A Rock and Roll Rocket

By Jenna Croyle

When you think of the Erie music scene, bands like the M-80’s, Diesel Houdini, Key West Express or Thirst ‘n Howl may come to mind. Erie is somewhat of a melting pot for music, with mixtures and blends of many styles and genres.

This week’s featured band is putting a new spin on some golden oldies from mostly the 1960’s era, which broke the boundaries of pop music from the 1950’s and fueled the growth and popularity of rock music.

Much like the innovative music of the 1960’s, Kristen and the Cosmonauts expand the limits and concepts of Erie cover bands.

This seven-piece band is comprised of Shawn “Cosmo” Brosius on Lead Guitar, Russ Straub on Rhythm Guitar, Justin Anderson on Bass Guitar and Vocals, Phil Anderson singing Tenor Vocals and on the Saxophone, Stan Zlotkowski III on Drums, Erich Semelka on Drums and leading the band with Vocals, Kristen Schrum.

As a veteran musician, Shawn “Cosmo” Brosius brings years of experience to the stage having been a part of such well-known and popular Erie bands as Wildflower, The Shindig and of course, the phenomenal band Jam Baked.

In his own style and with dynamic presence on stage, Brosius shreds the licks of some of the greats such as Aretha Franklin and Dusty Springfield while never upstaging the rest of the band.

One of the most unforgettable things about this band is the mix of the Sax, Phil Anderson adds a unique twist with his masterful use of overtones. Many things factor into and shape the final sound of a Saxophone, as the recipient of the 2010 RockErie Horn Award, Anderson seems to have them all.

In addition, the band went on to sweep the 2010 awards, winning every category in which they were nominated including best cover/tribute band.

With a waling and powerful raspy sound, Kristen Schrum takes center stage as she leads this award-winning band through every show. While performing the songs you might expect from a female singer, Schrum also breaks the boundaries by tackling tunes usually sung by male artists such as the Guess Who and the Stones.

As somewhat of a newcomer to the Erie music scene, Schrum got her singing start co-starring opposite local radio personality Shannon Solo as June Carter in Theatre 145’s 2008 production of the Johnny Cash Tribute Show. The popularity of Schrum’s voice with the capacity crowds forced the show’s producer Steve Opsanic to add additional songs for Schrum to sing throughout the show.

Later that year, Schrum stared in the Remembering Janis show giving an astonishingly realistic performance as Janis Joplin. The show’s producer Steve Opsanic stated, “Kristen gave such an amazing portrayal of Joplin that we actually had a sold-out opening night audience that kept chanting Janis…Janis…Janis.” “That was a once in a lifetime reaction.” Opsanic added.

With amazing performances that shatter the Erie standard of female singers, it is no big surprise that Schrum was awarded the Female Vocalist award at last year’s RockErie Music Awards

With a collection of outrageously talented musicians, a set list of all the best songs we grew up loving and featuring perhaps the most energetic and pulsating female singer in Erie today, this band is a must see.

Kristen and the Cosmonauts are an Instrumental Rock and Roll Rocket that will blast you into an intransient musical odyssey of sound that will blow your mind.

For More information on Kristen and the Cosmonauts, please visit their Facebook Page