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East 9th covers other local acts for web concert

The members of East 9th can’t play shows with other area bands right now, so they’ll settle for playing area bands’ songs.

Lead singer and guitar player Ryan Racketa and bassist Jarrett Walters will livestream a concert at 8 p.m. Friday on the band’s Facebook and Instagram pages, and the setlist will be made up of songs by other local bands.

“We’ve done three or four of these (livestreams), and each one had a theme,” Racketa said. “We’ve always screwed around in practice, playing other bands’ songs, so we decided why not try to do a stream that way. They’re all bands and friends we’ve played with before.”

The setlist will include songs by Spirit of the Bear, the Labra Brothers, JD Eicher, Frank Toncar, Whiskey Pilot, Model Rockets, Leo D’Angelo and the Ohio Weather Band. They also will play a song from Walters’ side project, JW and the Convenience Band.

Preparing for Friday’s concert has been an educational experience.

“With Spirit of the Bear, we’re working on two of their songs, one from the very first EP and one is much more recent,” Racketa said. “You can see how much more talented they got in that time frame. The first one was fairly simple, the recent one took a lot more time to learn. There was a lot of pausing and rewinding, pausing and rewinding. You can’t find (guitar) tabs online for these songs, but it’s been a fun process.”

Figuring out the harmonies of the Labra Brothers and open guitar tunings used by D’Angelo also were a challenge. For the latter, they went to the source, getting some guidance from D’Angelo about the guitar parts.

Racketa said he contacted all of the other acts to make sure they were cool with the idea, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

The idea reflects the camaraderie that exists in the local music scene.

“I don’t know what it is about Youngstown,” Racketa said. “I can’t think of a single show we’ve played when there wasn’t someone from another band there.

“For the scene to be strong, you have to support each other. It benefits the scene overall when you’re excited about another band, hyping the other bands to the people who are there to see you. There is power in numbers.”

East 9th — which also includes guitarists Steve Spencer and Reese Maslen and drummer Kenny Ors — had planned to spend the spring writing and recording new music that it would be playing live over the summer. COVID-19 upended those plans, keeping the band out of the studio, but the musicians have been able to do some writing while working remotely.

“Rather than having everyone there, people are coming up with their own ideas and putting them into the computer,” Racketa said. “It’s an interesting way of doing things. It’s not ideal, but there are some positives to it. New ideas are coming out that might not have in a group setting.”

If the band has to continue with livestreams instead of live shows, it may premiere some of the new material that way, and a second local covers show also could be on the horizon.

“That’s definitely the plan,” Racketa said. “We can’t make the livestream two-plus hours, and there are other songs by other bands we’d like to do.”

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