It was a Friday evening in March 2022, and like most folks, I was looking for something to get into. Maybe head to one of the breweries or catch some live music — two of the hardest decisions someone has to face. 

The buzz appeared to be circling around a show happening in the Tiger Room at Welch’s Ale House. The bill featured a handful of local up and comers: The Namby Pamby, Swell Time, Namen Namen, and Loveseat!. 

The latter was Sam Clay’s latest project, which was pretty much the deciding factor for me. Plus, it was his debut at guitar, stepping away from the drum kit he has been accustomed to since playing in The B-45s and continues with in Uncle Muscle and Hillbilly Casino. 


w/The Namby Pamby, Red Scarves
8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16
The Deck
305 E. Superior St., Fort Wayne
No cover · (260) 426-3411

The scene was electric as excited fans spanning generations and a who’s who of local musicians filled the venue. All the performers were on their game, and when Loveseat! took the stage with vocalist Mary Mitchener sporting shades and a Culture Club shirt, an instant connection was made. 

Perhaps the most gripping moment occurred with the band’s finale, a cover of Tears for Fears’ “Head Over Heels,” which had fans singing along like a night of karaoke. 

Little did we know this new band was about to kick some serious tail in Fort Wayne. 

So much so, that the team of Clay, Mitchener, bassist Ethan Hoff, and drummer Vic Brown have cemented themselves in the local scene. 

They have performed an abundance of local gigs, released a stellar EP, Let’s Go, executed a nine-date tour, and recently hosted their first music festival, Lovefest. So much in such a short amount of time. Remember, these cats started just under two years ago. 

The crew is about to add another feather in their cap when they release a new EP, Leave Room, on Sept. 12, on CD and streaming platforms.

Studio time

The six-song Leave Room has been close to a year in the making since it was recorded in Pittsburgh with Tyler Thompson of Studio 110. The studio may ring a bell to some as local standouts Debutants recently recorded there as well. 

“I found out about the studio when I was out with Hillbilly Casino and we stayed there for the night,” Clay said. “Tyler was so welcoming and I just fell in love with the homeliness of the studio that I couldn’t wait to go back and record someday.” 

The overall experience was exciting for Hoff as well.

“It was my first time in any kind of professional studio setting, so I didn’t know what to expect, and I tried to keep an open mind,” he said. 

“It was also great to see Sam get so excited over certain songs that we were going over after we recorded them. We’d go through a take, and he’d keep coming up with ideas to add, and they always fit perfectly. It was just fun, no tension or pressure, and probably the highlight of the year for me.” 

The first taste of the EP is the single, “Return,” that was recently released to the streaming world. Zack Skyler of ALT 99.5FM/ 102.3FM has been generous enough to give it a few spins on the Fort Wayne airwaves which is pretty cool experience for any local act artist. 

“The song’s meaning is based on something so unsalvageable that you can never return,” Mitchener said. “Almost like something you would see in a movie.”

A music video for the song that was shot by Derek Hockemeyer and directed by Mitchener will be released Sept. 30.

Another track, the light-hearted modern rock tune “Bedtime Man,” is the first song Mitchener wrote on guitar and basically on her own. Folks won’t be disappointed with this one. 

Spreading the word

In honor of the album, Loveseat! will host a release party at The Deck on Saturday, Sept. 16. The day will feature local vendors from 1-6 p.m. followed by music at 8 p.m. from Loveseat!, The Namby Pamby, and Red Scarves out of Chicago. 

Mitchener and Co. rocked the beer garden stage at The Deck this year, and I wouldn’t expect any different this time around. 

Of course, the bar will be slinging drinks while you take in the tunes, and Leave Room CDs and shirts will be available for purchase. 

Following the release party, the band will embark on a 14-date Fall in Love Tour that will see them hitting venues in such cities as Atlanta; Nashville, Tennessee; Boston; and Cleveland. The tour concludes with a stop at The Brass Rail on Saturday, Nov. 4. 

After that, they will take some much needed time off which Clay calls it their “Winter Intermission.” 

The crew will recharge the batteries and be ready to roll early next year. But you never know, we might see this band pop their heads out or release a single during that time. 

‘Coolest thing I’ve been a part of’

Loveseat!’s place as one of the pillars of the local scene is now incontestable. The simpatico musical partnership of Clay and Mitchener and the rhythm section of Hoff and Brown are a power pop that possess a charm and effervescence that are thoroughly addictive. The best part, these 20-somethings are having fun doing it. 

“Being in Loveseat! is easily the coolest thing I’ve been a part of thus far,” Brown said. “Not only do I get to play music with my best friends, I get to meet people and see places I otherwise wouldn’t have. I wouldn’t trade it for anything!” 

That’s good, cause we’re not about to trade you in either as this ride is just getting started. Looking forward to the new release and where the journey takes them next. 

Their fans say it best, “Love that Seat!”