Last Saturday, I attended my first all ages local show as the Triple A Director/Blogger for Cougar Radio.
Decked out in my best dress, ‘do, and lipstick, I made the drive to Scranton with my boyfriend by my side, anxiously awaiting what the shindig would yield. Facebook announcements promised refreshments, various vendors, music videos, live music (including a set by the band of honor The Great Party, of course) but, to be honest, I didn’t know what to expect.
The moment I crossed the parking lot toward the venue – which was a large warehouse nestled behind Cooper’s Restaurant on North Washington Avenue – the tinkling of off key drunken serenades drifting into my ears, light casting a dim glow into the blacks of my eyes, I knew that I was going to be okay.
When I crossed the threshold of the massive concrete building, however, which gave off the appearance of a garage more than the home of TwentyFive and Eight Productions – gently swiping colorful streamers to reveal what was behind – I then knew that that night was going to be even greater than I could have imagined.
Extensive Dia de Los Muertos decorations were what caught my eye first. Included was a massive shrine decorated with candles, flowers, and a centered portrait Pompadoured Skeleton – a very curious aspect at first. I would later learn that the shrine was a prop in The Great Party’s new video for “Hecho En Mexico” that was being released later that night.
Of course, the other decorations and vendor’s wares followed suit. On the left was the table for Eden, a Vegan Cafe.
The spread featured Mexican inspired and vegan friendly specialties, including black bean-carrot-and-avocado burritos, vegan steak fajitas, and virgin limemade margaritas (all unbelievably delicious, mind you).
To the very right were tables for Alchemy Home Company, a local business in the area of “unique scents for body and home”, sporting perfumes in skeleton accented bottles. Just adjacent to the table was a display Valerie Kiser Designs, who produced original tshirt designs for the event, and right next to that, an area for incredible Sugar Skull inspired face painting for guests.
The aisle of supportive businesses and self-starter companies did not compare to what was set up toward the back of the venue. A small stage decorated with the same streamers hung from the entrance to this magical world, it seemed to strain under the massive talent of A Fire With Friends, another Scranton-native band in mid-set, and later The Great Party.
Energy seemed to fly from each set, ricochet off of the walls, pierce the hearts of impassioned fans, and return to their sources: guitars, synths, electric cellos, drums and keyboards decked out with bright cardstock cutouts and a large turquoise skull. There’s no way that I could describe energy of the Great Party.
This was the first time that I had seen the band, an “Ameri-Pop/Rock-Styled” group established in 2011, in person, and the spell was instantaneous. I found myself dancing as hard as the next person, thriving on the tracks from their EP Release – songs like “Teresa”, “Robots in Love” and, of course, “Hecho en Mexico” – and thinking that this is what live music is supposed to feel like. It was liberating, free, and enveloping to the point where I didn’t feel like a radio executive.
I felt like part of guest list of the biggest birthday party anyone could ever have, celebrating with cupcakes, spirited dancing, and skeletons. Could anyone ask for more?