Grammy love for some Youngstowners

Fresh off its first Grammy Award win, The War on Drugs has announced a fresh batch of North American concert dates this spring and summer.

See WAR ON DRUGS award -winning album

The Philadephia-based indie rock act took home the Grammy for Best Rock Album on Sunday for its 2017 release “A Deeper Understanding.” The band is led by Adam Granduciel and includes Anthony LaMarca of Boardman, who plays guitar and other instruments.

The band’s new dates include a July 13 show at the Agora in Cleveland. Drugs is much in demand on the festival circuit; it is playing Coachella, Shaky Knees, Forecastle, XPoNential and Mountain Jam, and about a half-dozen more in North America and abroad.

“A Deeper Understanding” has garnered glowing reviews from the major rock press. SPIN called it “one of the best rock albums in years.”

The band was in Auckland, New Zealand, when it got the news of its Grammy conquest. It left the band charged up for its show that night. “Even though we weren’t able to accept [the award] in person, playing for our friends in New Zealand was the perfect celebration,” the band said on its Facebook page.

LaMarca was his humble self about the honor. The 2005 graduate of Boardman High School has been battling a cold and was under the weather on Grammy day.

The War on Drugs will continue its Down Under tour with shows tomorrow through Feb. 14 in Australia.


Youngstown stage great Joshua William Green didn’t win a Grammy, but he did perform at the ceremony in New York.

Green was a standout in the Youngstown Playhouse’s 2015 production of “CATS.” He had spent the past year or so touring with the musical “Ragtime” and working at a theater in Lancaster, Pa. A little more than two weeks ago, he moved to New York and immediately found work singing in the ensemble of a press showcase performance of the coming Broadway production of “Rocktopia” – yes the same one co-written by Randall Craig Fleischer of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra. It’s a small world.

Then came the Grammy gig. “I was asked by the director of the Harlem Gospel Choir to perform with them behind Sam Smith,” said Green. “His song ‘Pray’ features a large gospel sound, and the choir was approached to sing.” The choir had to find extra singers for the event and chose Green as one of them.


“Dirty Dancing” is on my short list of films that I watch to the end every time I stumble across it on the tube. So I had to catch the stage adaptation, which came to Packard Music Hall on Tuesday night.

The coming of age story of Frances “Baby” Houseman has been seen by pretty much everyone, and – as you would expect – the live musical version follows it very closely. It recreates every iconic scene and plot point, even if it forces some choppy dialog and scenes that are mere snippets.

The action takes place at a summer resort in the Catskills in the summer of 1963. Save for a segment that touched on the folk music movement and the civil-rights era, the musical parallels the 1987 movie.

And yes, the line “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” drew cheers.

The musical actually outdid the movie in terms of its sexy dancing. And the uber-steamy scene that closed the first act seemed to include the whole audience – quite fitting for the show’s one-night stand in Warren on a miserably cold night.


The inaugural Ribs-N-Rock festival, June 28-30 in the parking lot of Southern Park Mall, will have a musical lineup headlined by Pittsburgh’s The Clarks, plus a pair of ’90s alt-rockers in Sponge and Candlebox. Each band will have its own night. Several top local bands, including Love Turns Hate, Haymaker and the Huckin Fillbillies, are also scheduled.

There will also be a handful of rib makers cranking out irresistible pork barbecue.


Noble Creature Cask House, the new brewpub on West Rayen Avenue in Youngstown, will present a free night of comedy Feb. 9, starting at 9 p.m. Taking the stage will be Matt Liller, Jason Moliterno, Shane Herman and Tim Wolfe, who will be making his last Ohio appearance (because he is moving to Chicago).

Liller said the plan is to make it a monthly event at Noble Creature, which is located inside a former old church building.


Sometimes I get a news release that I just have to share, such as this one, which combines anatomy and Valentine’s Day in a way that only a science nerd could:


Carnegie Science Center invites guests to celebrate the season of love at the next no-kids night. 21 + Sex, Love, and Science happens Friday, Feb. 9, from 6-10 p.m.

At this month’s event, visitors can explore the insides of the human body with the Science Center’s “Body Works” exhibit and participate in a large-scale simulation where they can “swap fluids” to simulate the spread of disease.

Experts will be on hand to answer questions about human biology and reproduction, and a lecture will be offered from professionals in the kink community.

The rubber meets the road as a series of experiments put the strength of latex to the test. Other activities include the science behind scents that are believed to have an aphrodisiac effect, and the chance to woo a would-be romantic partner with a Laser Karaoke performance in the Buhl Planetarium.

Tickets cost $12 in advance at and $17 at the door.

Guy D’Astolfo covers entertainment. Follow him on Twitter at @VindyVibe.

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