Pleasantville Music FestThe Examiner

Battle of the Bands Winners Relish Chance to Play at P’ville Music Festival

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By Jordan Goodman

Blue Moon Band, comprised of four teenagers from southern Westchester, will be kicking off the performances on the Pleasantville Music Festival’s Main Stage when the 18th annual event returns this Saturday to Parkway Field.

Hudson Valley musicians bring diverse musical genres to audiences, ranging from varied styles of rock and alternative music while catering to different demographics.

This year’s Pleasantville Music Festival lineup is no different.

As has been customary, the winners of the festival’s annual Battle of the Bands competition, featuring young musicians from throughout the region, help kick off this year’s entertainment at noon with the metal band Mainline on the Party Stage. They will be followed by the lower Westchester quartet Blue Moon Band, which blends alternative rock, blues and reggae, on the Main Stage at 12:35 p.m.

About 40 minutes later, the singer-songwriter duo Gavon Mitchell and Lauren Mian take over the Chill Tent Stage. They have indie folk roots but dive into bits of modern Americana, bluegrass and balladry.

Blue Moon Band will bring its energy to the festival crowd on Saturday. Colin Lauri, the group’s front man and lead guitarist, said the four-member teen-age band originally met at School of Rock and maintain a close relationship with the program. The group also consists of drummer Kasper Ridder, and his brother, bassist Wolfie, and keyboardist Noah Fage.

It was about a year ago that they decided to take their music outside of the school, playing monthly gigs at venues like the Bayou in Mount Vernon, Billy and Pete’s in Larchmont, La Casa in Mamaroneck and Lucy’s Lounge in Pleasantville.

During their School of Rock days, the boys participated in the Full Moon Program, where a couple of house bands play at an upstate club for three consecutive nights. Lauri said it was a moving experience for the group and was the main source of inspiration behind their name.

The band booked a gig and Lauri got a call from the promoter asking for the band’s name.

“We loved the moon idea but we can’t do Full Moon because that’s just stealing, but like Red Moon sounds terrible…and we called (the promoter) and finally we were like Blue Moon, and she said ‘Isn’t that a beer?’ and I said, ‘No, Blue Moon Band,’ and ever since then, it stuck,” Lauri recalled.

Lauri said that initially the group had more of an indie, jangly, upbeat sound, but lately the two biggest genres they lean into are modern garage rock and reggae.

“Our drummer and bassist have similar influences…when we were deciding what to do next during rehearsal, they’ve been playing a lot of reggae,” said Lauri, who said that the style permeates most of their latest works such as the track “HEYO,” one of three songs off their demo tape.

Over time, the sound became one of their main influences for creating newer material, some of which they will premiering during their festival performance.

The band hadn’t seriously thought about winning the opening Main Stage slot, so getting the call for that honor was a pleasant surprise and provides a unique opportunity to bring their sound to a larger crowd. The goal for Blue Moon Band for this Saturday’s performance is to deliver the energy and catchiness of their sound to a larger audience.

“Of course, it’s awesome to share the stage with these big bands and everything…but having people come to the festival and see us on that stage, playing our music, and thinking ‘Maybe I should look these guys up on Spotify,’ that’s a crazy thought to me,” Lauri said. “Getting the opportunity to have people following your music, and gaining that post-festival, will be a big thing for us in the future.”


The full day of music begins at noon on the Party Stage, as hard rockers Mainline start things with a bang with their abrasive heavy metal sound.

Formed in 2019 through guitarist and frontman Johnny Iodice and bassist Anthony Schettino, this four-piece group emerged out of Peekskill with ambitions to combine their love for classic metal acts like Kiss and Iron Maiden and turn it into something more accessible for the modern era without losing the edge that makes them stand out.

Since their start, they’ve gained a reputation for playing bar shows around the Hudson Valley, mixing originals and covers into their setlist. Mainline eventually went on to release its self-titled EP in 2020 and followed it with their debut album, “The Unholy Idol,” a year later.

Schettino said he and Iodice met at School of Rock in Bedford when they were 15 years old and shared an early love of classic metal acts.

“From there, we decided to start playing outside of the school…and 2019 is the first year we started playing as Mainline,” Schettino said.

They were able to find the band’s other two members, drummer Mason Servedio and guitarist Ryan Hartell, online. They have been playing together since 2021.

“The goal was to take influence from old school bands and put a modern twist on that, and I think our debut album showcases that,” Iodice said. “I think as we kept writing, our sound kept evolving and progressing.”

The songwriting process behind Mainline’s trademark sound emerges from the classic metal riffs that Schettino and Iodice sometimes like to improvise off of. When creating music together, their songs’ melodies is the groundwork for their lyrics.

“Music is always number one…how it works for us is that Johnny will usually start with an idea for the music and I will handle more of the lyrical side of it, but it definitely has a formula for how we do it,” Schettino added.

As a metal band playing on the Party Stage, they promise to bring a mix of straightforward ragers that will captivate crowds, but also songs that take more of a progressive route, with multifaceted instrumental interludes surrounding the main body of work.

Their debut album has racked up more than 150,000 listens on DSP.

In addition to their two commercially acclaimed projects, Mainline released its single “In Nothing We Trust” about two years ago and re-recorded multiple songs off their debut album at Frightbox Recording studio in New Jersey. They even started their own online coffee company, and music fans can buy the product at the festival.

Gavon Mitchell/Lauren Mian

Gavon Mitchell, one of the winners of the Pleasantville Music Festival’s Battle of the Bands, earned the right to perform in the Chill Tent. Mitchell will team up with Lauren Mian at this Saturday’s festival.

Mitchell and Mian were the last two entrants to audition for the Chill Tent competition, and this is the first time in the festival’s history two winners take one stage.

But the spontaneity of how this performance formed managed to work for both artists.

These two performers share similar stylistic backgrounds, mainly sticking to their indie folk roots with bits of Americana and bluegrass.

Mian, from New Rochelle, has been showcasing her contemporary acoustic skills for several years at gigs in southern Westchester and Manhattan, most notably The Mercury Lounge and Rockwood Music Hall.

But it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic that her songwriting started to take shape. She worked developing her recognizable indie sound under a range of influences, including James Taylor and Joni Mitchell, to more modern artists such as Pinegrove and Lizzy McAlpine.

She released her debut album, “Thoughts in the Air,” last November.

Mitchell, a Westchester-raised multi-instrumentalist who now lives in Brooklyn, has been pursuing a solo career for the past few years. His sound is primarily derived from bluegrass essentialists, but he puts a modern twist on it with his trademark “one-man band” setup, often playing his acoustic guitar with a kick-drum and a foot tambourine by his side.

Mitchell released his self-titled debut EP by the end of 2022, and is currently planning to unveil more singles.

When asked about how they met for this collaboration, Mian remembered seeing Mitchell at an Arlene’s Grocery gig.

“I was a rhythm in this band through school and we were on the same bill as Gavon,” she recalled. “I remember seeing him opening up that night and I had never seen anything like it before…I just thought he was the coolest dude ever.”

It wasn’t until the day of the competition this spring at Lucy’s that the two reconnected. After receiving the news that they both won the Chill Tent competition, they’re excited to share the stage together.

The duo plans to play a few songs each from their catalogues and one cover during their performance, and hope to captivate audiences by incorporating each other’s flavors into their sound.




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