Live at The Tin Roof in downtown Indianapolis.
Leaving the Tin Roof stage just after 2am late last Saturday/early Sunday morning, Rusty Bladen grinned and gave one last wave to anyone still standing. And there were many.
Indianapolis fans new and old, hanging to the end of a nearly four-hour show, witnessed the convergence of rock and roll, country, folk and just plain fun. Highlighted by Rusty’s performance, the industrial strength guitar playing of Tony Burton, the harmony singing of Bladen father and son, and the play-along nature of the crowd, the show featured highlights like a mashup of the Springsteen-ian “La Bamba/Twist and Shout”, the Dylan-via-Axl-via-twang of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”, and a rootsy rock rave-up take on J. Geils Band’s “Centerfold”.
Despite a more-than-chilly March night, a couple hundred music fans streamed into see/sing/dance to a country-ish version of “Stayin’ Alive”, a crowd-pleasing “Wagon Wheel” and the double play of “Bruce’s “Glory Days” into “Summer of 69″.
The country fans dug Rusty’s run of tunes from Johnny Cash, Hank Jr, Steve Earle and particularly Nitty Giritty Dirt Band’s “Fishin’ in The Dark”.
Burton brings years of experience back to Rusty’s band. Tony played guitar with Rusty for many years in Rusty Bladen and the Shakin’ Jakes, Rusty’s band in the late 1990′s through the mid 2000′s that also featured Mellencamp’s current bass player John E. Gee. Burton’s crunchy power is a welcome return and the smile on Rusty’s face when Tony took a song to another level was obvious.
The new band also features the rhythm section of Neil Bladen (bass) and Tyler Brindel (drums). Both 20-something’s, they had their own band before Rusty plucked the two to join his group. Both Brindel (whose father played guitar in Rusty’s 80′s rock band Aura) and the younger Bladen give the band harmony vocals seemingly effortlessly blending with Rusty. Neil’s exuberance gives the right side of the stage new energy, as he and Tyler work together.
Long before Bladen left the stage, he had quieted his band midway through the aforementioned “Glory Day”, reveling in the push of the crowd to the front of the stage.
“Now we have a party going,” he shouted. With that, he fired back into the final verse as the throng of dancers up front began jumping up and down to the drummer’s beat.