Chicago-based cover band Your Villain My Hero will combine top 40 pop, club and dance hits with a high energy stage show at 10 p.m. today and Friday at Bar 145, 100 E. Erie St.
Lead vocalist and guitarist Jennifer Knuth joined the band four years ago at the age of 19.
"My dad found an ad on Craigslist and they were looking for a new singer at the time, so I went in and I auditioned and they loved me," Knuth said. "The band went through a couple of reincarnations. When we first started, we had a different singer and a completely different lineup."
Band manager Roger Jansen and bassist Betina Gozo founded the band. The band's current lineup is Knuth, Gozo, drummer Mike Hussa, guitarist Jay Kijek and rapper Zigg Wilder.
The newest member of the band, Wilder joined the mix about a year and a half ago. Knuth and Wilder share an electric chemistry on stage, exchanging pop melodies and the occasional old school rhyme.
"I think from the very beginning, Roger had this idea of a co-fronted band between a male and female," Knuth said. "He liked the idea of a girl singing and a guy that was like a MC, so the band wouldn't be the same without Zigg."
Villain's set list includes hits by Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas, Kanye West, P!nk, Outkast, Katy Perry and many more.
"We play whatever is current on the radio and we do some throw backs from the '90s," Knuth said. "We alter our set a little bit based on the crowd. If it's more of a college crowd, we'll play a lot more of a certain type of music just because you have to change for your audience. You want to make sure they are having fun. We play whatever gets people dancing, that's what we want."
Villain's favorite song to play is "Locked Out Of Heaven" by Bruno Mars.
"It's just got a great sound it and we love the energy," Knuth said. "We always get excited to play new songs. The bass line is awesome. I love playing it because it's right in my range and we have a choreographed dance move that we do for it. We always get excited for our little nerdy dance moves."
Knuth said that even though the band has a great stage performance, the band rarely practices together.
"We'll pick a song and we'll spend a week learning it on our own time and then we sound check it at a show, and if it sounds good we play it and it if doesn't meet all of our standards we bump it to the next night or week," Knuth said. "I just think that we've been playing together for so long that it's easy for us to come together, but at the same time we're playing covers. It's not like we're writing our own music, we're listening to a song, so if we all learn our own parts then it's pretty easy to come together and play it through."
Knuth said the most important thing about being in a cover band is to not take yourself too seriously.
"I think when you're playing other peoples music, you need to have high energy and I think we bring that," Knuth said. "We're all best friends and we have so much fun. I think that energy is what makes us a great cover band. We have fun wherever we go and we like to engage with the audience and have them have fun. If everyone is dancing and having a good time, then we did our job."
It's not a Villain show if the audience isn't dancing or laughing.
"We're always laughing on stage," Knuth said. "There are times when Zigg will do something so ridiculous that I'm laughing so hard I can't even sing. Jay is always making up these dance moves and then Zigg will try to imitate them. It's really fun and I think that people pick up on the fact that we're having so much fun and we're just so silly it's entertaining. We're honest about who we are, that's what people love. We're not trying to be something we're not on stage."
Villain's first time playing in Kent was at Bar 145's opening weekend.
"It was insane," Knuth said. "We had a blast. The first time we played there it was packed. We always have a great crowd and great energy there and in return that makes us more energetic."
Bar 145 manager Kiel Rohrbacher said he expects full capacity Thursday and Friday night.
"Villain has played here and at our other location in Toledo and they bring it every time," Rohrbacher said. "The crowd absolutely loves them."
Rohrbacher said Bar 145 is bringing Villain back to celebrate spring break in Kent.
"This is our first spring break so we're hoping for a good crowd," Rohrbacher said. "And who else to better celebrate with than Your Hero My Villain."
Villain will take the stage at 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday at Bar 145.
For more information, call Bar 145 at 330-968-6201.