If you haven’t heard of the band Swig, prepare yourself for a group that has a very dynamic approach to music that just might catch you off guard. Those that have seen their live shows have described Swig as “bluesy boozy beauties” and “the stoner rock band Indianapolis has been missing.”

This indie blues band that writes and performs their own material is influenced by blues artists such as RL Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Big Mamma Thornton and other Delta Blues icons. On the other side, they are shaped by modern rock artists such as Beware of Darkness, Elbow, Aloe Blacc, the Black Keys and White Stripes. Somewhere in between these two realms lies Swig.


Swig is made up of Brian Petersen (guitar/vocals), Leigh Marino (bass/vocals) and Jamie Jackson (drums). Brian got his start in music in middle and high school concert bands. He started playing the bass in bands around Bloomington as he went through college, eventually switching to guitar in the last few years. Prior to Swig, he played with God Made Robots. He also makes the best crab-stuffed portabella mushrooms.

Leigh taught herself how to play bass and has been playing/writing music for four or five years…and she still plays every day! Having been a “car and shower” singer for years, Leigh taught herself to sing and has become a strong, unique vocalist, comparable to a modern day Janis Joplin. Leigh loves to collect unusual hats (fedoras in particular) and she’s terrible with names, but she rarely forgets a face.

Jamie comes from Nashville, TN and has been playing music since the age of 10. He has played in a variety of instruments in different bands spanning several genres from punk to metal to jazz to rock. Much of his structure comes from school orchestra and marching band. He has worked for Sam Ash Music for almost 11 years now, so to say that music is his life would be an understatement. And don’t worry, Jamie isn’t as scary as he looks…he happens to be an amazing father of three of the coolest kids you’ll ever meet.

Between the three of them, they are all huge vinyl fanatics; their collective record collection would astound you. They’ve all been in bands in the past from Bloomington, Indy or Nashville, some that you might be familiar with such as Treigh, who played BRMF back in 2010. So where is Swig heading in the future? “We want to keep writing music, making records and playing live. We are looking to start on a new full-length album in the fall/winter of 2013.”


This will be the first year the members of Swig have been participants in ORANJE. “We’re looking forward to checking out all the other great performers and artists, as well as having the opportunity to be heard by a wider audience. We have been attendees to the past years’ festivities and have enjoyed and applauded ORANJE’s execution at each turn. It’s big, eclectic and constantly evolving. You don’t usually find that many different artists and musical styles all in one place.”

You can find Swig on October 12 performing on the third floor of Centennial Hall. In the meantime, keep up with them on Facebook and Twitter!

Rugged Russian Bear

Imagine what would happen if you had a really good mix of David Bazan (Pedro The Lion), Weezer and Delta Spirit, resulting in a folky punk indie sound. Well, that sums up what Rugged Russian Bear is all about, and luckily for you, they’re playing at ORANJE on October 12!

Playing with bands such as The Bonesetters, And Away They Go, Neulore (Nashville) and Kisses For Free, Rugged Russian Bear is made up of vocalist/guitarist Mike Brewer, bassist/vocalist Cory Miller and drummer/guitarist Jacob Eaton. Beginning as Bob Dylan-esque folk music featuring only an acoustic guitar and harmonica, RRB has evolved into a quirky rock band with a three part harmony that speaks of love, triumph, failure, imagination, supernatural, travel and just plain life.


All three members of RRB come from musical backgrounds and have been performing since they were children, including being involved in teenage rock bands. Like many others before them, it all started with just listening to and falling in love with music, coming to a realization that it is what you want to do forever, no matter what. The band puts a lot of blood, sweat and tears into making music and recording it, but especially love playing live shows. Being a three-piece band, their live sound is pretty stripped down but is full of sound and passion.

The trio is currently in the middle of recording their first full length album, slated to be out this winter. The very tight and consistent band plays, on average, about two times per month. “Every show we play is awesome and fun in it’s own way, but we have had a few exceptionally fun shows,” said Brewer. “One of which was a show we played at Indy’s Jukebox a little over a year ago. Unfortunately, the show got a late start and we got bumped to playing last. By the time we went on, it was like 1:30 or 2:00 am and there was no one there except the sound guy, bartenders and one of the other bands. It was just one of those shows where nothing seemed to be going right, so we were all pretty frustrated. Naturally, we took it out on the stage! We turned everything up really loud, put a lot of fuzz on guitar and bass, played really fast and just punked out the show!”


Rugged Russian Bear has some tight ties with other local bands in Indianapolis and sings their praises. Right now, they are digging Caleb McCoach and SM Wolf. “Caleb McCoach’s album Songs From an Empty Shore is inspiring, but when he mixes it up with a full band at oneĀ of his live shows, it really brings them to life. SM Wolf’s stuff is some of the best music being made in Indy right now. Also, have to give a shout out to The Bonesetters. We have been good friends with these guys for a long time, and they are some hard-working dudes!”

Some of the bands that RRB is looking forward to seeing at ORANJE 2013 include Shimmercore, Indian City Weather, Rusty Redenbacher and The Bearded Lucys. “There are some really great acts playing this year; local music can’t thrive without your support! It’s such a great atmosphere, a real festival crammed into one day without all the expensive travel.”


So where does the band see themselves going in the future? “Getting this album that we are working on finished, mastered and out to the public is a major, major goal right now. Long term? Is Rock Stardom too much to ask?”

Keep up with Rugged Russian Bear on Facebook, Twitter and their website!