Material: Indiana Bradley’s set at the Hotel Cafe gave the audience lots to think about—an experimental bandleader to say the least, Bradley’s stage presence and persona definitely brought a fresh energy to the stage. Albeit strange and at times disconnected in performance, his brand was communicated clearly in the way he carried himself onstage.
Musicianship: The first guitarist Andres Acuña carried much of the solo content of the show with ease and skill and was absolutely one of the strongest members of the band. Trading solos with the second guitarist John Rockwell, also a skilled player, the two combined to create an exciting experience from an instrumental standpoint. The second song in the set, “Killing Time,” was where the band’s arranging chops began to shine through. The arrangements throughout the entire set through the finale were ambitious, although tunes like “Under the Night” didn’t quite pan out fully in the way that the framework of the arrangement might allude to. Lyric diction is also a challenge for this act. Had the lyrics been clearer and easier to hear we may have been able to understand more clearly the depth of the arrangements and the meanings contained within the songwriting. A perfect example was “Fidel Castro,” a song from the middle of the set. After Bradley’s extensive and captivating explanation of the song’s origin and meaning, understanding the lyrics was quintessential to enjoying and experiencing the song, but unfortunately they were nearly impossible to make out. Drummer Seth Olansky, however, kept things moving and provided a solid foundation for the band.
Performance: Bradley’s experimentation throughout the performance was ultimately what kept the ball rollin’—whistling during “Marietta” was a great arrangement risk to take, and it paid off. Not all of the band’s arrangement techniques landed, but their tenacity was admirable when it came to incorporating new sounds and exhibiting an assertive attitude onstage. The rock ballads throughout the set were some of the stronger tunes of the evening, although following their first rock ballad with a second detracted from the impact of “Red River,” the second ballad they played.
Summary: Overall, the band could benefit from some adjustments in the set flow of their live show, as well as in lyric diction and stage presence during some of the quieter moments. However, their arrangements, musicianship, and willingness to take risks throughout the performance made Indiana Bradley an interesting show with a fresh perspective.
Web: Instagram, @indianabradley
Players: Indiana Bradley, vocals, keys: Andres Acuña, guitar; John Rockwell, guitar; Eddie Curi, bass; Seth Olansky, drums