OLIVER Hazard

From left, Devin East, Mike Belazi, and Griffin McCulloch perform at Realx, It's Just Coffee. The folk band, Oliver Hazard is in the midst of an Ohio Tour. They played at the coffee shop, Saturday, July 21.

MANSFIELD -- Oliver Hazard took the stage as part of their Ohio Tour, Saturday night.

While they were showcased at Relax, It's Just Coffee, the Carousel District audience appeared to receive the band with that same mantra.

"We actually -- Dev (East), Griff (McCulloch) and I have been talking about it all day," Mike Belazis, a member of the Waterville-based band, said Sunday afternoon. "Just how quiet and attentive the crowd was. It's definitely abnormal for us."

The three-person folk group has gained enormous momentum since recording its debut album in December 2016. After months sending their sound to record labels, the band was invited to perform at Bonaroo and Mountain Jam Music Festivals and various other spots.

The first single, Ceasar Knows, has reached one million plays on Spotify.

Currently, the band is spending weekends playing in towns and cities in Ohio to gain more notoriety and grow its fanbase.

Nearly 60 people filled the coffee shop to hear the up-and-coming band. The band featured original songs off its debut album, complete with tight harmonies, glockenspiel and an old suitcase found in the attic as a bass drum.

"It feels like a wave of support. A nurturing support that is more than just (Waterville)," Belazis said of the growing fanbase. "Especially because it's an Ohio thing, and it's where we are from. instead of just being friends and family, it's now friends of friends. It's a really neat feeling.

"That's what it felt like in Mansfield. This was one of the first times we performed for mostly strangers. It's kind of a weird feeling, but we were really surprised at how warm the welcome was. Everything was so special. We'd never experienced that before."

Belazis said he and the trio enjoyed their time -- albeit brief -- in Mansfield. Before they performed, they visited a local bar. When the band asked for the bill, they were told it had been already been paid. While the band was eating, Belazis said fans came up them, and told them about when they saw them at Bonaroo or how much they enjoyed their first album, 34 N. River.

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Oliver Hazard performed eight of 10 songs from the debut album and tacked on two new songs. By the end of the Ohio Tour, the band hopes to be able to change over to full-time musicians.

McCulloch is out of vacation days at work, which makes touring on weekdays more difficult, Belazis added with a laugh.

"It's moreso excitement," East said. "As each song comes out, it's more and more press and that's exciting. But also, the funny things is we are all still more or less in Waterville."

There is no doubt Oliver Hazard is aware of what lies ahead. The band mates just need time to save money and to figure out what the next steps are toward a music career.

"When it comes to what our jobs are and what our possible job is," McCulloch said, "It's very tough, because we're living in a couple different worlds."

Staff Reporter

Noah Jones is host to The Open Mic Podcast -- available on Apple Podcasts! He is the crime, education and music reporter for Richland Source. He is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and a giant Cardinals fan.