On what would've been an ordinary Wednesday night, I found myself on National Avenue in search of the always elusive alternative music community in my hometown.
Lexington isn't exactly known for its vibrant alternative scene, the majority of concerts in my hometown typically lean towards the country side of the music spectrum, which can be frustrating at times. I don't have anything against the country genre, I merely crave some musical variety in my neck of the woods. When I heard Broncho was going to perform at Cosmic Charlie's, I jumped at the opportunity to shoot their gig. This edgy Oklahoma based indie band would be a refreshing change of pace from the traditional music roots embedded in this city.
Unfortunately, entering the venue was delayed due to equipment issues during soundcheck. There wasn't to much of an extra wait, only around half an hour. I passed the time chatting up the venue staff about the history of Cosmic Charlie's and their recent relocation to National Avenue; Lexington's latest urban redevelopment project. Originally an industrial area, many of the old warehouses along the avenue have been converted into something of an entertainment district. The beginning of a new music loving community perhaps? I certainly hope so!
After the delay, I settled into the bar and ordered some drinks to fuel up for the upcoming show. My whiskey sour was probably the strongest I've had in quite some time, I ordered a double but it felt like a quadruple shot went into my cocktail, kudos to the bartenders for being generous with the alcohol! After getting a good buzz going, the opening band took to the stage.
Billy Changer, a musician hailing from Los Angeles, kicked off the night treating us to some very prominent West Coast Indie sounds. I enjoyed their performance more than I thought I would, opening bands can be either hit or miss, so my expectations are usually kept pretty low. He definitely exceeded them with smooth melodies infused with a faint shoegaze tone, it was performed beautifully and sounded great live. His bandmates coordinated well with him, hitting every note with zero audible slip ups, you could tell they were focused on crafting the right sound. However, their heavy focus may have contributed to my perception of a slightly shy demeanor on stage. Their timid performing style didn't diminish my experience though, with this particular genre of music you expect the performer to be on the reserved side.
Broncho was the complete antonym of timid and reserved, bombastic and full of punk vigor, lead vocalist Ryan Lindsey appeared to be in a world of his own at times. Their set began with what could only be described as a wide assortment of energetic wailing into the microphone. I wasn't sure if this was his opening battle cry or perhaps an improvised soundcheck due to the varying tones and pitches of his yelling. There were sound equipment issues delaying the concert after all, so the possibility went through my mind. If that was the case, he disguised it well with a dizzying distraction.
Once they got into the swing of performing the mood quickly picked up, the audience reacted positively to the rowdy garage rock inspired sound and their eccentric personalites. Raw guitar was a dominating ingredient, overpowering the vocals most of the time. Despite the fact I couldn't fully comprehend the lyrics throughout the concert, the turbulent sound quality worked in their favor, producing a "who gives a f**k" attitude that spread throughout the crowd. After all, isn't that what punk music is all about?
After a furious forty minutes, the show came to its abrupt conclusion. For a moment I thought there was going to be an encore performance, but it never quite materialized. Slightly disapointing since the setlist was fairly small; but as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. While the concert may not have been a technical masterpiece, it successfully influenced us to loosen up and have a good time, fulfilling their roles as entertainers.
Overall it was an enjoyable experience I would repeat if given the opportunity; strong drinks, good company and kickass music, there's no better combo out there for a Wednesday night. I'll be keeping my eye on Cosmic Charlie's future lineup, hopefully this trend of fresh alternative bands performing there will continue. If so, I could easily see this venue becoming one of my regular haunting grounds.