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The Strumbellas // Live at the 20th Century Theater // 10.23.17

Article and photos by: Linda Carlson


CINCINNATI, OH – In life, every once in a while, it’s good to revel in an experience that brings you happiness and makes you dance.  That is what people did on October 23rd at the 20th Century Theater in Oakley (Cincinnati), Ohio.  For one night, everyone danced, hands raised high, and sang along to the lively foot-stomping songs from the Strumbellas.  Honestly, you just couldn’t help yourself.

Newcomer Noah Kahan opened the show.  He’s a soulful, sweet singer who for 30 minutes introduced the crowd to his thoughtful music.  Accompanied by talented supporting musicians, his songs were full-bodied and rich.  Most people had not known him before that night, but by the end of his performance, a number of people were asking each other where he was from, wanting to know more about him.

The Strumbellas are a six-person ensemble of nothing but fun: Simon Ward (lead singer and guitarist), Darryl James (bass guitar), Jon Hembrey (lead guitar), Dave Ritter (keyboards) Jeremy Drury (drums) and Izzy Richie (violin – ah, yes!).  For about 80 minutes, this group brought the house down, song after song, engaging the audience in conversation along the way.

At one point, they thanked Noah for opening the show, sharing the story of when Noah, from Vermont, told the band that the best maple syrup comes from Vermont.  “Dude,” was the reply, “You’re talking to six Canadians!”  The audience went wild.

Simon selected two audience members to answer a quiz for free band merch.  “Who was the best Bengals quarterback?” (Boomer) and … ok, I can’t remember the other question.  The point is, the Strumbellas put on a lively show, interacted with the crowd on a personal level and everyone had fun.

This was a sold-out show – news spreads quickly when the opportunity to have a terrific time and joyful release is coming to town.  Get your tickets fast so that you don’t miss out.

Linda Carlson
Linda has been photographing people since she was ten. Forever intrigued by the complex beauty of the human form, she brings the eye of a portraitist to the unpredictability and spectacle of the concert scene.