Mara Robinson is a music photographer based in the rock 'n' roll capital of the world. Her work has been featured in Paste Magazine, I Rock Cleveland, the Cleveland Free Press, the Space Rock Gallery and more. She plays in bands and is available for hire/assignment/travel.
Internationally published music photographer Mara Robinson visited Akron’s Goodyear Theater last night and captured Red Wanting Blue, Will Hoge, and The Building live in concert.
First up was The Building, featuring quiet and pretty songs by Boardman’s own Anthony LaMarca (The War on Drugs) and his brother, Angelo, who wasn’t playing. His band featured Andrew Carlson on bass, Jason Lawrence on drums and guitar, Sam Buonavolonta on guitar and organ, and Nathan Phillips on piano.
Next, Will Hoge took the stage for a solo acoustic set, save for one last song where he was joined by Red Wanting Blue. It really would have been nice to see more of that go down.
Lastly, Red Wanting Blue took the stage, giving an outlet to a crowd that had become increasingly more restless as they chattered nonstop through the first two mellow acts. People took to their feet, and by the third song huddled into the space between the stage and the first row. Apparently that’s a no-go at the Goodyear Theater, but people quietly complied as police ordered everyone back to their seats.
What’s the old saying? “A good artist creates, a great artist steals.” Well if that’s true, Mickey Avalon has just made an attempt at greatness by copying the artwork of Diane Coffee‘s 2013 album My Friend Fish right down to the font.
Diane Coffee’s own Shaun Fleming posted the side-by-side image on his social media with the comment: “Didn’t know the cover art for My Friend Fish was so iconic 😏. Is @mickey_avalon a fan? The artwork for his new album would certainly suggest so.”
The photograph for Diane Coffee’s album was shot by Audim Culver, and artwork designed by Jared Bell with input from Fleming, his manager, and Melinda Danielson who also did the makeup.
Meanwhile on Avalon’s Instagram, the post for his new album only credited photographer Mike Azria. Azria also had the image posted on his page (which he has since deleted).
Diane Coffee fans took to Avalon’s IG, chastising him for stealing without giving credit. After about seven hours, Avalon finally responded, “I’m obviously a fan. And it was obviously an homage. And it was so obvious, that I obviously didn’t need to explain myself.” But fans weren’t satisfied.
seabeekay@evndmngo wrote, “Since when do artists steal LITERALLY SOMEONES ENTIRE ALBUM COVER and try to play it off as their own? And then act like it isn’t a big deal/they were inspired by the original artist (while giving 0 credit to the artist they ripped off and only acknowledging the situation until called out 100x) 🤔”
We asked Fleming what he thinks of the situation and he said, “I think it’s pretty silly. It’s also offensive. I woke up to a tweet from a guy named Scott Cooper with a photo that said, ‘I feel old, but who’s Mickey Avalon? His new album art reminds me of something.'” Turns out Cooper had been online when the two albums popped up next to each other.
“It was just straight plagiarism,” said Fleming. “The exact definition of homage is, ‘a special honor or respect shpown publicly.’ There was nothing honorable or respectful about this. If you are doing it as an homage to an artist, you need to at the very least credit said artist. Or ask me. For him to 100% just copy and paste my artwork, it’s the most disrespectful thing you can do. It’s the first thing they teach you in school is to cite your sources, don’t plagiarize. He should know, being in the business, that this is not cool.”
“I was really taken aback by the response and all the love and support, not only from my fans but from Mickey Avalon fans. It was both a disturbing day and a really heartwarming day,” said Fleming.
In response, Fleming has released a Diane Coffee song called Animal along with a photo of himself with hand-drawn tattoos pasted onto the album artwork for Avalon’s 2006 release, along with the comment: “Ok Mickey, two can play at that game!
Been looking for a reason to show y’all this punk demo (Link in Bio). Album art inspired by Mickey Avalon. 😉” Animal will be released on all platforms by October 18.
It takes a lot of skill and commitment to deliver a high-energy glam rock show without seeming over the top, but The Struts pull it off so flawlessly it’s like part of their anatomy. From the way all four members lay into each and every endlessly catchy song, to the way frontman Luke Spiller’s perfectly tailored raiments swish and shift with him as he glides across the stage, The Struts are a machine so well-oiled you’d swear they were born to do exactly this.
We overheard another concertgoer having heated dialogue about it, echoing our own sentiments: “This guy! This guy!” he exclaimed, “He’s like Freddie Mercury and Mick Jagger rolled into one!” It’s true, and he can command an audience just as well. Not everyone can pull off a successful call and response session; or get a sweaty, sardine-packed crowd to jump and clap along. But last night’s fans were emboldened.
I used to talk in my articles about how Cleveland crowds are stoic and not easily impressed. Most bands are lucky to get a half-hearted golf clap after their songs. But not Struts fans. Oh no. These fans screamed, yelled, cheered, sang along at the tops of their lungs, raised their hands in the air, and gave back every ounce of energy the band put out to us.
The Struts took notice, too, declaring it their best Cleveland show to-date. Even new songs off their forthcoming album got the same warm welcome. “Is it good? Or is it shit?” Luke asked. I assure you, it’s every bit as good as anything off Everybody Wants. I certainly can’t wait to hear the rest of the album, and can’t wait to see them again.
What better way to celebrate Record Store Day than with some new music! Specifically, a song all about how awesome record stores are. The Junior League is a project by New Orleans transplant Joe Adragna. His sixth release since 2006, the latest album Eventually is Now is a mix of true stories and inspired tales. The lead track, Teenage Bigstar extols the virtues of record stores and the great things that happen there. It chronicles two true stories from Joe’s life. Aptly named, the song strikes of Teenage Fanclub meets Big Star.
Verse one recalls the day Joe met Alex Chilton at a New Orleans record store called The Magic Bus. Joe was a Big Star fan and quietly mentioned it to Chilton, not wanting to bother him. Chilton casually waved it off and instead grabbed the records from under Joe’s arm to see what he was buying. Chilton held up Joe’s copy of Beach Boys Live in London and started talking about how great they were, how he toured with them in the ’60s, and what a great drummer Dennis Wilson was. Chilton took out the record, handed it to the clerk, asked them to play Barbara Ann, and started playing air drums along to the beat.
Verse two is inspired by the night Joe went to see The Minus 5 and wound up taking Scott McCaughey, Peter Buck and John Ramberg to that same record store. They talked about The Beatles and The Monkees, and after the show Joe vowed he’d make a record if it was the last thing he ever did musically. Lucky for us, he’s still going strong. Check out the rest of Eventually is Now on Bandcamp or Spotify.
Boardman, Ohio loves the arts and gives students amazing opportunities to learn and perform music. Case in point, Boardman High School’s rock orchestra Project Mayhem. Backed by electric and acoustic violins, cellos, bass, drums and more, the band performs rock hits from yesterday and today. Featured artists include Fleetwood Mac, Nirvana, Kansas, Styx, Foo Fighters, Imagine Dragons, Metallica, Bon Jovi, Tom Petty and Pat Benatar. The orchestra keeps gaining in popularity and sold out the 1,600-seat Boardman Performing Arts Center. I photographed the show for the second year, and look forward to doing so again next year. Enjoy!