I heard stories about the infamous Wesley Willis playing Youngstown’s Nyabinghi while I was still seventeen. Being that I was both a huge fan and underage, I was at a great disadvantage. When I finally turned eighteen, I was determined to cram as many local performances as I could. That summer I witnessed Alterntaive Tentacles stalwarts, The Fleshies. I was also extremely lucky to attend a show by Today Is The Day with local openers, From a Second Story Window. Soon after that I saw Municipal Waste in a room with fifteen other people right before they got huge.
For all the great shows I saw, nothing could beat Grand Buffet and Gil Mantera’s Party Dream. They could always pack the venue. The excitement of a comedic show blended with energetic rhythms was unparalleled. I saw that combo play together countless times. I even had the flu for one performance but still made it out.
My most surreal experience was during the last Emissions of the Monolith festival. Experimental metal rockers Kylesa were one of my favorite bands at the time and they had a headlining slot. In a moment of of mindlessness, I locked my keys in my car. The sky was aggressively pouring rain as I waited for AAA. They showed up and I made it inside to catch the full Kylesa set while experiencing a moment of zen. I never thought that venue would leave it’s residence but impermanence is not only a Buddhist philosophy but also a fact of life in Youngstown, Ohio.
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