Entertainment News

After Hours’ Midday Music Club Draws Local Bands

By Marah Morrison
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Inviting a local band into the office to perform live is allowing The Business Journal staff to get beyond business stories that feature manufacturing, industrialization and retail.

Since the launch of AfterHoursYoungstown.com, a culture and entertainment platform, The Business Journal has hosted the Midday Music Club to promote local acts, says Jeff Leo Herrmann, CEO of the Youngstown Publishing Co. Spy Convention, a pop-rock band from Canfield performed Feb. 14 at the local newspaper’s office. 

“We stream their performance live from our office, and then we put up a package and activate it on YouTube, Facebook and email,” Herrmann says. “We’re doing our job to really expose the market to local music.”

After the performance, entertainment editor Guy D’Astolfo sits down with bands for an interview for stories appearing on After Hours Youngstown.

Previous acts have been Black Wolf & The Thief and The Labra Brothers. D’Astolfo’s deep connections and knowledge of the local entertainment scene is a key factor in finding local bands to feature during the Midday Music Club, Herrmann says.

A performance in an office can give fans a more intimate show and allow them to hear different versions of the music, Herrmann says.

Jam Session with Spy Convention
Spy Convention – Mike Miller, Zafar Sheik and Asif Khan – were the most recent guests on After Hours Youngstown’s Midday Music Club.

“We’re showcasing local bands that play original music in a stripped down way,” D’Astolfo says. “It’s a little more intimate. You can really get a feel for songs in an intimate area stripped down with minimal amplification. That’s what we’re doing.” 

The Youngstown Publishing Co. is working to become more active on the entertainment scene, Herrmann says, with the eventual goal being hosting concerts and events. 

“Our goal is to support the growth of the market and the entertainment scene, so that means throwing a concert or a benefit that will expose the bands, entertain the audience and give back,” Herrmann says. 

The intimacy that came along with performing in the office was something Spy Convention vocalist Dr. Zafar Sheik enjoyed, he says. 

“It feels comfortable to me,” he says. “It’s nice to have a small audience where you can see their faces and it seems like you’re playing in front of friends.” 

Having a band coming into an office setting to perform can be exciting for the people who work there, says Michael Miller, guitarist, and it can break up the monotony of the day. 

“It’s a break from the day-to-day hum drum,” he says. “I’ve worked in an office for 18 years, so I know really well the grind that you get into being in an office with a lot of people. Putting music in an office is inspiring.” 

Playing in an office is familiar to guitarist Dr. Asif Khan.

“I actually have a guitar in my office, I have a keyboard in my office and I’m an allergist here in Youngstown,” he says. “During my moments off, maybe an hour for lunch, I might actually write a song. I might play something I want to play. It’s a great escape.”

In addition to music, AfterHoursYoungstown.com features The List, a comprehensive break down of arts and entertainment events upcoming in the area, as well as news and reviews from Guy D’Astolfo, entertainment editor of The Business Journal, and flagship content the After Hours Report, On the Menu and Flight Crew. The website is updated daily, and audiences can start getting ready for the weekend every Thursday by subscribing to the After Hours Youngstown email.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.