First Posted: 3/11/2014
The annual Band O’ Palooza at The Vintage is a concert that young local music fans always look forward to, but for members of Crock Pot Abduction, it’s an anniversary that becomes more meaningful with each passing year.
The five-piece Scranton rockers’ first show was also the first Band O’ Palooza at The Vintage’s previous location three years ago, opening up with The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” and covers of Radiohead and Green Day songs; their only original was a “weird and experimental” tune called “Japanese Suicide.”
“It started off with slide guitar… and then it kind of went down into this weird breakdown where everyone just kind of played different things. It was actually kind of terrible, but the part that wasn’t all over the place was actually all right. We don’t play it anymore,” singer/bassist Connor Langan noted with a laugh.
“It was definitely a good place to start because we still keep the element of weirdness to our music. We play the right notes, though.”
They earned a reaction that still sticks in Langan’s mind clearly.
“I remember being really pumped because it was my first show singing,” he recalled. “It actually was one of our biggest draws for a show. I was very surprised.
“My first memory of it was our friend Ray Meoni crowd surfing and almost getting kicked out for it. It was actually kind of funny because I didn’t know the kid at the time and I just saw this kid up in the air for a band that had just started. It was pretty great.”
Their early cover songs influenced their “alternative/punk-ish kind of sound,” branching off from there into practically any genre the band listened to. Inspired by their early success and the other bands at that first show, they began writing original work. Singer/guitarist Jake Decker was the primary songwriter at first, but by the summer, they all began contributing and have since released a demo and EP.
“We still keep that whole idea that there’s never just one genre. We’re always all over the place. A song will be pop punk, a song will be indie, just all over the place, and I think that’s one thing I like about us, that we don’t define ourselves with one genre, so really nothing sounds the same,” Langan explained.
By the second Band O’ Palooza, which Langan, 19, feels was one of their best shows yet, CPA knew they were onto something.
“I think that’s the moment where I realized, ‘Wow, we’ve actually gone somewhere. We’ve gotten a lot better since we started this band and we’re not just sitting playing Green Day covers anymore,” he said.
“Our fans are really dedicated. I’m surprised. We never know what it’s going to be like because sometimes they’re very calm and stoic but other times they show up and they’re singing the songs back in our faces and moshing to songs that are not even that heavy. It’s actually very interesting. I love it. I love our fans. Very interactive.”
Many of those fans came from frequent shows at New Visions Studio & Gallery, which closed last year and left Langan “heartbroken” but not discouraged.
“I couldn’t comprehend it. I still can’t really get over it that well. That place was like a second home to me. Even when we weren’t playing shows, I’d run the counter and just get exposure to more local bands,” he said. “It was a great place to hang out, but The Vintage is doing a great job with it now, too. I think I can ease them into being my second home now.”
Releasing a single titled “She Loves John Stamos” with a B-side, “Pumpkin Pie,” in November, the group is halfway through recording their first full-length album, which they hope to have completed by the end of the summer. Langan feels that they’ve been broadening their horizons and maturing as songwriters with more meaningful and intricate songs, though the band’s famous on-stage theatrics let the audience know they’re still having fun.
“I don’t want to take it too seriously. I take music seriously, but I want the fans to feel like they can have fun with us and we’re not just there to be all serious,” he emphasized.
Organized every year by CPA drummer Joe Belfanti’s mother and the West Scranton Marching Band Boosters, Band O’ Palooza’s proceeds benefit the West Scranton Marching Band, and this year, for its fourth outing, Langan is expecting a sold-out event.
“It’s going to be a killer show. We hope to see a lot of people out there. Expect a CPA show unlike anyone’s ever seen. I know I say that a lot, but every show is different for us,” he enthused.
“I have high hopes for the band. In a couple years, I’m hoping to see us finally release our album, playing out of Scranton. Still playing home, but going out and showing other cities our music.
“I don’t see us breaking up because I feel like it’s a part of us now. Three of us have CPA tattoos, actually. They don’t say ‘CPA’ on them, so if anything goes wrong, it’s just like, ‘Oh, what’s this little thing?’ I’m really dedicated to it.”