By Victoria Remley & Jambar Contributor Zach Mosca
Westside Bowl’s one year anniversary party, which took place March 15 and 16 in Youngstown, featured 22 rocking acts over the two-day extravaganza including Shlomi Lavie, Mumble King, Van Goose and more.
Shlomi Lavie, the vocalist and drummer in Van Goose from Brooklyn, said their performance refreshed Youngstown locals because not many bands in the area play electropop music. The band’s shows are interactive, encourage dancing and are habitually fun.
“It’s a bit out there, our shows. It’s slightly weird, so I think it will be interesting for people to watch,” Lavie said.
Westside Bowl was a stop on Van Goose’s tour for their new album, “Habitual Eater,” released March 1.
“It seems like a super awesome venue and we’re playing on the anniversary, so we’re super excited about that,” Lavie said.
Van Goose started as a solo project. Lavie, a studio drummer at the time, wanted to do his own thing. He decided to play live shows, created a studio album and started touring with his musician friends.
Alex Myers, the Mumble King solo artist from Liberty Township, did not see why people would not come to the event.
“Why not? It’s a big a** party. It’s 12 bands for two days,” he said.
Myers said the owners of Westside Bowl, Nathan and Jami Offerdahl, do a wonderful job running the venue. He said they treat the artists right and pay the artists for their time.
“They’re very hospitable and engaged,” he said. “It’s a cool spot. I [was] happy to be playing at it.”
Myers started writing music at eight years old. Words started falling together in his head, so he wrote them down. His raps use wordplay and remain very honest, upfront and dark.
“I’m singing my feelings. I’m not trying to make anybody want to like it,” he said.
Nick Gregg, the guitarist and drummer of SexyPigDivas from Kent, Ohio, was honored to be able to perform at the anniversary party.
“We’re super stoked. Nate, the owner, is a great dude and is really supportive of everyone,” he said.
SexyPigDivas consists of Gregg and his girlfriend Katie. When the duo plays live, they switch instruments in the middle of songs.
“It makes it a little more interesting and sets us apart from other bands,” Gregg said.
Trevor Mastran, the Vvilderness solo artist from Canfield, Ohio, met Nathan Offerdahl when Westside Bowl opened.
“It’s a great venue that puts on great shows. They treat their artists really well, which is not something that you get a lot around here,” Mastran said.
Youngstown underwent a wild experimental electronic act at the anniversary party. Mastran said every scene was relatively filled out except for these little niche areas including the electronic scene.
Trevor Richards, from Pittsburgh and guitarist in the band The Long Hunt, said a smaller scene like Youngstown almost has more going on in a way because it is consolidated into one to three venues rather than 15 venues.
“When you come to a place like Youngstown, you still have a percentage of the population that’s gonna come out to a show, but there’s less venues, so there’s more eyeballs watching you play,” he said.
Richards said through friends and word of mouth, the Westside Bowl was discovered. He said when he finally checked it out and booked a show, he was very impressed.
Matt Hawout, a frequent Westside Bowl visitor, came to the event to see both shows and bowl. He said he loves seeing metal shows. He said the staff are personable people and good at putting out information so people can attend their shows easily.
“I usually have to go to Cleveland or Pittsburgh to see one, so to be able to see one like this in Youngstown where Rebreather is playing, and they’re a Youngstown metal classic, so I definitely want to be there for that,” he said.
Nathan Offerdahl, co-owner of Westside Bowl, threw the anniversary party to celebrate their first year in business. They hope to keep Westside Bowl’s ball rolling.
“There’s no way we could have gotten to where we have gotten without the help of our friends and our family and all the folks that work for us,” he said. “So, it’s a chance for us to really say thank you and to have one hell of a party over two days.”