A local company is celebrating its own bad self on Saturday and wants the community to join in the fun.
EarthQuaker Devices (EQD) will host EarthQuaker Day at the effects pedal producer’s home base near downtown Akron. Effects pedals are electronic or digital devices that modify the tone, pitch or sound of an electric guitar.
It’s the fourth iteration of EarthQuaker Day, which invites pedal nerds, music lovers and any other curious folks to take tours of the facility.
“It’s been a success. It grows every year. And last year we realized that a lot of people are traveling from far away to come,” said EQD founder and President Jamie Stillman, who co-owns the company with CEO and wife, Julie Robbins.
“We had people from LA, a ton of people from the South and all over Ohio. This year we have people coming in from Japan,” he said.
The event is a mix of live music, fun and funky activities, food trucks and an open house. The parking lots on both sides of the building will be filled with local vendors selling art, instruments and clothing. There also will be carnival games, including a dunk tank, as well as EarthQuaker products for sale.
“We’re going to have a photo booth, a cash grabber and a dunk machine and kids games like last year,” Stillman said.
This year, EQD Day has expanded and includes a few free “EarthQuaker Eve” concerts beginning on Friday night at Musica, with Akron thrash-surf band The Beyonderers, along with Cleveland bands: melodic post-punk rockers Pleasure Leftists and up-and-coming political and poetic electronic infused soul collective Mourning [A] BLKstar.
Columbus-based multi-instrumentalist, recording artist and frequent EarthQuaker clinician and demonstrator Lisa Bella Donna and her quartet also perform her '70s jazz-fusion infused compositions Friday night at Blu Jazz+.
The simultaneous shows are on purpose.
“I think we’re going to try and do more of that kind of stuff in the future, where there are more events before and after EarthQuaker Day that are less Earthquaker-centric and focusing on the arts,” Stillman said.
On Saturday, EQD Day begins with pedal clinics from Stillman, other EarthQuaker employees and guests, including comedian Dave Hill Page, who also hosts a radio show on WFMU and composed the theme song for “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.” EarthQuaker also will be debuting its newest pedal, Plumes, during the clinics.
The music begins at 1 p.m. with two tribute bands consisting of EQD employees: I Can’t Go For That, a Hall and Oates tribute band, then Tom Breaker and the Pettyhearts. At 2:30 p.m., Akron trio Coup De Grace will perform their brand of tuneful psyche rock, followed at 3:15 p.m. by Night In and knotty, heavy prog-rock influenced duo Green Tree Novelty Tea.
At 5 p.m., the PRS Guitars riff contest finals happen and the after party/concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at Musica with heavy dream pop quartet Niights, New York based indie rockers Caveman and a reunion of popular '90s Kent art-rock band Party of Helicopters.
Anyone who has attended previous EQD Days, which have tended to be either brutally hot and humid or hot, humid and rainy, will be glad to know that this year, EQD has planned ahead and will have nearly everything covered by tents. There also will be a misting tent to ensure folks don’t succumb to the conditions.
EarthQuaker Day is not just a celebration of a successful, locally based company with international reach that was named the 2019 Exporter of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration this past spring.
The company — which employs more than 50 people, most of whom are Northeast Ohio natives and working musicians — also hosts EarthQuaker Day to pay homage to the Akron D.I.Y. spirit.
Malcolm X Abram can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-996-3758. Like him on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1lNgxml, and follow him on Twitter @malcolmabramABJ.