Each year we here at Alive celebrate Rocktober, so dubbed because the month tends to bring a flood of must-see concerts from a wide range of local and national acts. For the fourth straight year this includes our own Rocktoberfest, a free (!) concert we’re staging at the Bluestone on Saturday, Oct. 12. This year’s event, which will stretch into the wee hours of the morning, includes performances from a diverse set of locals, including The Whiles, The Girls!, Rashad, Reverse the Curse, EOP and Mister Shifter. Read on to learn a little about each performer, and to hear their suggestions for the numerous ways you can continue celebrating Rocktober all month long.
The Whiles (8-8:30 p.m.)
Sound: The long-running crew’s jangly, folk-leaning songs are both introspective and gorgeous.
Interviewed: Chris Bolognese
What people can expect from a Whiles concert: “I think we have a blend of styles. It can be really loud at times or real somber. We really embrace dynamics and try to play off each other. As a bassist I never try to play the same song the same way twice. We keep it organic, you know.”
Most memorable local gig: “Way back we opened for My Morning Jacket [at the Newport] and The National [at Skully’s] before either was really big, so both of those are pretty memorable. We played with Andrew Bird a few times. These are people we looked up to that made big strides.”
Something random about the band: “Joe and Matt [Peppercorn] are brothers, and it’s always interesting to watch them interact. A lot of times it’s like watching the two guys in Oasis and how they clash and it gives the music this energy.”
One more way people can celebrate Rocktober: “By supporting anything local. I like Independents’ Day and ComFest and anything of that nature. It’s a great way to hear bands … that are literally a mile away from where you live as opposed to spending $30 to go to the LC [Pavilion] and see a national act.”
The Girls! (8:45-9:15 p.m.)
Sound: These high-energy, power-pop noisemakers marry downtrodden lyrics with visceral guitar jams that come on like they’ve been pounding cheap beers all night.
Interviewed: Jessica Wabbit
What people can expect from a Girls! concert: “They’ll have a really, really good time. They might cry. They might laugh. They might see people take off their shirts.”
Most memorable local gig: “Independents’ Day [this year]. We had a baby dance party on the stage, and my own son got to come up. My son said we had a million people there. It was awesome.”
Something random about the band: “What isn’t random about us? We all look different; that’s, like, our thing. Every member of the band is from a completely different walk of life. We’ve got a metal guy, a pop guy, a nerd, a punk girl and then we’ve got me, and I come from a country background. But we all love pop.”
One more way people can celebrate Rocktober: “Just get a really kick-ass costume.”
Rashad (9:30-10 p.m.)
Sound: When Rashad’s not busy crafting beats for rappers like Massillon-native Stalley he’s focused on his own music, which melds elements of hip-hop, R&B and dusty soul.
Interviewed: Rashad Thomas
What people can expect from a Rashad concert: “Wow, definitely soulful R&B and hip-hop, and a lot of good energy. I like to consider my music feel-good music. And hopefully they can expect something different. I’ll be the oddball at the show.”
Most memorable local gig: “We throw a 614 Summer Jam every year at Skully’s, and probably the first year was the most exciting. It’s a local thing, so you get a chance to put everyone from the hip-hop and R&B community, who don’t rub shoulders as often as they should, in the same room. Outside of that I had a song on the radio in 2005 and we did a big show for the radio. There have been a couple moments, man.”
Something random about the band: “I’m big into metaphysics and spirituality. I’m a heavy reader and a heavy thinker.”
One more way people can celebrate Rocktober: “Drink a good glass of craft beer. I’m a resident of Olde Towne East, so I like to support Yellow Brick Tavern. Hey, man, I’m a big fan of beer [laughs].”
Reverse the Curse (10:15-10:45 p.m.)
Sound: The arty hard-rockers conjured images of the Deftones on 2013’s moody, emotionally heavy Existent.
Interviewed: Joey Regets
What people can expect from a Reverse the Curse concert: “I think we take our art very seriously. What we thrive on more than anything is our live show. We have a whole light show we bring with us that goes with the darker theme of the new album.”
Most memorable local gig: “I would say our record release show at Ace of Cups a month ago. That was our most recent show, and if the shows aren’t getting better and better what’s the point of playing?”
Something random about the band: “Our guitar player’s [Ed Starcher] father was the voiceover actor for Scruff McGruff. And also [Ed] was conceived in the bathroom at an Iron Maiden concert and that’s why his name is Eddie. He was named after the [Iron Maiden] character [Eddie the Head].”
One more way people can celebrate Rocktober: “By getting involved with other art in the community and going to galleries and things like that.”
EOP (11 p.m.-12 a.m.)
Sound: The sextet draws on everything from earthy hip-hop to jazz to funk in groovy soundscapes designed to stimulate both mind (peace, love and harmony reign) and body.
Interviewed: Evan Oberla
What people can expect from an EOP concert: “They can expect to dance. The groove is very important to us. They can also expect diverse sounds. We’re ever-evolving in terms of the types of sounds we play.”
Most memorable local gig: “ComFest is always up there, and we closed out ComFest last year. That was the first time we had real rehearsals for the band. We were excited to play the main stage, and everything we played was really, really powerful. They’re all just getting better. Each show is a stepping stone moving toward the future.”
Something random about the band: “We’re a random bunch to hang out with, that’s for sure. Oh, and we’re all full-time musicians, which is cool.”
One more way people can celebrate Rocktober: “Go see some live music. In this city it’s so cheap, and people forget that. A lot of us are doing this for a living, and it’s all good and everyone has something to offer. So go fill your soul up with real music. Go rock.”
Mister Shifter (12:15-1:15 a.m.)
Sound: Mister Shifter is an appropriate name for a DJ who can so effortlessly switch gears musically, bouncing between hip-hop, house and a host of other party-starting genres.
Interviewed: Jack Sheets (a.k.a. Mister Shifter)
What people can expect from a Mister Shifter concert: “It’s different every time. I’ve tried not to be a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none type, but I don’t really have a specific sound. I’ve always liked all the subgenres of music. Usually I survey the crowd and survey the vibe…and the music is totally off-the-cuff.”
Most memorable local gig: “I’d say opening for MSTRKRFT at the Bluestone, but it was called BoMA [at the time]. I opened for them maybe five years ago and it was the most awesome party vibe I’ve ever been a part of. Oh, I also opened for Steve Aoki at Sugar Bar. It’s a toss-up between those two.”
Something random about the band: “I'm completely obsessed with fantasy football, and am the commissioner of a competitive keeper league called the 'Stakes Is High' league.”
One more way people can celebrate Rocktober: “I’d say support your local record stores, like Spoonful or any of the other local shops. I’ve been on a big vinyl kick lately and it’s driving my wife nuts.”