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Columbus to feast on Nightbeast’s sound at Trauma

Courtesy of Justin Morter

The six members of Nightbeast, a comedy hip-hop band from Dayton, don’t like to play it safe when it comes to performing live.

“High energy, sweaty, shirtless – we are trying to make each other laugh and have fun the whole time,” said frontman Nick Testa.

Nightbeast is scheduled to perform as one of more than 40 acts at Halloween party Trauma, billed on its website as a “Halloween fetish party,” at Columbus’ The Bluestone this weekend. Testa said the band is slated to take the stage at about 11 p.m. Friday.

For nine years, Testa, 30, was a solo artist who started making music for his friends’ entertainment.

“My first few songs were inside jokes between me and my friends,” Testa said. “I don’t do serious stuff. I’m not a serious guy. But doing these goofy songs became my identifier, and now the songs are becoming serious and the show is something I’m proud of.”

But last year, Testa said he grew tired of being a solo artist and decided to recruit five of his friends to form Nightbeast.

“I didn’t have enough interest in doing it by myself anymore,” Testa said about being a solo artist. “I was either going to stop doing music altogether or do it with a band, and people enjoy the show more when it’s a full band rather than just me playing with an iPod.”

Robbie Bauer, Nightbeast’s guitarist, said the band’s dynamic is as fun offstage as it is onstage.

“A lot of us have known each other for a long time, so we understand Nick’s sense of humor and what he puts into his songs,” Bauer said. “We don’t have to act so serious because that’s kind of the root of the band.”

Testa said Nightbeast’s music falls under “the ever-popular genre of comedy hip-hop electronica.”

“Basically, we make party music,” Testa said, citing 3OH!3 and LMFAO as major influences. “We like to make light of everything. The songs are written to be good songs but with goofy subject matter.”

Testa said Nightbeast’s songs, despite touching on everything from Eskimos to being overweight in the summertime, tend to have a common theme.

“The overall theme is it doesn’t matter what people think of you,” Testa said. “I’m not trying to make a political statement like Bono or Lady Gaga, but I’m saying it doesn’t matter who you are or what you do as long as you’re having a good time.”

The band released its debut album, a seven-song EP titled “You’re Welcome,” in July 2011, and Testa said a new album is tentatively scheduled to be released in the spring.

In the meantime, Testa said he is focused on making music videos for the band’s songs as well as performing at smaller venues in and around Dayton.

“I’d much rather play to our 200 or so fans (in Dayton) that want to see us and get rowdy and take their shirts off … than play in a town where people don’t know us,” Testa said.

Playing at Trauma, however, is something the band is excited for, even though none of them have been to it before.

“I don’t even know what to expect,” said backup singer Ryan Jones. “I’ve heard stories about what this party is, and I’m going in with an open mind. It’s going to be fun and wild, I’m sure.”

Testa agreed, and said he thinks the crowd at Trauma will appreciate the band’s fun-loving show.

“That’s kind of right up our alley,” Testa said. “We want to play where people are psyched and happy to be at a place where they can let go of inhibition. We’re a different kind of band – we’re a little more intense live, but in a goofy way. We don’t stop moving and we don’t wear a lot of clothes.”

Shows at Trauma, which begin at 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, will be at the Bluestone, located at 583 E. Broad St. Tickets can be purchased online, at Evolved Body Art or at Rendezvous Hair Salon for $20, or at the door for $25.

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