"Even if it's an acoustic guitar, it's still rock and roll," El Toro de la Muerte's Jeff Fuller told the crowd from one of the outdoor stages at last Thursday's 2012 Indy Music Awards Festival. "Bob Dylan taught you that."
And with that, Fuller and his bandmates strummed their way through "Pockets Full of Silverware," a song originally recorded for their shelved concept album about Roy Sullivan, the "human lightning rod" who survived being hit by lightning seven times. (True story.) Beneath a perfect summer nighttime sky, El Toro performed stripped-down originals — plus an apropos cover of the Church's "Under the Milky Way" — in a semi-acoustic set that was a first for the Springs' indie-rock stalwarts.
With 22 acts on three stages, it was impossible for any one person to witness all the memorable moments, but other highlights that added to the evening's "event status" included:
• hip-hop emcee Che Bong and belly dancer Joy Hearten-Johnson taking guest turns onstage during the Charlie Milo Trio's set;
• Chauncy Crandall joining Grass It up for a rendition of Old Crow Medicine Show's Dylan-inspired "Wagon Wheel";
• ridiculously cute little kids with pink, noise-blocking headphones frenetically dancing onstage with the ReMINDers;
• and, of course, the Haunted Windchimes, whose intimate performance in front of Stargazers Theatre & Event Center's indoor stage went well past midnight.
You can find 499 photos from this year's festival at the Indy's Facebook page, as well as a fistful of performance videos at tinyurl.com/indyfestvideos. Our thanks go out to everyone who took part, especially the many musicians who performed and cheered each other on. We look forward to seeing you all again next year.