By Victoria Remley
Local music blasted at Westside Bowl on Feb.1 when Penguin Productions hosted the Federal Frenzy Face Off. JULIET won the inaugural competition and secured a spot to perform at Youngstown State University’s Federal Frenzy in April.
The event took place at the Westside Bowl in Youngstown where eight bands each performed a 20-minute set on a stage over bowling lanes.
The bands included JULIET, along with Fifth & Aurora, the HR Department, Black Wolf and the Thief, Spy Convention, Mediocre at Best and the Super Babes.
At the event, the audience members voted for what band they wanted to hear at Federal Frenzy — JULIET came out victorious.
Lou Rivera, lead vocalist in Fifth & Aurora and senior telecommunications major, said it was a blessing to play in the first Federal Frenzy Face Off as the opener. Although the band booked a show at Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts that day, they wanted to be a part of the show.
“We did whatever it took to make it happen,” Rivera said. “It is amazing how Federal Frenzy attracts such a wonderful demographic, who come for the sole purpose to listen and support local music. As musicians, that is the best thing we could ask for; is for people to just listen.”
He said events like this are so important to the Youngstown community.
“Music brings people together already and events like this feeds Youngstown’s soul. The Youngstown music scene is ridiculous and insanely talented artists walk around the streets everyday,” Rivera said. “Federal Frenzy is the one event that showcases the amazing music people bring to the city and also brings in just as amazing people who support it.”
Ashlee Cook, a YSU junior communications major and Penguin Productions operations lead, said the event had a lot of talented student bands, which was a nice way to get exposure for them.
Cook said through the Face Off, audience members got a preview of Federal Frenzy.
“If you’ve never been to the event, it’s a good way to see kind of what you’re getting into, at least the music side of it … [and] a nice preview to which bands will be playing,” she said.
Federal Frenzy Face Off also had the ability to bring people together through music. Allison Marado, the event lead, said she thought bringing people together would be better with faculty and students through listening to music by local and alumni bands.
She said Westside Bowl is a good spot to bring the community of Youngstown together through a battle of the bands competition.
“It’s something new and something different,” Marado said. “I personally have never been to a battle of the bands.”
Cook said a benefit of the event was that it was cheap, which is something college students love.
Marado contacted the bands to see if they wanted to participate in the event. Her duties included helping the bands with sound check, making up the schedule and answering any questions the bands had.
Cook received the band’s sound system requests from Marado and sent them to Penguin Production’s sound techs. She also requested the drum set for the event and other production needs and worked on the event’s planning timeline and the staffing schedule.
Oceanna Newman, a senior respiratory care major from Canton, Ohio, said she was excited to come to Federal Frenzy Face Off.
“I think it’s a cool way for us to get involved to help pick the bands that are going to be at Federal Frenzy,” she said.