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Indianapolis Bands: Rock, Jazz, R&B, Hip-Hop, and Everything Else

In Indianapolis, there’s never a shortage of new sounds to groove, mosh, thrash, dance, bob your head, tap your toes, or sing out loud to. From cover bands to cutting edge experimental shoegaze groups, Indianapolis music has everything your tune loving heart might desire. You’ll always be able to find some new group of talented artists bringing down the walls of one of many Indianapolis music venues. Below is a smattering of some of the more popular bands in Indianapolis.

Indianapolis Bands

Steve Allee, a graduate of Ben Davis High School, is a world-renowned jazz pianist, composer, producer, and educator. He is a member of the Owl Studios label and co-owns the Jazz Kitchen.
American Cheese is a rock n’ roll cover band in Indianapolis that specializes in effectively delivering performances of the 80’s music we all “hate to love.”
Beta Male – Beta Male, voted “Indianapolis’ Sexiest Band” by Metromix readers, combines a lot of different influences, including psychedelia, New Wave, dance pop, disco, and more for their provocative live shows.
Sally Anthony is an Indianapolis musician who has built her reputation from the ground up, using MySpace and other internet venues to promote her music and her message of independence.
Band Wagon is an Indianapolis cover band that will take you and your guests for a thrill ride of blasting electric guitar solos, toe tapping drums, melodious vocals, and rock steady bass.
Fans of Kokomo’s The Blood Reckoning are used to getting their ears pummeled by the band’s ferocity, and there’s a lot of moshing, windmill kicking, and two stepping at the band’s live shows.
Burnt Ones – A sleazy, crunchy, heavily distorted assault dipped in sunshine, Burnt Ones feels like a conglomeration of Phil Spector meets Sonic Youth meets Brian Wilson meets The Jesus and Mary Chain.
In Connersvine, Hunter Smith and Chris Wilson sometimes play alone and sometimes with a backing band, but on every song their voices soar and intertwine to create meaningful melodies and deeply emotional ballads.
The Dave and Rae Band is a four-member, high-energy cover group that has been entertaining all over Indianapolis and its environs for quite a while. Known for the versatility and wide appeal of their music.
Although Jennie DeVoe spends a lot of time promoting and touring nationally, she is Indianapolis-based and performs regularly at the Rathskellar downtown.
Drama Queen is an all-female rock and country group that has toured the U.S. and Canada, and finally came full circle back to Indy, to their many fans’ delight.
The Elms, a band from Seymour, Indiana, have taken the national stage by storm while still using the canvas of small town America as their muse.
The Max Allen Band – The Max Allen Band (MAB), is a rock based band from Indianapolis, IN. MAB performs original music and is fronted by Max Allen (guitar/vocals) with Shaan France (drums/vocals) and Dace Robie (bass guitar/vocals). The group is a stunningly full sounding trio whose music can be described as an 8-up combination of musical genres.
The Flying Toasters are a very popular Indianapolis music group that plays hits spanning from the 70’s to present day at bars around the city.
Flynnville Train combines influences as diverse as Jimi Hendrix and Johnny Cash on their quest to simultaneously get back to the roots of country music and evolve the genre to a higher level of musicality, a mission that is sure to take Indianapolis country music fans by storm.
Glass Halo – Combining inspiring lyrics, anthemic choruses, catchy pop structures, winding, driven guitars, and an excellent stage presence, Glass Halo is currently on top of the charts in Indianapolis.
Good Luck, a Bloomington band, is usually classified as pop punk, but the band’s songs seem to defy convention.
Indianapolis music group The Goodnight Horizon is another example of a face melting hardcore band out of the Circle City. The group’s debut album, Test Your Heart, is a heavy mish mash of impassioned lyrics, guttural growls, and punishing guitar lines.
Governor Davis and the Blues Ambassadors Band Yes, Governor is really his first name, and this R&B group has won “Best of Indy” for ten years in a row.
The Great Hookup is a rock influenced jam band based in Indianapolis. Their debut album, In the Realm Of, was released in May of 2009 and is for sale on CD Baby, Luna Records, Indy CD & Vinyl, and through the band’s website.
Great Scott Band is a five-member group performing their own original pieces and other rock and alternative music throughout Indianapolis and the Midwest.
Rich Hardesty makes music that’s designed put a smile on your face and a happy feeling in your heart by fusing influences as diverse as Bob Marley, the Grateful Dead, and Frank Sinatra.
Haste the Day is a nationally touring band that has seen over 200,000 record sales in the United States alone. Though they got their start playing at Indianapolis bars and other venues, they now travel around the country to perform their ferocious live show for their enthralled fans.
John Hiatt is a singer-songwriter born and raised in Indianapolis. With nine Grammy nominations from several albums and hundreds of songs under his belt, Hiatt actively tours across the country.
Jassy Grazz Band is a six-member jam band known for their inventive improvisational take-offs. The group originated in South Bend, Indiana.
Jookabox – Jookabox disassembles components of popular music and stitches them back together with others to create veritable Frankenstein monsters of back country vocals, gospel choirs, industrial bass, tom heavy back beats, and psychedelic guitar work.
Kokomo, Indiana band In the Face of War is another brightly burning flame in the thriving Indiana hardcore scene, a group of five determined youths who have been tearing down conventions for six years running.
Michael Kelsey, the “one-man-show” of Indianapolis, defines his own musical performance style as “progressive-aggressive acoustic guitar.”
The Last Domino – The Last Domino creates music that comes from the heart and is designed to act as a catalyst for personal growth.
The Last Good Year – Battle of Birdy’s winner The Last Good Year plays the kind of balls to the wall, big riffing, hook heavy guitar rock that you’d expect at a Skynyrd concert.
Lemon Wheel Dance Band creates some awe-inspiring five-part harmonies playing music from the 70s and up.
Mardelay is an up-and-coming, four-piece tour group that often ends up in various venues in downtown Indianapolis and Broad Ripple.
One of the rising forces in independent music today, Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s create lush, textured pop rock symphonies using a variety of different instruments, techniques, and stylings.
Jon McLaughlin is an Indiana musician who has garnered national acclaim for his passionate lyrics, hook-laden songs, and heartthrob image.
Cathy Morris, a popular Indianapolis jazz violinist, describes the style of her band, the Cathy Morris Latin Band, as “party jazz,” and strives to include funk, Cajun and romantic influences in her performances.
Mother Grove, Indianapolis’ premiere Celtic Rock band, takes bagpipes, fiddles and other Celtic instruments, mixes them with a large dose of original rock for a sound they call “Kilt Rock.” They tour nationwide and have recorded 6 albums.
Mudkids are a popular Indianapolis music group which has performed locally, regionally and nationally for over a decade. Rusty Redenbacker, aka Choc, and Elp-Mass are currently working on producing their fifth album, titled We Are Dynamic and People Like Us.
Positioned somewhere in a paradox, Bloomington, Indiana’s Murder by Death is a unique band that has fashioned a deep niche for itself in the vast recesses of the Indianapolis music scene.
Led by former North Central High School band director Sam Rhinesmith and former Speedway High School band director Al Spangler, the New Horizons Band is a group comprised entirely of senior citizens. It excels at performing big band standards, Broadway hits, and an array of other musical genres and arrangements.
Original State of Mind creates original music reminiscent of a mix of G. Love, Rusted Root, Jack Johnson and 311. Their writing is influenced by Ben Harper, Dave Matthews, Santana and James Taylor, among others.
Amanda Overmyer does her home state proud with her powerful singing, forceful songwriting, and dedication to her own personal creative vision.
Jazz, rock, rhythm & blues, latin, disco and pop all fuse to create The Park Avenue Band. This Indianapolis native nine piece band plays for weddings, parties and special Indianapolis events.
The Playboy Psychonauts – Once you see the sitar toting Playboy Psychonauts live, you just might believe they came from a mythical lady-killing paradise.
Following fresh in the footsteps of pop punk bands like Green Day, Blink-182, Hawk Nelson, and the Bouncing Souls is Indianapolis music group Same as Sunday . The band is as much about having fun on stage as they are for writing catchy rock riffs and addicting pop hooks.
Shinky takes cues from a melting pot of musical inspiration, citing influences as diverse as pop rock band U2, late 90’s emo group The Get Up Kids, and nerd rock outfit Weezer.
Formed in 1987, Sloppy Seconds is a self-proclaimed “junk rock” group that is everything a great punk band aspires to be: loud, irreverent, and completely self-made.
Slothpop – Slothpop creates unique, layered soundscapes that draw the listener in with sophisticated musicianship and intimate, beautiful vocals.
The Souled Out Band is an Indianapolis music group that is one of the top cover and party bands in the city. Their expert musicianship, superb horn section, and supreme affability make them one of Indy’s finest music groups.
Sour Mash – Sour Mash can noodle with the best of them, and though they cover the originals, they’re quickly branching out to include their own personal musical vision.
The Twin Cats – Founded in 1998 by twin brothers Adam and Seth Catron, The Twin Cats play a funky, groove laced style of jazz that brings to mind 70′s funk bands like Sly and the Family Stone and legendary jam groups like Phish.
The Working Hour – The Working Hour is a polished quartet of Indianapolis musicians who play heartfelt, hook laden piano rock in the vein of The Fray, Something Corporate, and Ben Folds.
Zanna-Doo – There’s no Indianapolis band as prolific and well known as Zanna-Doo, a venerable cover group from Indianapolis that’s played nearly every music venue in the Circle City.

Indianapolis Music Venues

8 Seconds Saloon | Big Car Gallery | Birdy’s Bar & Grill | Chatterbox Jazz Club | Emerson Theater | Jazz Kitchen | Old National Centre | Radio Radio | The Vogue | More Indianapolis Music Venues

Indianapolis Bands

Amanda Overmyer | Cathy Morris | Flynnville Train | Gwen Stacy | The Elms | Haste the Day | Jennie DeVoe | Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s | Mudkids | Murder by Death | Sloppy Seconds | Straight No Chaser | More Indianapolis Bands

Indianapolis Musical Organizations

Arts Council of Indianapolis | Capital City Chorus | Ensemble Music Society | Philharmonic Orchestra of Indianapolis | Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra | More Indianapolis Musical Organizations

Indianapolis Musicians

Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds | Freddy Hubbard | Wes Montgomery | Cole Porter | James Spaulding | More Indianapolis Musicians

Indiana Music by City

Avon Music | Brownsburg Music | Carmel Music | Danville Music | Fishers Music | Greenfield Music | Greenwood Music | Martinsville Music | Mooresville Music | Noblesville Music | Plainfield Music | Westfield Music | Zionsville Music | More Indiana Music

Mike Woods