Dakoda Motor Co. , Hoi Polloi and Johnny Q. Public

By Robert Gruber

March 10, 1995; Northside Christian Church, New Albany, Ind.

Northside Christian's semi-annual VISION youth event hosted a concert by Dakoda Motor Co., with opening acts Hoi Polloi and newcomers Johnny Q. Public. An arguably small crowd welcomed the three bands with enthusiasm, despite the some what restrictive atmosphere surrounding the event.

Newly signed to Gotee Records, Johnny Q. Public roared onto the VISION stage at maximum volume, laying out a short set of very heavy grunge-rock in rhythms a la Stone Temple/Chain/Jam. The lead singer spotted dyed blond hair and horn-rimmed glasses, looking like a cross between Johnny Rotten and Clark Kent— good voice, a great scream and a true heart for evangelizing. The band was tight and excellent, particularly the drummer. I anticipate great things for this band in '95.

Hoi Polloi came on to rousing applause, made even more so when singer Jenny Gullen started passing out lollipops to the crowd. They proceeded to play a 30-45 minute set of mostly new songs from their upcoming VIA Records release, plus a couple of tunes from Spin Me.

Gullen possesses tremendous stage presence and delivered her songs in a powerful, passionate style. A surprise guest, Steve Hindalong from the Choir, came onstage to bang out percussion on an atmospheric new song. This new version of Hoi Polloi is perhaps the tightest and best yet and they were very well received by the crowd. Hoi Polloi also benefited from the best sound mix of the night, which was hard to get in the Northside gymnasium where the show was held.

Dakoda Motor Co. surprised a lot of folks with the addition of a new lead singer (who goes by the name of Mel). The band slammed through about an hour or so's worth of favorites, plus a couple of new songs. Mel did a capable job of singing, but I sensed that the chemistry has yet to develop between her and the rest or the band. one also lacked Davia Vallesillo's bubbly exuberance, but that's okay – strokes for different folks. I suppose. The mix for D.M.C. wasn't very good at all; they were so loud, at times it was hard to stay in the same room as them. Still, they managed to pull off a professional, if somewhat perfunctory performance, capping it off with a super-fast version of the Beatles hit "Eight Days a Week."

Despite problems with the sound and the general uptightness of the Northside scene, a good time was apparently had by all — well, most. I'm looking forward to heating what all three bands will sound like on their upcoming new releases.