4 bands from Valley hope to make some noise


Four Mahoning Valley bands will compete in the 18th annual Tri-C High School Rock Off, which takes place the next four weekends at the House of Blues. The event culminates with the top 15 bands participating in the Final Exam on Feb. 1 at the downtown Cleveland venue.

All the groups are vying for a prize package that will net the winning band $1,000 cash, as well as a $1,000 gift card courtesy of the Ohio Music Shop, plus some priceless performance opportunities.

Here’s a look at the Mahoning Valley bands:

Welcome Aboard

Performance: 5:30 p.m. Jan. 17

Members (age/ instruments): Noah Gore (17, bass/vocals) Brian McNeal (17, guitar/ vocals), Davis Hunkus (15, guitar) and Quentin Fretwell (17, drums/vocals)

High school represented: Badger

Style: Alt-punk

Influences: Eddie Vedder, Relient K, Blink-182, Brandon Boyd and Max Bemis

Aspirations for Rock Off: “We love music; we love playing,” Gore said. “We’re a really new band, and we feel if we push ourselves, we’ll achieve great things.”

Prior Rock Off Experience: None

Tidbits: Despite the fact the band has yet to play its first official gig, the quartet is optimistic. “I think our lack of experience compliments our headstrong attitude,” Gore said.

Song to watch for: The silly “Stan the Fireman”

Odds of winning:SFlb“Little to none,” said Gore. “We don’t plan on it. We just thought this would be loads of fun.”

Online: www.facebook. com/WelcomeAboardOfficial/info

Small Mammals

Performance: 3 p.m. Jan. 18

Members (age/ instruments): Scotty McMaster (18, vocals/guitar), Albert Chizmar (18, vocals/guitar), Mike Perorazio (17, drums/percussion), Brittany Chamberlain (17, bass), and Rayne Blakeman (16, vocals/ukulele/keyboard)

High school represented: Boardman

Style: Folk-punk

Influences: Andrew Jackson Jihad, Ramshackle Glory, Ghost Mice, Days n Daze, The Front Bottoms and Amy Bruce Spaceshow

Aspirations for Rock Off: “We want to advance to the final round and make some new friends in the process,” Blakeman said. “We also want to spread our message of positivity, DIY, community and friendship.”

Prior Rock Off Experience: McMaster performed at last year’s Rock Off with Big Ginge & The Nobodies

Tidbits: Small Mammals is a collaboration of Chizmar, McMaster and Blakeman’s solo acoustic music, which is performed electric with a full band.

Songs to watch for: “Death Bed,” “Anxiety Song” and “You Will Be Missed”

Odds of winning: “It’s definitely going to be pretty odd,” Blakeman said.

Online: www.facebook.com/SmallMammals; and smallmammals.bandcamp.com


Performance: 3 p.m. Jan. 18

Members (age/ instruments): Tommy Kuhns, (17, guitar/bass/vocals), Keith Bair, (17, bass/guitar/vocals,) Adam Witmer, (18, drums)

High school represented: South Range

Style: Indie-punk

Influences: The Strokes, Vampire Weekend, Weezer and Red Hot Chili Peppers

Aspirations for Rock Off: “We care more about putting on a great show than anything else,” Kuhns said. “We want the crowd to enjoy it as much as we do.”

Prior Rock Off Experience: Kuhns and Witmer have performed at the past two Rock Offs, making the finals once with local band No Clue (which is also playing this year’s Rock Off).

Tidbits: The band also includes Brian Bensinger on drums; however, he graduated from high school and therefore is not eligible to play the Rock Off. Local drummer Witmer, who is also playing in the Rock Off with his band No Clue, is filling in.

Songs to watch for: The band plans on playing its older tune “Back For More,” as well as covering The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Dani California.”

Odds of winning: “We hope [to win],” Kuhns said. “We expect things to get a little crazy.”

Online: www.facebook.com/Brachedown

No Clue

Performance: 4 p.m. Jan. 19

Members (age/ instruments): Luke Eusebio (18, guitar/ vocals), Tommy Kuhns (17, guitar, synth), Adam Witmer (18, drums) and Nick Scheetz (17, bass)

High school represented: South Range

Style: Alternative rock

Influences: Switchfoot, The Black Keys and Green Day

Aspirations for Rock Off: “We are hoping to be very successful this year,” Scheetz said. “This is our third time competing in this Rock Off, so we hope that we can use some of our past experience to help us, but when it comes to the Rock Off, you never know what can happen. There are a lot of great bands this year. We are just looking forward to performing and doing our best.”

Prior Rock Off Experience: “We have been in the Rock Off two other times. Our first time we made it to the finals and had a great experience,” Sheetz said. “Then last year we were not so lucky and did not make it to the finals, but we still had a great time performing with all the other bands. Yes, we were a little put down over the loss last year, but that was last year. This is a whole new year, and we believe we can do it.”

Tidbits: No Clue, which was formed when its band members were in the sixth grade, will be playing for the first time as a quartet. Previously, it was a five-piece outfit.

Songs to watch for: Both original songs “Fly” and “The Same” are on the group’s latest EP.

Odds of winning: “We believe that our odds of winning are just as high as any other band, but, regardless, we are going to go out there and play our hearts out,” Sheetz said.

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