Music, food fills downtown bar scene


From Left: Logan Lott and Matta Taylor playing their guitars while their dog Lucy rests in a guitar case in Downtown Kent on Thursday, Sep. 22, 2016.

Keisha Burley

Like many Kent State students, junior communication studies major Tara Barone frequents the bars in downtown Kent often. One of the many highlights from her nights out are the live music and free food that surrounds her.

“Anytime I see the band outside playing music, I always stop for a second to listen. I think it’s fun that there’s people playing music for free. It livens up my walk,” Barone said. “My favorite people to see, though, are the people who pass out pancakes. It’s always such a nice surprise to see them out.”

The band Barone is speaking of consists of two men. Albert, who likes to stick to just a first name, and Matta, who said his name is an archaic form of his birth name, and is what he prefers to be addressed as. The two men started their band in California prior to coming to Kent.

“This was not a decided together operation,” Mata said as he strummed his guitar strings softly, hoping the people walking by would hear and throw some spare change into his hat. “Albert and I were going to go back to California, but Albert’s car got towed.

“We were here and we realized … that the people here are cool,” he said. “So we thought we’d stay here for a little bit and play some music for you all.”

The two plan to eventually travel back to their home in California for harvest season, but for now they are content with “playing songs for smiles” for the people of Kent.

Traveling further down the sidewalk of Water Street, the aroma of freshly baked pancakes will fill passerby nostrils. Many students, unaware of the group behind the table with the griddle, visibly get excited at the sight of the “pancake people.”

Students can often be seen with pancakes in hand, syrup dripping down their arms, as they hop from one Kent bar to another.

Anthony Giambroni, H2O’s campus minister, had a hand in the idea of the stand.

“I think that it begins with the idea that we want to build relationships with students on campus because as a church, it is important to learn how to identify with everyone,” Giambroni said.

Along with pancakes, H2O also hands out granola bars and water. The stand is typically set up every Thursday night.

“Part of it is just us simply trying to feed people. I mean, they’ve more than likely been drinking, so we’re just trying to help them get something in their stomaches,” Giambroni said. “We are not doing it for the shock and awe, but — at the very least — if (the downtown pancake stand) messes with people’s paradigms about what kind of people are involved with our church, then that’s great.”

Keisha Burley is the student life reporter, contact her at [email protected].