The Kellys will kick off Party on the Plaza season

Party on the Plaza

Friday: The Kellys and Groove Clinic

June 11: Winslow and The HouseBand

July 2: Hoss Jarman and the Juggernauts, with Jordan DePaul and the Reputations

July 16: Rudy and the Professionals, with Triple Threat

Aug. 6: The Rage, with Pete Shelby and the Blue Collar Band

Aug. 20: HouseBand, with Triple Threat



Party on the Plaza, the Friday-night blowouts outdoors in front of the Buffalo Wild Wings, returns Friday.

There will be only six parties this summer, down from the eight of previous years. Doug Esenwein, manager of the downtown restaurant, said the goal is to have the parties — which can draw up to 1,000 people — during the peak weeks and not compete with the elements and other events.

The worst enemy of POP has always been rain. But high- school football and the Canfield Fair also have a deleterious effect on attendance, said Esenwein. The parties won’t go head-to-head with either this year.

The parties will begin at 5 p.m., although they usually don’t get busy until later. Two bands will play — one at 8 p.m. and the other at 11.

Kicking off the season Friday will be The Kellys (11 p.m.) and Groove Clinic (8 p.m.).

The Kellys have played POP each of the past three years. But Friday’s show will mark the band’s first with new guitarist Nick Rossi. He recently replaced Joel DeGenova, who moved to Florida.

Rossi most recently was in the punk band Donnybrook, and before that, Doc Brown.

The absorption of Rossi into the band has been seamless, said Moe Angelo, bassist for The Kellys.

“He has a little different style [than DeGenova], but it’s feeling right,” he said. “He brings an energy that makes the songs more powerful because of the punk influence. It came through in the first practice.”

Rossi and Matt Holko, the band’s drummer, have worked together in the past, and Angelo noted that the band, which also includes namesake lead singer Kelly McCraken, has known Rossi “forever.”

The Kellys formed 8 years ago, and prior to DeGenova’s departure, the lineup had been intact for four years.

The band is still working toward releasing an album this fall. A DVD featuring a 2008 performance with a full orchestra at the Warren Amphitheater is also in the works.

Next up for The Kellys are shows at the Warrenstock music festival at Warren Amphitheater on June 12, and at The Lemon Grove, also in downtown Youngstown on June 25.

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