ES Jungle: All Ages, All D.I.Y., All the Time

Indianapolis is all about the D.I.Y. spirit. Indianapolis history began with a group of westward pushing pioneers deciding to make a go of it in the mysterious deciduous jungle of Central Indiana, and those very same pioneers built up the impressive Hoosier State capital solely through blood, sweat, tears, and lots of industrial capital. Today, that same do it yourself, put your back into it, use some elbow grease mentality is in play all over the Circle City, from the burgeoning Indianapolis businesses along Mass Ave to the starving artists in the Indianapolis arts scene. The spirit of self creation even extends to Indianapolis music, where several local venues plan, execute, and love successful shows without the help of major booking agencies.

Video of Company of Thieves performing “Under the Umbrella” live at ES Jungle in Indianapolis

One of the longest standing of these D.I.Y. Indianapolis music venues is ES Jungle, a venue run by a group of roommates, collaborators, and music lovers in Indy called Piradical Productions. ES Jungle is one of only three all ages Indianapolis venues, the ranks of which also include legendary punk venue The Emerson Theater and new basement style upstart The Dojo. Like The Emerson Theater and The Dojo, ES Jungle is intent on building an independent, growing Indianapolis music scene and features primarily bands on the heavier side of things. Thrash metal, angsty punk, blast beat hardcore, sludge rock, and other genres your grandma can’t stand are usually featured at ES Jungle, so bring your earplugs and your moshing boots.

Video of The Lawn Mower Incident performing live at ES Jungle in Indianapolis

One of the defining features of ES Jungle is the caliber of Indianapolis bands the small venue books. While The Emerson Theater is surely the most popular place for nationally touring heavy bands to play, ES Jungle holds its own in the big name department, pretty impressive for a group of late teens and twentysomethings working out of a small piece of Indianapolis real estate. ES Jungle has booked Christian hardcore group Emery (similar to Indianapolis band Haste the Day), Chiodos, Harley Poe, and more.

Video of Of Mice and Men tearing down the house with “Those In Glass Houses” at ES Jungle in Indianapolis

In addition to the larger headlining shows, ES Jungle is also a major proponent of bands that are just getting their starts in Indianapolis high schools. While these Indianapolis events usually show off a rougher, less tight performance, sometimes you’ll be able to see a diamond in the rough. No matter the skill of the band, these youngsters always play with intensity, energy, and enthusiasm. After all, a show at ES Jungle is probably the first time many of them get to play on a stage in front of people who aren’t their parents and friends, an experience most musicians never forget. As a matter of fact, ES Jungle routinely holds a High School Battle of the Bands so young punkers can get bragging rights over other Indianapolis schools.

My Indy Underground video about Piradical Productions and ES Jungle, an all ages Indianapolis music venue

Located just southwest of Broad Ripple Village on Central Avenue, ES Jungle is on the fringes of one of the most music friendly Indianapolis cultural districts and a decent enough distance from downtown Indianapolis. If you’re either a) too young to see a show at an Indianapolis bar like The Vogue, the Slippery Noodle Inn, or Radio Radio or b) angry at your parents for making you come home before 11:00, or both, a show at ES Jungle is the perfect place to vent your frustration. Plus, you’ll know you’re contributing to an original, authentic, and creative music scene in Indy, something that’ll probably pay dividends for future Indianapolis music fans.

ES Jungle
6151 N Central Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46220

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