A few years ago, I moved near South Bend, Indiana home of Notre Dame University and the famed Fighting Irish football team. I used to live in Chicago for ten years and after realizing it was too expensive to actually buy property, I moved out of the city with my family. I spend most of my time taking care of my family and traveling all over in order to promote, attend and work with a vampire event called Endless Night primarily housed in New Orleans with parties also in Paris, Amsterdam, Prague and Venice. I do vampire related events in Chicago on occasion and usually only go out in Chicago for related events and concerts. I guess I used to be a city snob.
Only recently in the last couple of months have I actually been going out in the town in which I live after my friend and tattoo artist Larry Bone moved back home from New Orleans. I went to a Misstallica gig, an all female tribute band for Metallica with him, met some local people and since then have been checking out the local music scene and am surprised to find quite an interesting metal and rock thing happening here in a town Chicago could care less about.
In a town hit with economic stress and abundant religion it seems fitting that rock and metal would find a way to infiltrate behind God’s back.
A rock and roll dance troupe by the name of Brick House Burlesque headlined the evening along with several bands such as DARK TRILOGY, THE GO DEVIL 4, FOREVER GYPSY, and KNUCKLE DEEP with a special performance by the event host and promoter extraordinaire, Carissa Squadroni (Grrrissa) and throughout the night and in different bands, guitar phenom Joe Feingold (Forever Gypsy and Dark Trilogy) rocked the stage. Somewhat of a local rock and roll “it” girl, Carissa impresses with talents in music, makeup artistry, bar tending, promoting and being an all around awesome chick to hang out with. I found myself meeting up with her for Gigantour in Chicago where we rocked out to Megadeth, Motorhead, and Volbeat. Hanging out with her all night, it wasn’t hard to notice her infectious personality and the gravitational pull she seemed to have over every one in room. The very thing that makes a great promoter. People listen to you and want to do what you are doing. I have some experience with that having been in the business for over 20 years. Carissa reminds me of me at her age. Smart, ambitious, easy on the eyes and full of piss and vinegar. Her fearlessness caused a bit of a stir recently when haters attacked her Face Book page and reported her because they took offense to her modeling photographs. This one in particular taken by Jeffrey Sellers of Side Street Studio Photography:
Her page got shut down and she started a new one all over again and punched back with this photo also by Jeffrey Sellers of Side Street Studio:
My kinda girl.
But aside all the hotness, what Carissa does for the rock scene in this town is quite extraordinary. As a person who loves music and a good time, her events are entertaining, rockin’ and just plain fun and I hope to work with her in the future. Maybe South Bend could use a little vampire mischief? Stay tuned to the Vampire Social Club for news on her events in the future.
And if that isn’t enough, a little venue called the Bender Ballroom plays host to a number of metal bands on a regular basis even going so far as to host a benefit for a musician who lost everything when his apartment burned down. Several bands got together and played in the hopes of not only helping a fellow brother out but to also help the others in the apartment complex that were also affected and devastated by the fire. Bands included in the benefit were: THE B.E.A.T., NEGATIVE NANCY, TALL TALES, VERGE OF INSANITY, HOME OF THE BRAVE, and the CITY NEVER SLEEPS, (the fire victim’s band) and THE OPPRESSOR.
Metal not your bag? No problem. South Bend also has quite the rock-a-billy scene with bands like RED HOT VOODOO, KNUCKLE DEEP and THE GO DEVIL 4, some of which were mentioned above. I had the pleasure of hearing RED HOT VOODOO play this past weekend at an old resort turned classy venue, Club Landing. A fun time in rock-a-billy heaven with traditional covers of Stray Cat Strut, Rock This Town, Little Sister, Red Hot and a killer version of Beastie Boys’ Fight For Your Right. Good times with good people.
I could take forever and try to review all of these bands, but who has the time for that? Take my word for it. The South Bend Music scene has plenty to offer and from the way things are going, it’s only going to get better.