The Dojo: D.I.Y. Blood, Sweat, and Tears

Back in the 80’s, the Indianapolis hardcore movement was just gaining momentum. Rabid fans who were part of the “scene” congregated in basements, dilapidated warehouses, run down bars, and other empty places to socialize, mosh, and belong to something bigger than themselves. It was a tight knit community of fans and artists, held together by the spirit of the music and the smell of grassroots change that blew through every concert. Everything was do it yourself; nobody wanted the dirty hands of large corporations soiling their prized music. As time went on, hardcore became something of a national phenomenon, and a lot of the original values of the scene were lost.

Thirty years later, in 2010, an Indianapolis music venue is trying to resurrect that old school D.I.Y. mentality. The Dojo, located on 10th street, several blocks from downtown Indianapolis, doesn’t look like much on the inside. There’s no fully stocked Indianapolis bar, no tables, no extensive appetizer or cocktail menu, not even very many chairs. It looks like an abandoned building, with unfinished walls and a bare concrete floor; the only mood lighting here is the fluorescent overheads. But at night, when the amps power on and the crowd starts to sway, The Dojo comes alive and embodies that unkillable spirit of Indianapolis music.

Video of Abstract Artimus performing live at The Dojo in Indianapolis


The Dojo is an independent, cooperatively run Indianapolis music venue that seeks to promote local musicians in as D.I.Y. a fashion as possible. Shows at The Dojo are all ages, provided a musical refuge for fans who can’t get into Indianapolis bars, and they’re usually incredibly cheap or altogether free. Playing a show at The Dojo requires a membership, but don’t worry: it’s not complicated to get involved. Indianapolis bands have to be invited to play a show at The Dojo and then pay a paltry $2 membership fee to be entered into The Dojo’s circuit for an entire year.

Video of This Is Me performing “I Want You To Hit Me As Hard As You Can” at The Dojo in Indianapolis


Like another famous Indianapolis music venue, The Emerson Theater (which is actually right around the corner), The Dojo books and promotes mostly hardcore, punk, and metal bands. Groups that have played during The Dojo’s short lifetime include Livermortis, Order of the Black Hand, Chaotic Neutral, Duke Nukem, the Dockers, and more. It’s a great place to go when you’re sick of the polished sounds that usually populate other venues like The Vogue, The Slippery Noodle Inn, or the Old National Centre.

Video of Coasts performing “A Pause and Then a Start” live at The Dojo in Indianapolis


When you go to a show at The Dojo, you’ll be whisked right back to the early days of hardcore; the interior is so shabby, you’ll feel like you’re in a basement. There are no pansy rules governing crowd involvement here; fans can feel free to mosh, pinwheel, two step, crowd surf, or develop circle pits at their own discretion. If you like to get really into your concert experience, a show at The Dojo should be on your list of top things to do in Indianapolis. The next time you find yourself wishing you were in Washington D.C. during the late 80’s, head on down to The Dojo on a Friday or Saturday night; you’ll get a taste of the D.I.Y. blood, sweat, and tears that’s missing from modern rock music.

The Dojo
4640 E 10th St
Indianapolis, IN 46201

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