At the Paramount last weekend, what came before the headliner was almost more impressive.
Northport-based band Kodiak performed on the Huntington stage for the first time that night, opening for Billy Joel cover band Big Shot on Saturday, Feb. 27, and the teens rocked the house.
Before the show last weekend, Kodiak had played mostly open mic nights at their high school and some local bars around Northport, according to songwriter and lead singer Rich Orofino, 17.
In an interview at Orofino’s family home Monday, he and lead guitarist Matt Louis, 16, reflected on their big night while also looking toward their bright future.
“People are singing our lyrics in the crowd,” Orofino said. “That’s, like, the best feeling.”
Orofino and Louis, students at Northport High School, stressed how appreciative they were for the opportunity presented by the Paramount and Big Shot to be able to play the show, which will be remembered as a milestone for Kodiak.
Drummer Jonah Cohn, 17, and bass player Jack Burns, 18, round out the group.
The band has been together for about a year. They compared the sound of their eponymous debut album, released in 2015, to the indie rock band Real Estate. They mentioned Bob Dylan, The Who and Led Zeppelin as some of the bands they listen to.
Their second album, “Romantic Rebel and the Phony Reaper,” which they expect to be done in the next month or so, will have a harder, more electric-driven sound.
Because of that shift, Louis and Orofino had a hard time pinpointing Kodiak’s genre. But they’re okay with that.
“You should never try to duplicate yourself,” Louis said of their evolving style.
Wisdom and maturity came through in shocking abundance while speaking to the guys. That maturity softened Linda Orofino to the idea of her son pursuing such a tumultuous and uncertain career as a musician, a few decades after her husband took his shot at stardom and fell short.
“I did not want my son to be a musician,” his mother said. But his dedication and talent have proved her wrong, she said. Her husband is proud too, she added, when he hears Kodiak perform.
Orofino estimated that he has written about 230 songs, and while he couldn’t name a favorite at first, he settled on “Embers,” off their first album, after some deliberation.
Orofino and Louis both said that music is their one and only priority right now. They don’t have other hobbies — this is all they’ve ever wanted to be.
“I’ve been writing songs since ninth grade,” Orofino said. “In tenth grade one of my best friends put my name down on an open mic list at the school and I just stepped on stage and played two of my songs and I got a standing ovation. That was, like, the greatest feeling on Earth and I just never wanted to not be on a stage from that point on.”
Anyone who has spent time in Northport could understand how artists from there find inspiration.
“There’s so much Northport in our music,” Louis said.
Orofino fully endorsed that sentiment. “There’s literally an osprey’s nest we sing about,” he said, motioning toward the back door of the home, which looks out on the Long Island Sound.
Kodiak will be playing a two-hour show at St. Paul’s Methodist Church in downtown Northport Village sometime in March or April, as a fundraiser for a Northport food pantry. The date has not yet been determined.
Visit them online at www.kodiakband.bandcamp.com to hear their music or find out about future Kodiak shows.