The Midwest holds a special place in our hearts: JanSport was headquartered in Appleton, WI for many years and it is still home to our custom collegiate apparel division. There’s a charm about the region that’s overlooked by most on the coasts, and it’s hard to explain to someone that’s never visited.
While the coasts have been known as the “trendsetters” for fashion, arts, music, etc. for as long as any one can remember, the Midwest has it’s own thing going on. Maybe it’s the 6 months of the year where noone wants to go outside or the lower cost of living that allows artists and musicians ample space to dwell and create, but the arts scene is thriving in the region known more for it’s corn fields, mega churches, and above average body weights.
Enter Midwest Underground: a prime example of what a few young, talented, and focused folks can put together on a shoestring budget with the help of a regional community seeping with an underground scene of some of the best musical and artistic talent the nation has to offer.
Filmed in Bloomington, IN (home to Indiana University, John Cougar Mellencamp and sister record labels Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar, and Dead Oceans), Midwest Underground is a mutation on your basic variety show that features a few short comedy bits, two live musical guests, an artist spotlight and an independent film short all with a warped dose of Midwest humor and weirdness. The show’s host, Archibald Prodgers, is a sort of faux-classy and grossly mustachioed Mr. Rogers who appears to have a belly full of Budweiser and Mad Dog 20/20. We’re not exactly sure what to make of him, but for being a seemingly random character pulled out of thin-air he’s pretty damn funny.
The show may be goofy, but the music is no joke. This episode features one of our favorite bands on the planet, a certain JanSport Battle Of the Bands winner called the Broderick, along with the British blues-rock duo Gallery Circus. The musical spots are filmed right in the natural habitat of the underground Midwestern rock band: a rowdy basement show. The best part of it is that the footage actually looks and sounds good while capturing some fantastic artists in an intimate setting on their way up the music business ladder.
Check out the third episode above with musical guests the Broderick and Gallery Circus, and head to www.mwunderground.comto see more episodes and clips. Enjoy!