Concert Review: The Vindys, Canton Symphony Are a Match Made in Rock Heaven

CANTON, Ohio – The sound of the string section swelled during the introduction to the song “Classic,” and Jackie Popovec nearly swooned at the beauty of it.

It was one peak moment in a concert that was full of them.

The Vindys, led by lead singer Popovec, performed a landmark concert Saturday night with the full Canton Symphony Orchestra at Umstattd Hall.

The Youngstown rockers played a 15-song set that spanned their entire catalog and included a couple of new songs that have yet to be released.

An audience of 1,200 filled the concert hall – most of them Vindys fans. The band was positioned at stage front, with at least 40 classical musicians behind it. Associate conductor Matthew Jenkins Jaroszewicz was on the podium.

The orchestra provided a lush ambience and embellished each song. It occasionally took over on interludes that elevated the proceedings into something celestial.

Popovec looked elegant in a flowing outfit that was also decidedly rock ’n’ roll. She was joined by bandmates John Anthony and Rick Deak (guitars), Nathan Anthony (keyboards), Brenden Burke (bass), Owen Davis (drums) and the horn section of Garret Kuchmaner (saxophone), Brian Mayle (trombone) and Kyle O’Donnell (trumpet).

The sound filled the spacious and acoustically fine hall. Popovec’s voice sounded clear and natural against that rich sonic backdrop, especially on “Want Your Heart.”

But in some ways, it was a typical Vindys show.

The concert was supposed to start at 7:30 p.m. but was slightly delayed. Popovec explained why to the assembled.

“They told us there were still too many people at the bar,” she said. “Vindys fans like to drink. Come on, guys, this is the symphony! We want to be invited back!” she playfully admonished.

Popovec bantered between songs throughout the night, adding an extra dose of charm to the atmosphere.

The set list – or should we call it “the program”? – included most of the band’s mainstays and a few rarities. Songs were selected for their compatibility with orchestral accompaniment.

The gypsy vibe of “Take Me Home” was made even more pronounced because of the symphonic touch.

The horn section took precedence on the throwback tune “On My Mind” from the band’s “Red Wine” EP.

The rock band-orchestra-vocalist mashup really hit its stride with the back-to-back power ballads “I Will Always Love You More” and the beautiful “Morning Light.” On the latter song, Popovec held a note for what seemed like forever.

But what came next might have been unexpected for the symphony’s regulars. For the as-yet unreleased Vindys song “Oohh La La,” Popovec came off the stage and strolled through the aisles while singing. By the way, “Oohh La La” – a Philly soul number with strings, horns and a lot of bounce – sounds like it will be a massive hit.

In some ways, the evening was like an orchestral pops concert with a Broadway-caliber guest vocalist. But it was really something totally fresh, propelled by The Vindys and their brassy rock sound.

For the encore, the band played – what else? – “Classic.” In her final address to the audience, an emotional Popovec swept her arm in the direction of the orchestra and jokingly announced, “We’re taking this on the road!”

That would be a logistical nightmare, of course. But it wouldn’t be a bad idea to repeat the show with other orchestras in the region.

Pictured at top: The Vindys include John Anthony, Jackie Popovec and Rick Deak.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.