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First in Space's Johnny Stanec launches a solo career

Singer and songwriter Johnny Stanec spent the latter half of the 2000s touring and recording with Youngstown indie rockers First in Space. The band had a pretty good run till it decided to "take a break, but not call it quits" last year.

Since then, Stanec has kept busy prepping his just-released solo debut, Narrow Is This Ghost Town, which he played almost entirely by himself. "Surprisingly, it wasn't that hard," he says. "I just did it a track at a time and layered everything."

The bulk of the album was recorded by Josh Roman at Mind Rocket Recording in West Middlesex, Pennsylvania, a studio on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border where several Youngstown bands have made albums. "[Roman] was a good fit," says Stanec. "He's a quick worker, and I wanted to get in and record, and not waste any time."

Narrow Is This Ghost Town mixes soaring anthems with brooding ballads, recalling U2 and Coldplay ("Goodnight My Love") as well as more rootsy artists ("Tearing Me Down Tonight"). "I guess my sound is pop-rock," says Stanec. "I don't like to scream or anything like that. I'm a big Beatles fan, but I also like the Replacements."

Stanec is writing new songs and setting up shows for late summer and fall. He's also putting together a new band for the road. "I have to let things get out there and work their way through," he says. "It's an uphill battle, because I'm starting over in a way." Stanec performs at 8 p.m. Friday at the Havana House in Niles. Admission is free.

Hip-hop label and promotion company Prhymal Rage presents a night of local underground hip-hop at Rock Star at 9 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $5, available at peabodys.com.

While Warriors of Metal Fest IV's two headliners are from out of state, several local metal bands — like Vindicator, Shok Paris, and Age of Distrust — fill out the bill. The two-day fest takes place Friday and Saturday in Kirkersville. Tickets are $40, $35 in advance. Single-day admission is $15 Friday and $25 Saturday. You can find more info at warriorsofmetalfest.com.

Poet and musician R.A. Washington has put together RAW Compositions, a new monthly music showcase. The first one happens at 9 p.m. Saturday at Touch Supper Club. It will feature performances by Tree No Leaves, Crave, and Lucy. Admission is free.

Restless Habs singer and guitarist Pete Woodward says he'll play "mostly Restless Habs stuff, a cover or two, and maybe some stuff from my previous bands" when he performs a solo set opening for punk vet Kevin Seconds at the Beachland Tavern on Saturday. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 (or $8 in advance), available at beachlandballroom.com.

The hip-hop group Poetic Republic relocated to Brooklyn, New York, last year. But on Saturday, they'll play a homecoming concert at the Grog Shop. Phenom, Muamin Collective, and Moriarity share the bill. Tickets are $10 ($8 advance), available at grogshop.gs.

Singer-songwriter Johnny Stanec spent the latter half of the 2000s touring and recording with Youngstown indie rockers First in Space. The band had a pretty good run until it decided to "take a break, but not call it quits" last year. Since then, Stanec has kept busy prepping his just-released solo debut, Narrow Is This Ghost Town, which he played almost entirely by himself. "Surprisingly, it wasn't that hard," he says. "I just did it a track at a time and layered everything." The bulk of the album was recorded by Josh Roman at Mind Rocket Recording in West Middlesex, Pennsylvania, a studio on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border where several Youngstown bands have made albums. "[Roman] was a good fit," says Stanec. "He's a quick worker, and I wanted to get in and record and not waste any time."

Narrow Is This Ghost Town mixes soaring anthems with brooding ballads, recalling both U2 and Coldplay ("Goodnight My Love") as well as more rootsy artists ("Tearing Me Down Tonight"). "I guess my sound is pop-rock," says Stanec. "I don't like to scream or anything like that. I'm a big Beatles fan, but I also like the Replacements." Stanec is currently writing new songs and setting up shows for late summer and fall. He's also putting a together a new band for the road. "I have to let things get out there and work their way through," he says. "It's an uphill battle because I'm starting over in a way." Stanec performs at 8 p.m. Friday at the Havana House in Niles. Admission is free.

Hip-hop label and promotion company Prhymal Rage presents a night of local underground hip-hop at Rock Star at 9 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $5, available at peabodys.com.

While Warriors of Metal Fest IV's two headliners are from out of state, several local metal bands – like Vindicator, Shok Paris, and Age of Distrust – fill out the bill. The two-day fest takes place Friday and Saturday in Kirkersville. Tickets are $40, $35 in advance. Single-day admission is $15 Friday and $25 Saturday. You can find more info at warriorsofmetalfest.com.

Poet and musician R.A. Washington has put together RAW Compositions, a new monthly music showcase. The first one happens at 9 p.m. Saturday at Touch Supper Club. It will feature performances by Tree No Leaves, Crave, and Lucy. Admission is free.

Restless Habs singer and guitarist Pete Woodward saye he'll play "mostly Restless Habs stuff, a cover or two, and maybe some stuff from my previous bands" when he performs a solo set opening for punk vet Kevin Seconds at the Beachland Tavern on Saturday. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 day, $8 in advance, available at beachlandballroom.com.

Hip-hop group Poetic Republic relocated to Brooklyn, New York, last year. On Saturday they play a homecoming concert at the Grog Shop. Phenom, Muamin Collective, and Moriarity share the bill. Tickets are $10, $8 advance, available at grogshop.gs.

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