Seven local bands to compete

Tonight’s Battle of the Bands will be the Canfield Fair’s first.



CANFIELD — This isn’t your average high school gymnasium battle of the bands.

The seven local groups performing at the Canfield Fair’s Battle of the Bands tonight have been hand-selected from a pool of more than twice that number. Some have produced records and developed national followings.

But they’re all as Youngstown as a Handel’s banana split.

The six members of folk rock/bluegrass band The Devotees met while studying at The Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University, said singer/guitarist Dave Buker, 21, of Poland. During tonight’s lineup, from 4 to 8 p.m., the group plans to have as many as 11 musicians on stage, including a cellist, flute player and a bass clarinet player.

Buker said some of the band members’ friends from music school have been helping the band record their yet-unnamed debut album, to be released in November. What better way to close out summer than to gather the group on stage for a show at the Canfield Fair, said Buker.

“The fair is a big thing,” said Buker. “I kind of wanted to pull out all the stops for it.”

Preferable setting

Nontraditional concert settings, such as the fair, are the preference of 28-year-old Khaled Tabbara and his band, The Zou. The band, which features a guitar player from the Dana School and a drummer who moonlights with the Fort Wayne, Ind., Symphony has played about 200 shows, in settings such as New York, Nashville and Chicago, said Tabbara.

“I like situations like this because people can actually listen,” said Tabbara. “They’re listening for harmony and they’re listening for sound structure. They’ll be able to critique it.”

The Zou and The Devotees and five other bands will be competing for the chance for their own free music video, produced by Fynal Step Audio, said organizer David Moliterno, 17, of Canfield. The second-place act will receive four hours of free recording studio time courtesy of Amber Wolf Studio, he said.

Moliterno and other members of the Junior Fair Board organized the event to benefit the board’s Darrell Bacon Scholarship Fund. So far they’ve raised $8,000 or $9,000 through sponsorships for the free event, he said. Along with helping the scholarship fund, the Junior Fair Board and the event’s sponsors plan to raffle off two guitars and other prizes during the event.

This will be the first year the fair has held an organized rock music competition, said Moliterno. “Shawn” from Rock 104 WWIZ-FM will be judging the event, along with a representative of First Night Canfield and Truck Night at Yankee Lake, he said. The concert will be held at the North Stage. Attendance is free for those who have paid for admission to the fair.

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