If you go
What: Black Jet Radio
When: 10 p.m. Friday
Where: The Lemon Grove,
122 W. Federal St., Youngstown
Info: Call 330-744-7683
110 W. Federal St., Youngstown
By John Benson
Fort Wayne, Ind., may not be a perceived bastion of original underground rock, but Hoosier act Black Jet Radio is doing its best to change perception.
“We’re actually kind of a glam, punk, grunge fusion band,” said singer Danisha Jenkins, calling from Washington, D.C. “This originally started with an idea by our guitarist, Brian Jenkins. Several members played with different bands in the Fort Wayne area. He really wanted to culminate something that had more of a purpose or a drive, something that was originally conceived from the beginning. Actually, what some of the fans have told us is we sound like what punk rock should have sounded like after 1978.”
So far, the quartet’s debut effort, “Sex Sex Riot,” has garnered comparisons to Patti Smith and Nick Cave. In fact, it’s the latter eclectic artist that excites Jenkins and her band mates the most. In addition to her cabaret-style vocals, she points to her group’s deeper, darker sound, fueled by dirty guitar tones and a nasty bass groove, as carrying on the torch of the “Grinderman” artiste.
Built around the theme of sex, death and religion, “Sex Sex Riot” includes the poppy “Rooftop,” the not-so-subtle “My Best Friend Wants to Die” and “Dead Wine.” The latter track has been described as Blondie-meets-The New York Dolls. In concert, the quartet has been known to sway audiences with covers ranging from The Stooges and David Bowie to Patti Smith.
“We’re made up of three girls and a guy, so there’s definitely some sexiness to it and a lot of creepier sounds,” Jenkins said. “We’re trying to make something that makes you feel something when you watch it. So far, we’ve been really well-received in the urban areas, especially those who have a punk-rock history in their lives. I think they really appreciate the grunginess of it. The only place we had some trouble was in Nashville. We were stranded there, had to play a last-minute show and didn’t play any ‘Sweet Home Alabama,’ so that might have been an issue.”
Already, Black Jet Radio has accomplished a lot, considering the act formed only at the end of 2010. From the start, Jenkins said the idea was to explore the band’s focused dark sound and expand its fan base as quickly as possible.
As for hitting the road, she said there was a consensus among band members that leaving Fort Wayne was the key to moving forward.