NILES Young bands ready to rock Eastwood

The Tune It Up series tries to give young musicians exposure outside of the bar circuit.
NILES -- For the average high school-age rock band, finding a place to perform outside parents' garages is difficult.
That's why the Performing Arts Council of Trumbull County is sponsoring the third-annual Tune It Up!, a concert series for young musicians trying to make a name for themselves.
"The kids have a band, but there's nowhere for them to play," said council director Bobbie Brown. "The biggest places are the bars, but they're not old enough to play there."
Even when they are allowed to play in the bars, Brown said, oftentimes parents aren't thrilled by the idea and the band members' friends can't come and watch.
"So, we offered them a venue," Brown said, which this year is the Eastwood Mall.
"It's good for the kids, and it's good for us as well," said mall marketing director Danny Rowland.
Location change: In previous years, the event has been staged at Courthouse Square in Warren, but "young people don't like Courthouse Square -- they don't go there," Brown said. "They go to the mall."
The bands are all local and the members are all under 25.
Brown said most inquiries about the concert series -- which started May 30 -- are from band members' parents.
"This offers a learning experience," she said, as well as exposure. "The more you play, the more people look for you," Brown said.
Donovan Rice, a member of Boardman-based Core, hopes the exposure works for his band, which will appear June 20. They've just put together a CD and have sold 110 copies.
He hopes they sell more at their concert. "Come on," he says, "they're only five bucks."
Rice and his friends started playing in eighth grade, and now the 17- and 18-year-olds are looking for more places.
"This [series] is nice -- it's a place to play," he said. "And unless you go to downtown Youngstown, there aren't many of those."
Popularity grows: Brown said the concerts used to be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. The popularity of the series has grown, however, so this year they had to jury it.
Brown said the main requirement is that the music can't be vulgar.
"A lot of this music contains a lot of swear words," she said. "But the mall is a public place -- they can't use those."
Other bands in the series include Blue Euphoria, which played May 30; Exit 14, who won this year's Page One Rock Off, Wednesday; and ILLBRED (ABP), June 27.
All concerts start at 6:30 p.m. in the center concourse.

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