Cleveland, Ohio (May 3, 2018) – The Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, OH, was set to host a night of alternative music with an eclectic lineup that featured The Happy Fits playing the next to last night of their Spring tour. Filling out the remainder of the bill was a great mix of Cleveland area talent – Strange Messenger and Moon Rocks were set to get things started prior to The Happy Fits, while the well-established Front Porch Lights anchored the evening.
Built in 1950, this Ohio landmark continues to host a bevy of eclectic music acts in both the Beachland Ballroom & Tavern. Keeping things nostalgic, the venue’s downstairs area features a vinyl and vintage shop that offers reasonably priced clothes, vinyl, and other items from times gone by.
As the evening opened, the crowd was greeted with a piece of Cleveland punk rock history. As Strange Messenger took the stage, a familiar face was behind the bass guitar. Cleveland music scene veteran Rae Martello (bass, vocals) and her latest project featuring Bobby Martello, Jr. (guitar), and Marc DeCristofaro (drums) were fired up and ready to lay down some of their unreleased swinging alternative rock tunes including “Jerk”, Drive-By”, and “Suck City”.
Rae has played bass for some Cleveland heavyweight punk acts including Vivians, Heathers, and BackMonkeys, and is no stranger to the scene. The crowd was lined up to support her latest endeavor and were on every note and word. The impressive following was treated to a nine-song set of music that Strange Messenger’s plans on releasing as an album later in 2018.
Fusing together an indie rock sound, with hints of classic rock, blues, and soul, Ryan P. Nedoma (guitar, vocals), Dan Thompson (bass), and Nick Ruscitto (drums) make up Moon Rocks. This Cleveland-based trio was out to perform some songs from their self-titled Moon Rocks (2017) album as well as others. Their set featured several songs including “The Talk”, the unreleased “Nothing F***s You More Than Time”, and “Hey”.
Their tight musicianship and musical changeups create a live jam band style that allows the songs to extend a bit and develop a real funky vibe which was felt throughout the half-hour-long set. Rock, blues and soul make up the perfect combo as these three deliver their music from the heart.
From Pittstown, New Jersey, The Happy Fits were out in support of their debut EP “Awfully Apeelin” (2016). They were also ready to share several songs from their upcoming release, Concentrate, which is dropping June 15, 2018.
The Happy Fits are an indie rock band featuring members, Luke Davis (drums), Ross Monteith (guitar), and Calvin Langman (cello). Originally formed as a duo with Calvin and Ross, The Happy Fits used their music to raise money for numerous charities. Shortly after Luke joined the band, their first single, “While You Fade Away” reached #5 on Spotify’s Top 50 Viral USA Chart the first week of its release, giving them a chance to tour.
The Happy Fits music is super infectious, and the simple, but great melodies are catchy. Although the members list The Killers, The Black Keys, Led Zeppelin, and others as influences, you can’t help to hear the innocence and perfection of a mid-sixties version of The Beatles. Having a cello in lieu of bass guitar helps create the dynamic sound which is both a throwback and progressive sound at the same time. Having the ability to have three great vocalists is a rarity, especially when it creates the amazing harmonies found in their music.
Having been together as a trio for 18 months now, they are sounding better than ever. Their intimate set included the already released “Too Late” and “While You Fade Away”, as well as the soon to be released “Grow Back”, and “Mary”, among many others; including the rockabilly-infused, “Well”, which they only play live. The high energy music had the crowd dancing and clapping along throughout their set. They have what it takes to make it big – great songs, great personalities, and a superb live performance!
Here’s what guest contributor, Allison Heimberger, had to say about The Happy Fits –
The Happy Fits play their music in a lighthearted way. Their songs are quite optimistic and simple, yet so powerful with their purposeful lyrics that are significant to lots of today’s struggles. Some of the topics that they hit can be very difficult to turn into a pleasant song which gets the point across; and they pulled it off perfectly. Even though they only have a handful of songs released, they are the type of songs that copious amounts of people can listen to on repeat.
As mentioned, the energy in their songs recorded are already energetic, but when they play live it’s even more so. Every member of the band got involved with the crowd, and showed great hospitality towards everyone attending. Everyone was cheering and singing along with them; which not only makes the band get more involved, but makes the audience happy to be there. Their live performance tops a lot of other bands when it comes to energy, and these guys certainly brought that!
After they played, they went out and greeted all of the fans that were in line for merch. Calvin, Ross, and Luke were the sweetest – treating everyone as if they were a close friend. Each one of the band members made good conversation with the people waiting in line, and even stayed after the rest of the bands performances to talk and get a photo with some of them.
They talked about what kind of music had inspired them to make their own music; which eventually developed into their own, original style. Luke mentioned how he was a metalhead, but started to grow into their own genre from that. Ross expressed all of the stories of how they got the band started and how they got to the great place they are at now. Calvin divulged into how he enjoys all of the excitement that the crowd showed throughout the entire night, and even gave us some life advice; “stay in school, and don’t do drugs,” and of course, the other members made fun of him for saying such cheesy advice.
Before leaving, Calvin gave us a preview link to their new album, Concentrate. From the many times we have listened, it is stellar, and a full album review will be coming soon – stay tuned!!
Members, Conor Standish (vocals, rhythm guitar), Sean Keating (lead guitar), Joey David (drums), John Doyle (keys/aux), and Dillon DeVito (bass guitar), blend their musical talents together to make smooth mid-tempo alternative rock music. The pleasant guitar sounds, mixed with keys and the rhythmic bass create a unique sound. Their set opened with “On a Little Screen”, even mixing in lyrics from “You Sexy Thing”, and “For What It’s Worth”, during the bridge section. Continuing on with “Waiting on a Miracle”, the Front Porch Lights kept the audience entertained as Sean noodled the guitar and Conor serenaded them with his super smooth delivery.
What a gem the Cleveland area has in the Front Porch Lights. As they continue to play regionally, they are also heading out of state for a gig in New York City, and some dates in Pennsylvania, before returning. Check these guys out when you are in Northeast Ohio, they are sure to supply you with an evening of pleasant alternative music.
Photojournalist: Allen Heimberger
Guest Photojournalist: Allison Heimberger