I Went to a Concert by Mistake: Last Good Year, Win With Willard, and Mardelay at the Hi-Fi

“Journalist” Attends Charity Concert at the Hi-Fi, featuring local bands Last Good Year, Win With Willard, and Mardelay, Completely by Accident. Enjoys Self Anyway.


Well brothers and sisters, I had intended write this review about Chad VanGaalen. But, it looks as though fate has intervened. Well, less fate and more my own inability to properly read a schedule, but I digress. Still, you make the most of your mistakes, and in this case that likely won’t be difficult at all. Last Good Year, Win With Willard, and Mardelay are all respectable local bands. So I have two concert reviews for this week instead of one. And I contributed a dollar to a good cause, specifically the Gleaner’s charity. All’s well that ends well, I guess.

The Bands

As mentioned above, all there bands were local acts. And, while we’re on the topic. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Naptown has a surprisingly large and diverse musical scene. It’s all a matter of Seeing past the city’s corn-fed exterior into the creative layer below. You might find something you like, such as the three bands I’m going to tell you about.


The first band to take the stage was a rather large outfit called Mardelay. Two guitars, two basses, drums, and one backing vocalist. A rather appropriate configuration, as their sound is clearly modeled on classic acts like Bruce Springsteen and our own John Mellencamp. This is not, however, to say that Mardelay are clones of these estimable artists would be wrong. While they use the same country/classic rock hybrid as a base, Mardelay also integrates a fair bit of indie rock into their sound. Moreover, they also tended towards the heavier end of the rock spectrum. Not metal-levels of heavy, of course. There was a distinct lack of fuzzbox effects or heavy distortion. But pretty heavy all the same. They were good, quite talented actually, if a tad uninspired. Even so, they played with all the energy and enthusiasm proper for rock and roll.

Win With Willard

After Mardelay took their bows, Win With Willard came on. Unlike Mardelay, Win With Willard had a far more indie sound. This included a far smaller band, a drums-bass-guitar arraignment which totaled three members. Most of their sound was built around their lead singer’s powerful voice. A voice that reminded me greatly of Panic! at the Disco’s lead singer Ryan Ross. In fact, their general vibe mimicked that of Panic! pretty thoroughly. Once again, I wouldn’t say that Win With Willard was trying to clone Panic!’s sound directly. Just that the similarities were striking. Overall, Win With Willard were enjoyable performers. The lead singer in particular knew how to work and audience, and had a self-depreciating humor that was very disarming.

Last Good Year

Last, but not least, came Last Good Year. Last Good Year gained some local fame in the early Tens, but had since put the music on hold to pursue other things. But, they were willing to reunite for a good cause and make some Hoosiers happy in the bargain. And a good thing, too. Last Good Year was the show’s main draw.

Their sound was a lot like Mardelay’s, Mellencamp-influenced with a kind of rustic vibe. A tiny bit bland, but still perfectly serviceable. I do have to compliment their musicianship though. Until their appearance at the Hi-Fi, Last Good Year hadn’t played together in years. You’d never know it from listening. Last Good Year played as effectively and cohesively as though they had never taken a break at all. The crowd loved it.

While I may not have intended to be there, I have no regrets. It was a good show, and there are certainly worse ways to spend a Saturday evening.

Keep listening everybody.



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