The Other Paper - April 14, 2011

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 Kickstand Music Fest back by popular demand.

Illicit Kitty will headline this year's event July 31 (2010)

By Dwayne Steward
Kickstand Music Fest back by popular demand

Last year Kickstand Pub co-owner Melissa Herzog decided to throw a summer musical festival with the hope of making money for her favorite charity. Six bands and 500 people later, it became such a huge hit that it's back by popular demand. 

The second annual Kickstand Music Festival takes over the Westerville pub Saturday, July 31 with an apparent theme of bigger and better. (Check out our photos from last year's festival.)

Still supporting Pets Without Parents (the benefactors of your $5 cover), the 13-hour party will feature four bands (The Hanging Deadmen, Evadell Drive,The Sean ConnerysIllicit Kitty) along with an outdoor hog roast and an indoor after-party starring Stretch Lefty and Swagg

Outdoor entertainment also includes a bike/car cruise-in and a skateboard park (courtesy of Old Skool and Resident skateboard shops). DJ Minty Fresh will end the night with a hoppin' dance party. Because the event is sponsored by Anheuser Busch, Kickstand will be selling $3 Bud Light drafts at the outdoor party.

"I really just have always had this vision for an outdoors summer event in the space behind the bar. We have a great field back there," Herzog said. "I'm also always looking for ways to give back. And all of us that work here are pet lovers ourselves, so it's become a great partnership with Pets Without Parents. And we've always been big advocates of live music, so we thought, ‘What better way to raise some money for charity then through a music festival?' "

When looking for a band to headline, Herzog looked no further than pop rock band Illicit Kitty. After forming last December, the group—featuring Kimberly Barr (lead vocals), Nick Federinko (guitar), John Buscemi (bass), Bryan Holton (drums) and Tony Buscemi (keyboard)—has taken the local music scene by storm with a sexy sound and a lead singer to match. 

We caught up with Tony Buscemi, 38, the band's founder and lead lyricist, about the group's sound and what we can expect from them Saturday. 

How would you describe Illicit Kitty's sound?
We're definitely a modern rock/pop band. We call our music "sexy aggressive rock." We're definitely selling sex. We've got a sexy singer that can really sing. She's got a great voice and really nice legs [laughs]. The harmonies are a really big part of it, which is why we're dedicated to having a full-time background singer in the band. Imagine if Mr. Brightside and Pat Benatar had a baby, and if it was raised by Freddie Mercury. That's Illicit Kitty's sound. 

You guys managed to land the top spot at the Kickstand Festival after only being together less than a year. 
Yeah, it's been pretty amazing. I'm really excited about this project. It has just really taken off in the last four of five months. We've had so much interest we've been turning down gigs because we don't have dates available. I think we've got a really good combination. Our lead singer plays drums too. It's really different to see this beautiful female jump from the mic and start wailing on the drums. Our LP should be finished in the next few weeks. It's tentatively titled "Beautiful Seduction," which is the name of one of the songs on the CD. We're really hoping to be pushing it out to sell in the next month. We're actually planning to lay down vocals next week.

What can people expect from your show Saturday?
A high-energy rock band, a beautiful girl and a forceful performance. Something from which they cannot rip their eyes. And original songs that are so memorable they'll be singing along by the second time around. 

The Kickstand Music Festival kicks off at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 31, at Kickstand Pub, 8333 Market Exchange Drive, Westerville. Admission if $5. For more information call 614-436-4984 or visit KickstandPub.com.