Band of the Week: Scarlet and the Harlots

Meet the Band: Scarlet (vocals), Trevor (guitar, vocals), Ryan (guitar), Toussaint (bass, vocals), Chris (trombone, vocals), Tim (saxophone), Dylan (drums)

Straight Outta Kent: The band formed three years ago when group members met at Kent State University. Scarlet admits the concept came to them when they were sitting at a chain restaurant discussing future collaborations. "Our guitarist said we want to do a rock band," she says. "It was literally at Appleby's in Stow. Five of us make up the band's core, but we tag on horns because we have a lot of friends who are horn players. That's the icing on the cake. It's a per gig type of thing."

It's a Drag: The band's CD release show will feature local Ohio drag queens Devinity Arriago, Akasha O'Hara Lords and Sonshine La Ray. Scarlet along with the three opening acts will play sets of their own original music as well as hits from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Queen. "We were offered the main stage so we wanted to make it something more," says Scarlet. "We had wanted to do a drag show. We decided to pull our friends together for the show. We're giving all the money to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Greater Cleveland. It snowballed into this ridiculous thing."

Why You Should Hear Them: The band recorded its new album, We Can't Seem to Get Enough, at the Akron studio that belongs to local guitar hero Neil Zaza. "All the tunes are original," says Scarlet, who wails like the second coming of Janis Joplin. "Our guitarist has a background in orchestral writing. He likes to challenge himself with that kind of thing. He wants a complexity of sounds but we try to make it accessible so that the audience will still want to play. I don't see our band as jazz. They just label you as jazz because of horns. I get compared to Janis Joplin all the time. To be compared to her is humbling." Songs such as the swaggering opening number "Moonshine Ghost" are more indebted to glam rock than jazz and tunes such as "There Once was a Girl" feature intricate guitar work.

Where You Can Hear Them:

Where You Can See Them: Scarlet & the Harlots perform with Winslow, the Village Bicycle and Miss Alexandra Huntingdon at 8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 22, at the Beachland Ballroom.

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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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