By Michael Lello
Photos by Jesse Faatz and Mark Dennebaum
SCRANTON — A capacity crowd helped celebrate The Vintage’s fifth anniversary Friday night with a free, all-ages concert featuring A Social State, Esta Coda and Katie Kelly & The Charming Beards co-produced by The Vintage and Highway 81 Revisited.
Kelly and her band kicked off the evening with an entertaining set of fun and melodic rock that might at first glance be described as folky thanks to some mandolin and acoustic guitar textures, but that descriptor falls short, as the band’s performance also encompassed straight-ahead rock, twangy Americana, catchy and poignant signer/songwriter tunes and even some wild punk rock energy. The group’s set included “Bless Me Father,” which Kelly said was one of the first song’s the band played at its first Vintage show, and on Friday it billowed up from a slow and spooky introduction into an uptempo rocker. Kelly and The Beards closed with “Pissing In The Kitchen,” a rockabilly-flavored number that induced some dancing from the younger members of the audience.
Esta Coda followed with a performance that blended indie rock and pop punk, sharing songs from their (unofficially) yet-to-be-released debut EP, although free CDs were available at the show. With Daniel Rosler and Jay Preston alternating lead vocals from song to song, the band’s sound is diverse, with Preston’s songs seeming to fit more squarely into a pop punk/post-punk vein than Rosler’s; the contrasting styles give the already tight band an added dimension. Esta Coda’s set included “Henny Penny,” debuted last week at Highway 81 Revisited and featured on the forthcoming EP, “Kindness.”
Headliners A Social State are also gearing up to release a new album, “How To Get To Heaven,” and the band played a mix of songs from that record as well as its previous recordings. The band opened with a few “Heaven” songs, including “Aging Ego Maniac” and “Kidnapped”; the latter was offered as a preview stream last week at Highway 81. The band’s powerful sound is a mix of sharp-edged rock in the vein of Jimmy Eat World but with a darker tinge; some listeners might detect some Brand New and even more mainstream connections like Foo Fighters, but it all works together to create a unique and compelling sound. A Social State’s brooding yet upbeat set included the well-constructed “Side By Side,” from the upcoming record, as well as older, more familiar material, some of it requested by crowd members.
Each band’s performance brought something distinctive to Friday’s event, but equally as important was the fact that each of them share a history with The Vintage — and it’s something the bands clearly appreciated, agreeing to help celebrate the arts space’s birthday and offering their gratitude from the stage.
One can’t predict the future, but if The Vintage is fortunate enough to celebrate a 10th anniversary, it’s quite possible that A Social State, Esta Coda and Katie Kelly & The Charming Beards will be too big to play there — but we’re pretty sure that would anyway.