The Vindys have made a name for themselves

I always remember the first time I became aware of The Vindys.

It was a random night at least five years ago at Cedars West End, where I saw a poster for the band advertising an upcoming gig.

A little bit shocked, I looked to Cedars co-owner Billy Danielson, who was tending bar, and asked “what IS this?,” pointing at the poster.

“They’re a new band, and that’s their name,” came the reply.

Everybody knows who The Vindys are now, as the act has risen to the top level of the region’s music scene

They named their act for the nickname given to this newspaper, as a way to connect with their Youngstown roots.

It’s a choice that has become a lot more poignant in recent weeks, as The Vindicator announced it is closing.

The Vindicator name will survive in some form as the Mahoning County edition of the Tribune-Chronicle. The Warren-based newspaper purchased the name, along with The Vndicator’s subscriber list, last week.

But as for the nickname – that might belong to The Vindys now.

Jackie Popovec, who fronts the band, she summed up what the newspaper has meant to the community and her band.

“The Vindicator has long been ... the backbone of our city,” said Popovec. “That’s why we decided to pick the name The Vindys – as a tribute to the town in which we were created. This was the first paper that reported about us, beginning with our first-ever show in Youngstown, and we owe a lot to The Vindicator for documenting our successes as a band.”

While The Vindicator will print its final paper in nine days, The Vindys best days are still ahead.

The band – which also includes John Anthony, Ed Davis, Rick Deak and Scott Boyer – will release a new single in the fall titled “Morning Light.”

The song is special to Popovec.

“It is a personal reflection, and something I think many people can relate to,” she said. “I am most comfortable sharing my feelings through song, and fans don’t really get to see that side of me unless I am on stage.”

The band is still reaping benefits from its appearances on Pittsburgh Pirates telecasts this season. It was part of the Friday Night Rocks series, which showcases regional bands.

The Pirates magnificently collapsed in the second half of the season, but The Vindys still got a lot of exposure.

“The reaction from fans was incredible,” said Popovec.

The video for the Pirates broadcast segments was shot at Jergel’s, which is in Cranberry Township, Pa., and The Vindys are expecting a great show when they return there on Sept. 7.

Guy D’Astolfo covers entertainment for The Vindicator. Follow him on Twitter at @VindyVibe.

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