Dance the year away with local bands

Photo courtesy Red wanting Blue

By John Ostapowicz

As the year winds down, local bands Red Wanting Blue and The Labra Brothers will partner up from Dec. 29 through Dec. 30 in Central Ohio. 

The End of the Year Bash will begin at The Bluestone in Columbus and conclude on The Kent Stage in Kent.

For Red Wanting Blue, the event has become an annual tradition that began in Cincinnati a decade ago. Each year features local artists from the Mahoning Valley. 

Last year’s lineup consisted of JD Eicher and Angela Perley at the Goodyear Theater in Akron. 

The venue and musicians change each year, but Red Wanting Blue has stayed consistent and continues to expose its fans to new music as well as touring opportunities. 

This is The Labra Brothers first year performing with Red Wanting Blue for its annual End of the Year Bash. The two bands have already crossed paths earlier this year at Westside Bowl in Youngstown. 

Guitarist and lead vocalist of The Labra Brothers, Adrian Labra, said the combination of the two bands is a fitting way to conclude the year. 

“We’re looking forward to it, it’s been an exciting year and it seems like it’s an appropriate way to round things up,” Labra said.

Dean Anshutz, drummer for Red Wanting Blue, who graduated from Youngstown State University, said he felt that the two bands mix well together and both fan bases enjoy each other equally. 

“[Red Wanting Blue] has wanted to do something for a while with [The Labra Brothers] and this just turned out to be a great fit for them to come back,” Anshutz said. “It seemed like a good fit and our crowds both enjoyed each other.” 

Both Red Wanting Blue and The Labra Brothers have had a busy year with touring and working on new music releases. 

Keyboardist and guitarist of Red Wanting Blue, Greg Rahm, is from Columbus and graduated from The Ohio State University in 2005. With a performance scheduled in the band’s hometown, he said he feels great to be able to come home and close out 2023.

“It feels awesome to be back, it’s been forever and a day plus one playing a show at home. To come back is always exciting to have a hometown show in your backyard,” Rahm said.

When the two-day tour concludes, both bands will begin an eventful 2024. Red Wanting Blue will kick-start its Road to Rock Boat ’24 tour, and The Labra Brothers will begin booking shows to promote its new album, “Home.”

Before the End of the Year Bash, The Labra Brothers will make a pit stop with the Huntertones on Dec. 8 at the Beachland Ballroom & Tavern in Cleveland. 

Tickets for the bash are on sale now at etix.com for the Kent Stage and Ticketmaster for The Bluestone. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and The Labra Brothers will start the show at 7:00 p.m. on both days. 

VIP packages are also available. They include early entry, a sit-in on the band’s sound check and a signed concert poster, which can also be purchased at redwantingblue.com.

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