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Shuffle: Red Rose Panic Brings Dynamic Hip-Hop to PorchRokr’s Main Stage

Akron's Red Rose Panic headlines PorchRokr in their fourth year of playing at the fest
Akron's Red Rose Panic headlines PorchRokr in their fourth year of playing at the fest

Akron’s five-piece hip-hop band, Red Rose Panic, will headline this year’s Highland Square PorchRokr Music and Art Festival Saturday.

Self-described as “dynamic hip-hop,” the group’s sound is an eclectic blend of rap, funk, pop and jazz highlighted by improvised live performances where no two shows are quite alike.

Red Rose Panic is led by vocalist, frontman and primary songwriter Luminari. His songwriting partner, Styxx, plays lead guitar. The two began writing music as a duo in 2013, and while planning their first live show, the pair sought out additional members for a more robust, multifaceted live sound and experience.

Reo Dinero joined the group on drums, Gold Frame Quis on keyboard and SMOKEFACE on bass. The quintet released its 10-track album, “Time Attack,” in May 2018. Its chilled-out beats and smooth rhythm and blues flavor flow effortlessly alongside Luminari’s buttery vocals and poignant rhymes.

Becoming an Akron legacy

“We love the fact that we are from what we consider an underdog-type city,” Styxx said. “One thing I can say about our hometown is that people do what they say they’re gonna do, and people are working. And everybody has the same mentality of they don’t wanna get looked over. Because Akron is a city that constantly gets looked over.”

Red Rose Panic released a music video for “Change Your Mind,” the third track from “Time Attack,” that features Akron locations prominently highlighted throughout. The visuals take the viewer through what appears to be a typical day and night in the life of Luminari, as he drives around with a woman laughing, talking and cruising past places such as the Northside District and downtown before he concludes his evening in front of Annabell’s Bar & Lounge in Highland Square.

It was, in fact, in front of Annabell’s where Red Rose Panic performed their first PorchRokr show in 2014. Since joining forces, the quintet has made its way across notable Akron stages, including Musica, Lock 3, Hive Mind and Jilly’s Music Room.

The group has also represented the Rubber City across the country in cities like Detroit, New York and Baltimore and at festivals, such as EST Fest, where they shared the same stage as mainstream rappers Machine Gun Kelly and Gucci Mane.

“We have a bulldog mentality about the way we approach the arts,” Styxx said. “And so, when we do get seen, it’s like a form of excellence that people aren’t used to because we do have to try so hard.”

The journey to the PorchRokr Main Stage

Red Rose Panic’s members wish to create a lasting impression on their hometown while setting far-reaching goals and working to accomplish them through memorable live performances and progressive artistry.

“One of our goals has been to be one of the five things you know about Akron,” Luminari said.

“You got Swenson’s, you got The Black Keys, you got LeBron, Devo. If you wanna dig a little deeper, Red Rose Panic.”

Red Rose Panic will perform at the festival Saturday at 8 p.m. on the EarthQuaker Devices Main Stage, located along Beck Avenue in Akron’s Highland Square neighborhood.

Brittany Nader's PorchRokr picks: 

11 a.m.:  Thieves of Joy – Ray’s Pub Patio, 801 W. Market St. (Porch #27)

Dan Socha and Bethany Svoboda have evolved as a singer-songwriter duo, adding guitar, bass and drums to their live performances to create a more complex, haunting and harmonious sound.

12 p.m.: Backtalk – 83 Beck Ave. (Porch #4)

Signed to local independent label Small Mammal Records, Backtalk has a nostalgic yet timeless indie-punk sound that has earned them the rightful spot as staples of Akron’s thriving DIY scene.

1 p.m.: Birthday Noose – 717 Crosby Ave. (Porch #9)

If you’re into the fuzzy, reverb-soaked sound of The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Velvet Underground or The Stooges, these three garage rockers are sure to put on a show you won’t soon forget.

2 p.m.: Fringe Candidate – 43 Grand Ave. (Porch #14)

Prolific Akron-based musicians Joe Dennis, Jamie Stillman, Karl Vorndran and Josh Leskanic joined forces to create an aggressive punk-rock outfit not for the faint of heart. Expect much loudness and beer spillage.

3 p.m.: CityCop – 53 Beck Ave. (Porch #3)

Described as “four dudes from Ohio who make people cry,” CityCop captures the essence of emo while striking a fine balance between the fragility of acoustic folk-punk and thrashing post-hardcore.

4 p.m.: Dream States – Main Stage (Porch #2)

Transgender activists Natalie Grace Martin and Madeline Eckhart have written and performed music together as DreamStates since December 2017, and with the recent addition of Sam Fascione to the ensemble, the result is danceable, ukulele-driven pop that serves as the perfect soundtrack to a warm August day.

5 p.m.: Posture – 53 Beck Ave. (Porch #3)

Listening to a Posture song feels a lit like prying into Eric Vaught’s journals from a very specific period of his life — that’s to say, the songs are personal, sincere, vulnerable and entirely relatable.

6 p.m.: Stems – 43 Grand Ave. (Porch #14)

Rumor has it the indie-rock four-piece will perform highly anticipated new music from their upcoming album right on singer-guitarist Justin Seeker’s porch. Visitors who stick around this porch throughout the day will also enjoy tunes from THORLA, The Beyonderers and the aforementioned Fringe Candidate.

7 p.m.: Ghost Slime – 717 Crosby Ave. (Porch #9)

While donned in classic white-sheet ghost costumes one’s mom would hastily put together for a childhood Halloween party, the trio blends humor with earnest lyrics and a pop-punk-meets-emo sound reflective of Akron’s present-day DIY scene.

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Amanda Rabinowitz
Amanda Rabinowitz has been a reporter, host and producer at WKSU since 2007. Her days begin before the sun comes up as the local anchor for NPR’s Morning Edition, which airs on WKSU each weekday from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. In addition to providing local news and weather, she interviews the Plain Dealer’s Terry Pluto for a weekly commentary about Northeast Ohio’s sports scene.
Brittany Nader joins Morning Edition host Amanda Rabinowitz on Thursdays to chat about Northeast Ohio’s vibrant music scene.