Neon Love Life: Empowering a Generation of Female Rockers in Indianapolis

Indianapolis music is sorely in need of more all girl bands. There are a ton of Indianapolis bands that play genres ranging from jazz to metal, but most of them are made up of men. Yes, there are a few bands that have women as members, such as We Are Hex, Beta Male, Burnt Ones, Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s, and a slew of cover bands like Lemon Wheel and Zanna Doo, but there are very few all girl bands in the Circle City. That is, except for Neon Love Life, a powerful all girl punk band based out of Indianapolis that’s about more than just loud music and hard drinking.

Video of Neon Love Life performing “Tuesday Night” live at the Melody Inn in Indianapolis


Neon Love Life is made up of four members, each from different musical backgrounds. Lindsay Manfred is the frontwoman behind Neon Love Life; a native of Kokomo, Indiana, Manfred is a self-taught guitarist who played in a Florida rock group called Pretty Machine Gun before moving back to Indiana. She performed at several Indianapolis restaurants and cafes as an open mic singer before switching to bass and joining We’re Not Mexican, a group that disbanded just last year. While in We’re Not Mexican, Manfred met Sharon Rickson, the bassist for Neon Love Life. Rickson went to school at the Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis and is one of two go-go dancers for the sitar lounge sounds of The Playboy Psychonauts, another Indianapolis band.

Video of Neon Love Life performing a Girls Rock Indy benefit concert at the Talbott Street Nightclub in Indianapolis


The drummer for Neon Love Life is Tasha Blackman, a long time friend of Sharon Rickson. Blackman learned drumming in the 5th grade, and she played in several different bands around Indy before forming Neon Love Life with Rickson and the second guitarist, Ashley Plummer, in 2009. Plummer grew up in Gary, Indiana and was a founding member of another Indianapolis all girl group, The Peggy Sues. The original trio of Blackman, Rickson, and Plummer played a few shows around Indianapolis before teaming up with Manfred to finalize the all-star lineup of Neon Love Life.

Neon Love Life plays a pretty straightforward breed of power pop/punk rock (think The Ettes), focusing on fast chord changes, rabid guitar hooks, and lots and lots of volume. Indianapolis has a long history of sweet punk music (just look at Sloppy Seconds and D.I.Y. venues like The Emerson Theater and ES Jungle), and Neon Love Life is a welcome addition to that canon. Their sound is an accessible, danceable crowd mover that’s easy to absorb yourself in. The music of Neon Love Life is the perfect soundtrack to an insane night out with the Indianapolis nightlife crowd; the band writes anthems about love, drinking, self reliance, and rebellion. These are typical punk anthems delivered with swagger.

Video of Neon Love Life performing “Your Future” live at the Melody Inn in Indianapolis


But unlike the stereotypical image of punkers, the women in Neon Love Life really care about the people in their community, specifically Indianapolis children. That’s why they founded Girls Rock Indy, which, according to Rickson (in an interview with Metromix) “…is dedicated to building positive self-esteem and empowering young ladies between the ages of 9 through 16 through music and instrument instruction.” Girls Rock Indy is a week long Indianapolis school of sorts in which participants start a band, write songs, promote shows, and perform a live concert, all under the careful instruction of volunteers and the members of Neon Love Life. The camp also has workshops on self-esteem and empowerment. Pretty good for a small punk band out of Indiana, huh?

Though Neon Love Life hasn’t been around very long, they’ve already played at tons of different Indianapolis bars and Indianapolis music venues. In the past, they’ve been seen all over the six Indianapolis cultural districts, including downtown Indianapolis and beyond. Talbott Street Nightclub, Locals Only Art and Music Pub, Radio Radio, The Vogue, The Vollrath Tavern, The Dojo, The Melody Inn, and the Indianapolis Children’s Museum have all seen the loud punk rock assault of Neon Love Life; likely the band will have played everywhere around Indianapolis in just a few more months.

Video of Neon Love Life performing live at The Vogue in Indianapolis


For a band with driving power, good looks, tight musicality, and a heart for the community, you can’t do much better than Neon Love Life, a quartet of women who are bringing punk and self-esteem to legions of Indianapolis people. The band’s sound has that timeless punk energy, an energy that translates to their vivacious live shows. Not only are they a good band, they’re also a good influence on the Indianapolis community. Their work with Girls Rock Indy, an Indianapolis non-profit organization that teaches young women empowerment and respect through rock and roll, has brought joy and music to a host of Indianapolis people who might not otherwise get the chance to be rock stars. For all their heart of gold antics around the community, it’s hard to remember that Neon Love Life is also a bad ass punk band, but one minute of their live show will be an easy reminder.

For more information on Neon Love Life, including bios, tour dates, music samples, videos, current news, and more, visit the Neon Love Life homepage.

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