The outlaw-country, whiskey-rock duo Drunken Guns kicked off the show on Indy’s First Friday at Square Cat Vinyl, one of Fountain Square’s charming local venues. There wasn’t much room between the bar and the stacks of records for sale, but Drunken Guns still managed to make the space feel larger than life when they took the stage.
Comprised of drummer Erik “EZ” Fox and singer/guitarist Craig “Banger” Herres, Drunken Guns got their start jamming together in basements and garages before donning their cowboy hats and taking their act to the streets. Their live performance brought the same amount of youthful charisma that you might expect from larger groups, and it was clear that the two lifelong friends were having a blast together.
With head-banging, heavy beats and driving, distorted riffs, Drunken Guns managed to pull off a full sound with a stripped down, simple arrangement of guitar and drums. Over the sound of his crunchy guitar, Herres’s appropriately rough voice wailed out energetic lyrics such as, “Can’t stop, won’t stop.” In between songs they engaged with the crowd, which resulted in good-natured laughs more often than not.
As an added bonus, members of Flat 12 Brewery were at the event to promote their craft beer with free samples and drink deals. When asked what he thought the essence of the band was, Fox, (who is also a brewer at Flat 12) answered, “Country, outlaw, and whiskey.”
Drunken Guns are working on their first studio album, currently untitled, which they plan to start recording this winter.
Shortly after the cowboy-rock duo wrapped up, Cherrys took the stage. As they opened with their obligatory first song, “CherrysTheme,” a simple tune reminiscent of 50’s doo-wop mixed with a backing beat from a drum machine, the crowd grew, making the already small venue a bit stressed for space.
Cherrys was still able to make the most of it, however, by bringing lots of energy along with upbeat vocals sung by lead singer, Emma Wade. She seemed to know when to use her voice to match the energy of the backing riffs, and when to drop down to a drone, or up to a wail or whoop to add an interesting contrast and texture to their sound.
With a full arrangement of bass, drums, and guitar, the three-man, one-woman band showed they were capable of playing a variety of styles. From the soft, doo-wop of their theme to more jolting and exotic sounds on songs like “Totem Pole”, their versatility shines through. Throughout it all, however, Cherrys managed to keep a solid foot in a style equal parts punk, rock, and pop.
The upbeat, high-energy songs kept coming from Cherrys, and among the crowd, it was hard to find a head that wasn’t bouncing along to the beat. When they eventually finished their set, it was clear that there were still people out there hoping for an encore. Unfortunately, we didn’t get one this time, but keep an eye out for more appearances from Cherrys in the future.
You can find Cherrys on Bandcamp.