For concert-goers, obstacles like whiteout snowfall or poor road conditions are paid no mind. Rock ‘n’ roll does not falter in the face of Mother Nature.
Saturday evening: The Royal Oaks bar and grille on Oak St. hosted three rock trios. Headlining the event was Detroit’s rockabilly outfit the Koffin Kats. Opening acts were Western Pennsylvania natives Harnessing the Sun and Youngstown’s own The Idle Shades.
“This is our second time playing at The Royal Oaks,” said Vic Victor, Koffin Kats’ lead vocalist and upright bassist. “This place is great. We love it here.”
Their punk rock outfit has been together for 10 1/2 years, with minor member changes. The remaining members of the Koffin Kats are EZ Ian Jarrel on guitar and backing vocals and Eric “E Ball” Walls. The Koffin Kats have progressively taken on more tour dates annually. This year alone, they plan to be on the road for over 200 days.
“This is how we got our start — doing nothing but intimate shows,” Victor said. “This feels more at home, sometimes. That’s just the kind of band we are. We have a good time at these kinds of shows.”
Fans packed the stage and bar areas to bear witness to the excitement that is live music. The Royal Oaks offers patrons the opportunity to see bands that would not be hosted at other Youngstown venues.
“The two major places to play right now in Youngstown are definitely The Royal Oaks and Cedars,” said Josh Wakeford, The Idle Shades’ lead guitarist. “[Youngstown’s music scene] is definitely thriving. There’s a lot of up-and-coming bands.”
The Idle Shades have been in their current, most permanent state for the past year and a half. Lead singer and bassist Angelo Scordo has been writing music for The Idle Shades for the past 10 years. Since its conception, Scordo has dealt with drummer and guitarist changes. The Idle Shades’ current drummer, Anthony Rapone, joined the band in 2008.
The Idle Shades belt out songs in a style similar to post-hardcore punk bands that formed in the 90’s. The group said they gather inspiration from Bad Religion and Greenday.
Wakeford said he was satisfied with the outcome.
“The crowd was great. I couldn’t ask for a better turnout,” he said.
The opening act of the night was Harnessing the Sun. The group hails from western Pennsylvania. Harnessing the Sun consists of Doug Roberts on guitar and vocals, Tom Frutilla on bass and Loren Butz on the drums. The band has been together for around two years.
Harnessing the Sun plays straight-forward rock and roll and encompasses elements of punk rock.
“More than anything I like to just get out and do it,” Roberts explained. “I just like live music, and the fact that I can be a part of it is freaking awesome.”