John Orr, the mastermind behind Indianapolis band The Last Domino, has come a long way. His first band was a little known Indy punk act called Bolth, a group that proudly carried the torch of the loud, fast, aggressive instrumentation that punk is known for. After Bolth disintegrated, Orr switched gears and began writing intricate, melancholy songs as The Last Domino, his singer-songwriter alias. Since the change, he has started a recurring variety show at one of the most successful Indianapolis bars, performed in Chicago for a Jeff Buckley tribute festival, and turned the heads of Indianapolis media outlets (including NUVO Newsweekly and Metromix) with his two full length releases and mesmerizing stage performances. The Last Domino is progressing quite nicely in the Indianapolis music scene; it won’t be long before the group starts attracting fans from all across the United States.
|Video of The Last Domino performing “Seconds” live at Birdy’s Bar & Grill in Indianapolis|
Much like other emotive Indianapolis bands like The Working Hour, Brandon Whyde, and Andrew Young, The Last Domino creates music that comes from the heart and is designed to act as a catalyst for personal growth. Orr’s first release was the Romanticide EP, released in 2005. Romanticide was a short collection of slow, moody acoustic songs that showcased the dark side of love; all the fictional characters featured in the EP died chasing their hearts. It was pretty depressing, sure, but it was also a good preview of Orr’s talent; Romanticide showed off clever writing, professional guitar work, and a voice that shone like gold on top of the mix.
|Video of The Last Domino performing with the full band at ES Jungle in Indianapolis|
After Romanticide, The Last Domino began to break out and play at Indianapolis music venues while working on his second release, the aptly titled Seconds. In 2008, a double album appeared in the Circle City called Diamond Days and Firenights, the third record by The Last Domino. The release was a sprawling, diverse set of songs that incorporated a full band for the first time. To match the energy present on the record, Orr had to enlist a crew of live musicians for the Indianapolis events he played at. Dave Evans joined the band as the touring drummer, and Matt Foster took over bass duties for the band, fleshing out The Last Domino’s sound into something powerful and cohesive. In 2009, The Last Domino released a short EP full of Bjork covers, Bjorksongs (Domino in the Dark), a teaser album designed to tantalize Indianapolis people before The Last Domino’s next release, When the Elephants in the Room Dance With the Skeletons in the Closet.
|Music video for “Last Call (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bottle)” by The Last Domino, an Indianapolis band|
The Last Domino’s live shows are a gratifying experience for everyone involved. Orr makes use of a loop pedal to play solos over his own chords, add a backing percussion track, or to enable a switch to the saxophone or djembe. Orr knows how to hold a crowd’s attention; the band rapidly switches dynamics between dance floor fillers and intricate melodic ballads, always keeping the audience on their toes and clamoring for more. Before The Last Domino morphed into a full band, Orr would play at smaller Indianapolis music venues like Lazy Daze Coffee House, but now that The Last Domino has added a rhythm section, you can catch them in all six Indianapolis cultural districts, but especially at Birdy’s Bar and Grill (for the recurring Viva la Variety! event, which Orr founded and hosts), Locals Only Art and Music Pub, the Melody Inn, ES Jungle, and more.
|Video of The Last Domino performing a cover of “Let Go” by Frau Frau at Birdy’s Bar & Grill in Indianapolis|
Though The Last Domino has only been around for five years, they have already entranced the Circle City with emotive lyrics, passionate singing, and professional guitar work. Far from a derivative, boring guitarist, John Orr’s lyrics and melodies sparkle with zest and a clever wit, turning otherwise melodramatic love songs into tunes that speak to the everyman in all of us. From the dark atmospherics of the Romanticism EP to the space rock covers of Bjorksongs (Domino in the Dark) to the ambitious diversity of Diamond Days and Firenights, The Last Domino has a catalog to be proud of. Further releases by this Indianapolis band will only serve to catapult Orr and his band mates on to the national stage.
For more information on The Last Domino, including tour dates, music samples, a brief bio, and press releases, visit The Last Domino’s homepage.