on attending Purdue (lame), I made sure to tell them about this super cool music scene in this dope town called Bloomington.
Up next was a Bloomington house show regular, Video Grave, but in a new way. That night they played acoustic and basically wow. During the set I said to my friend “Wow, they sound so much like Velvet Underground” and sure enough seconds later they covered Femme Fatal (yay). The indie punk band has been together for a while now and plays together effortlessly. It was easy to see how comfortable they were preforming and how much they all enjoyed it. During the set, guitarist Alex Beckman mentioned to the crowd “Don’t be afraid to dance even though, ya know, we’re in a coffee shop.” These guys were definitely my favorite of the night. I love their usual sound, but damn their acoustic version was on a new level. @VideoGrave please keep doing that.
Lastly, the Indianapolis based band Bybye took the stage. They kinda looked like a band of 30-somethings straight out of a Portlandia skit, but in a good way. Visibly showing seniority over Park Stone and Video Grave with beers in hand, Bybye was definitely a favorite of anyone there who was post-college. The indie pop rock band certainly had influences of funk and two members shared vocals equally, which is what I think definitely sets them apart from many other local artists. With electronic sounds on the keyboard and long periods of solely instrumentals, they were an act that was easy to vibe with and nod your head to.
Overall, it was a great night for local music. These bands gave me my fix of live music that I was missing hardcore while away from Bloomington on winter break. I’m excited for this new venue and the possibilities that can come from it. If anything, Square Cat is a place where Indy bands can try and get their name out and help make Fountain Square the new place to be. And honestly, can a city really ever have too many record stores?