Mixtape Metro
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Mixtape Metro


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"Mixtape Metro wins Battle of the Bands"

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Jake Vanyo and Mixtape Metro, representing Lake Center Christian School, took top honors at The Repository's 5th Annual Battle of the Bands.
Jake Vanyo and Mixtape Metro, representing Lake Center Christian School, took top honors at The Repository's 5th Annual Battle of the Bands.

Seven local bands took to The Palace stage Saturday night for The Repository's 5th Annual Battle of the Bands.

Mixtape Metro, representing Lake Center Christian School, came out strong to win over an audience of about 1,200 music fans, including loud contingents from much larger Jackson, GlenOak and Alliance high schools.

Amazingly, it was their first performance together as a band.

The group, made up of Jake Vanyo on vocals, synthesizer, and computer programming; John King on guitar; Evan Davis on bass; and Josh Arnold on drums; performed two original songs with what judge Ryan Watts, a musician, called "an electronic, dance, indie feel."

"Mixtape Metro had the closest thing to a concert feel," he said. "They mastered the audience."

"We're not strangers to playing in front of large audiences. We've all been in different bands," said Vanyo. "This was a real collaborative effort."

Vanyo said the band plans to continue to evolve and change styles and even add members.

"It will change every show. Nobody knows what to expect and neither do we," he said.

Professional musician Margie Stocker, who was in the crowd, said, "They had the whole audience. They took the competition to another level. They seemed extremely seasoned, like they were 10 years into the business."

Music producer Don Dixon, a judge, said, "It was very close, but they edged out (the competition) with crowd response and showmanship.

Another band, "Human All Along," formed only three months ago. The judges were impressed by its strong vocals.

Fans from Jackson High School had their own competition going all evening. Two factions of students sitting on opposite sides of the aisle cheered for one of two Jackson bands: Illumination Nation and P.J. & The Whistlers.

Illumination fans came armed with the most signs. They knew the lyrics to the songs and shouted them out with the band.

P.J. fans sat quietly throughout the performance and vice versa.

Turns out it's a friendly rivalry. Illumination lead singer Bryant Campbell was down in the crowd dancing away with P.J. fans throughout its set.

Said Illumination bass player Steve Neal, "We hate rivalries. We're just kids playing music. Don't hate it. You gotta love any group getting out there, and P.J., they're like our brothers, our best friends as far as music goes."

Other competitors included Atlantis Awake from GlenOak, Fightmile from Perry, and Astrovan from Fairless.

Benjamin Pane, who emceed the night with The Repository's Dan Kane, told the screaming audience, "This has been the coolest Battle of the Bands yet. You guys are crazy!" - Canton Repository

"Churches that Rock!"

Sunday, April 13, 2008
BY Dan Kane

If I told you that the hottest local venues for teen rock bands are at Jackson Friends Church, First Christian Church and Bethel Temple, would you believe me?

These churches, along with MySpace pages, have provided the groundwork for a thriving young garage-band scene. It's not "Christian rock" per se, although some of the bands express spiritual leanings.

Instead, it is about providing area young people with decent places to hang out and giving fledgling bands with inoffensive lyrics a place to be heard.

On a recent Friday night, about 150 kids, mostly 13 to 18, were drawn to a rock show at the Java House, a cozy coffee house in the basement of Jackson Friends Church in Jackson Township. It was a lively crowd, with lots of camaraderie. Refreshingly, the bands are supportive buds, not rivals.

Among the groups performing were P.J. & the Whistlers and Illumination Nation, both finalists in the Repository's 2008 Battle of the Bands, and the Cleveland-based band Viadora. Shows run from about 7 to 11:30 p.m. Admission is $6 or 7, which is split between the five to seven bands appearing at each show.

positive and safe

"It doesn't matter if they have purple hair and earrings in their nose, we want them to know they're welcome here," said Tom Lincoln, Java House operations manager. "Kids feel safe here, and the parents feel safe dropping them off. We want to be a positive influence."

"It's the best place to play," Joe Suter, 18, said. "Everyone from everywhere comes here, and there's all ages, too. There's usually nothing to do around here, just movies, bowling or these shows."

"A lot of bands get heard here," said Bryant Campbell, 17, a guitarist-vocalist for Illumination Nation. "It's a fun place to chill. I come here all the time."

"There's a lot of kids from GlenOak and Perry here tonight, a lot of Jackson Kids," said Jessica Latham, 16, who was working the door. "Being in a church keeps it clean, but it's not church-based music. It's a good chill-zone type of thing."

"We've got a really well-behaved group of kids here," Zach Rambaud, youth pastor at Jackson Friends, said. "We're proud of them."

Jon Lincoln, 17, a vocalist-keyboardist for the band Atlantis Awake, books the shows at Java House, drawing from both the local talent pool and far-away bands passing through the area.

"We've had bands from New York and California here," Lincoln says. "People will message me on the Java House MySpace page. Sometimes we have hardcore shows here, people with lots of body piercings and tattoos. They look scary but they're really nice guys."

"I like seeing different people come around and just hang out," said Sarah Webster, 15, whose favorite local bands are Promise Me Scarlet and Box of Stars. "Everybody gets along."

full-tilt rock shows

If the Java House has a loose and intimate basement vibe, the shows at Edgewood Community Center at First Christian Church in Plain Township have a full-tilt rock concert flavor.

The room is high-ceilinged, the stage is spacious, the stage lighting is dramatic, the sound is crisp and the volume is loud enough that sheriff's deputies regularly issue noise citations. For this reason, the 7 p.m. shows here end promptly at 10.

On a recent Saturday night, more than 200 people turned out at Edgewood to hear Mixtape Metro, Promise Me Scarlet, My Dearest Devotion and 40s.

"I'm pretty sure we have every local high school represented here tonight, along with people from Mount Union, Kent and Walsh. It's definitely a smorgasbord," said Curtis Miller, who promotes the shows at Edgewood. Also spotted were parents of band members wielding videocams on tripods.

"We bring in regional and national acts, but we find that the local bands are a big attraction. The local music scene is real important to our culture and our community," Miller said. "Some are Christian bands, some are not. It's a mix. The only rule is that you can't have profanity or be offensive to women."

As for the $7 admission fee, Miller said, "Tonight all the bands are guaranteed $100, but the more they bring, the more they make, which gives them motivation to promote."

Among the attendees are a pair of 16-year-olds from Canton South High School, Allissa Gearhart and Josie Carrick.

"I love Mixtape and Promise Me Scarlet is a new favorite," Gearhart said. "There's a big area here, you can jump around. You can meet a lot of new people."

"My parents don't care if I come here. They're all for it," Carrick said. "There's always security plus there's parents, which is kind of lame..."

"I've been to two or three shows here," said Cole Taylor, 16, guitarist-vocalist for Illumination Nation. "It's good for the local music scene. More exposure, more money."


At Bethel Temple, rock shows happen in a carpeted gymnasium. The stage, lighting rig and P.A. system came from the Odeon, for years one of Cleveland's leading concert venues. (Youth pastor Don Blanton was a soundman at the Odeon.)

"It's definitely the biggest venue around," said Alex Kopp, 18, drummer for My Dearest Devotion, and Bethel's concert promoter. "We had a benefit for Promise Me Scarlet in February and we had probably close to 600 kids. It was just crazy."

Shows are usually held twice a month, featuring bands from the local teen scene as well as Malone and Walsh universities.

"I've traveled around a lot," Kopp said. "And we definitely have one of the biggest and most growing music scenes around." - Canton Repository


2008- We Are Electric! EP

2009- Rockstar (single)



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