INDIANAPOLIS–The Motor City seems to produce fine musical artists like its factories produce (or used to) cars. One of those talented Motor City bands, Sponge will play the Vogue Sept. 15. The show starts at 10 p.m.
A trite statement, perhaps, in the face of Detroit’s economic troubles, but true. One need only think of the carotid-bursting popularity of Motown Soul. Of course, soul isn’t the only offering on the city’s musical sampler platter. Not remotely. Punk, funk, rock, grunge, you can find all that and more. It is the last of these genres that concern us. It concerns us because Sponge, who hail from Detroit, is coming to play the Vogue.
Sponge formed back in 1991, one of the glut of grunge-style bands that arose in the wake of Nirvana and Soundgarden. As with many genre explosions, the majority of the bands were pale imitations of the originals. The kind of bands that play a couple of shows and then quietly disappear. Sponge is not one of those bands. Certainly not with a history like theirs. After signing with Sony Records in 1994, Sponge released their debut LP, “Rotting Piñata.” That album attracted glowing reviews, and propelled Sponge to the forefront of the 1990s alternative market.
Stylistically, Sponge takes the morose lyrics and hazy riffs of grunge and infuses them with a hard rock energy. And they do it well enough that their 1994 hit Plowed sounds like a missing entry from the “Clerks” soundtrack. Perhaps played over a montage of Dante Hicks cleaning his upended store after yet another panicked rush of idiots. It would sound great. How could it not? Singer Vinnie Dombroski’s husky baritone would growl well over any brooding scene. As would the fuzzy guitars that grind and howl under his voice while he sings. It’s an effective combination (husky growls and fuzzy guitars in this case) and well worth a listen.
Remember, the venue is the Vogue. Doors open at 9:00 p.m. Check out the surrounding neighborhood of Broad Ripple while you’re there. Maybe drink one for me at the bar.