Photo Credits Danielle Petrosa

Kevin DeBroux of Pink Reason proclaimed something to the affect that ‘We Need Harm Reduction Policies in Ohio’ from the Stage at the Summit towards the end of his bands’ rowdy and pulverizing set at the first annual Blackheart Festival.


The Blackheart Festival was event to celebrate the life of Joey Blackheart who played guitar in the Girls! who died in July due a complication with substance usage.


The Blackheart Festival was raising money for to develop Harm Reduction Programs in our area. Harm Reduction helps manage the negative affects of behaviors like recreational drug use and sexual activity by providing access to things like clean needles, opoid replacement, condoms, and designated drivers.


This was the first Pink Reason show in awhile, and I can say it was also the culmination of one the better nights of music in recent memory.


The current line-up of Kevin, Rich Johnston, Jeffrey Kleinman, Shawn Beckering and Gary Brownstien plowed through songs like “16 Years” and “Zoo” with precision and polish that you might not expect from a group that has gone various directions of experimentation.


A highlight was Jake Owens on cocaine anthemic “The Devil Always Wins” toward the end of their set.


Kevin held it down proper.


Shortly thereafter, Nervosas, Kleinman’s group with Mickey Mocknik and Nick Shuld put on a death rock/post-punk clinic on the Bourbon Street side of things. Nervosas have been touring heavily so everything was tight when they plowed through songs like “APAB” in front of their home crowd.

Earlier in the evening, I had arrived with intent of watching a couple bands and bouncing back and forth between the Fest and the rap show that was supposed to be at the Summit.


Upon arrival, the doorman told me the rap show had moved and the Girls! were about to go one.

I figured rap could wait because the Girls! were about to play at the fest that is a tribute to their friend that just died.

Human moment.


Death is such a weird fact of being a human being. Everyone you know is going to die. Including yourself. So even though it has a huge psychological impact on everything that is around when someone dies; it’s one of those things people can often be cold or worse towards.


It’s often like you can’t call time-out on this: there are 7,211,239,210 living in the world today that will eventually die.

When I walked in, I noticed roughly 110 of those people getting together because they decided that their friend matters in a poignant way.

Joey Blackheart’s girlfriend, Amanda Propagander was hosting when I walked in the door.

I am going to spare any more of my projections about this subject out of respect to this community, and also to avoid being a parody of Jim Carroll’s “People That Died.”

I think the Girls! deserve an award, trophy or pizza for being involved with organizing their second significant community event of the year.

Especially in the face of such a sad and heartbreaking tragedy of their friend’s death.

They were also involved with the Femme Fest, As I said earlier, The Blackheart Festival is a benefit to raise money to affect Harm Reduction Policies.

The Girls!’s humorous, and intimate lane of power-pop shimmered especially at the Blackheart Festival this evening.

In between songs, Jessica Wabbit pour out a little liquor for Joey. I did not know Mr. Blackheart but I am going to imagine partying to your friend’s memory that died from drugs probably is a bittersweet feeling.

The Girls! brought up people that participated in an intervention for their friend. They also made jokes and toasted to his memory. It was a very warm, fun and honest performance with various members of the band dancing and singing together.

At some point, Jessica Wabbit was leaning/singing against the drumset while playing guitar. Reaghan Buchanan simultaneously took turns harmonizing with Joe Damn, Ryan Vile and Bent.

They finished the evening playing “Radio.”

The Girls! let it all out that evening.