D’Astolfo: In Theory, Spirit Animal Was Opening Act

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Bands like Spirit Animal are the reason why you go to random concerts on Tuesday nights and show up in time to catch the opening act.

The Brooklyn-based band opened for Theory of a Deadman at Packard Music Hall Oct. 1 and took about two minutes to overcome the minimal production values typically given an opening act. The lead animal is Steve Cooper, who is a very animated frontman and kind of a hoot.

On “HYDR8,” the band’s day-after look at a rough night of drinking, Cooper did some dumbbell “air” curls –  except with his hand gripping an imaginary beverage. It was a workout.

While Theory of a Deadman deals in your basic mainstream hard rock, Spirit Animal is a little harder to classify. 

The underdog quartet mixes pop-rock, electronics, a little hip-hop and the occasional heavy riff. The band cranks out ear candy that is musically tight and decidedly fun. The self-aware cut-ups are easy to like, and their style came across on the Packard stage. But to really grasp the band’s personality, check out its videos for “Yeah,” “Best FRNDS,” “HYDR8” and “Karma.”

Spirit Animal could pull almost anything off its current album, “Reborn Yesterday,” as a single – and it pretty much has, although the bouncy “Painkiller” seems to be where it’s at for the present moment.

Theory of a Deadman has been around the block a few times over the past decade and has made a few stops in the Mahoning Valley during that time. 

The Canadian quartet, which packages its songs for mass consumption, started the evening on a serious note. Theory frontman Tyler Connolly took to a small upright keyboard for “Straight Jacket” from 2017 album “Wake Up Call.” He pretty much bookended the band’s 90-minute set with the somber “Medicate” from the same socially-conscious release.

The band’s rowdier hits from decades past still form the tent poles of its live show, including the everyman anthems “Low Life,” “Hate My Life” and the final encore “Bad Girlfriend.”

Theory will release its next album, “Say Nothing,” on Jan. 31, and it promises to take another serious look at the times we live in.

Shows Coming to Funny Farm New Venue

HERMITAGE, Pa. – The Funny Farm Comedy Club expects to open a second location here, in addition to its existing venue in the Knox Building in downtown Youngstown.

Details are still being ironed out, but longtime Funny Farm owner Dave Robich plans to utilize a new performance space in the Quality Inn, 3200 S. Hermitage Road, for his club. It will include full liquor service.

The first act will be longtime favorite Heywood Banks, tentatively scheduled for Nov. 15 (he’ll do a second show at the Youngstown site on Nov. 16), followed by Kevin Farley on Nov. 29 (Youngstown, Nov. 30).

For tickets to all Funny Farm shows, go to FunnyFarmComedyClub.com or call 330 759 4242.

Youngstown Indie Comics Expo Returns at a New Location

YOUNGSTOWN – The fifth annual Youngstown Indie Creator Expo, which goes by the cool-sounding moniker Yo-ICE, will take place Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at West Side Bowl, 2617 Mahoning Ave. This will be its first year at the refurbished and retrocool West Side bar, bowling alley, pizzeria and rock venue.

Yo-ICE is a show and sale that features regional graphic novel creators. Admission is free.

This year, the family friendly event will feature new comics from Craig Latchaw, Bob Corby, Vesenia Lindsey, Kelci Crawford and more, each of whom will have their books for sale.   

Pictured: Spirit Animal are drummer Ronen Evron, frontman Steve Cooper, Cal Stamp on lead guitar and Paul Michel on bass.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.