Up-and-coming indie pop band Saint Motel thrilled a sold-out crowd with a “Live from the Chandelier Lobby” performance at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday.
The quartet from Los Angeles – A/J Jackson (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards), Aaron Sharp (lead guitar), Dak Lerdamornpong (bass) and Greg Erwin (drums) – relied heavily on its first full-length album, 2012’s “Voyeur,” for the beginning of Wednesday’s set.
The large and energetic crowd was receptive from the get-go, lapping up opening numbers “Feed Me Now,” “Honest Feedback” and “Benny Goodman,” a swinging tune which namechecks the popular band leader and clarinetist of the ‘30s and ‘40s.
Some loud screams of recognition accompanied the keyboard intro to “Puzzle Pieces,” and the crowd sang along with the long and weird “Daydream/Wetdream/Nightmare.”
Jackson talked excitedly about being in Northeast Pennsylvania for the first time. After stopping by the studios of Fuzz 92.1 (WFUZ) in Scranton during the afternoon, Jackson said the band toured Wilkes-Barre a little bit in the evening and had a great dinner at an Italian restaurant.
He was also very impressed with the Kirby Center.
“Let’s give it up for this theater, it’s beautiful,” he said. “And we’re only in the lobby, so that says a lot.”
After the five songs from the 2012 album, the band moved on to all four tracks from its most-recent release, the “My Type” EP from August 2014.
First up was “Ace in the Hole,” with its memorable couplet, “Don’t try lines and don’t try jokes/She eats up men like Hall and Oates,” a sly reference to that duo’s 1982 hit “Maneater.”
The band followed with “Midnight Movies,” with its stomping piano rhythms, and “Cold Cold Man,” which may be the band’s next single release as it has already charted in Italy.
“Oh my God, you guys have so much energy for a Wednesday,” Jackson said. “This is fantastic!”
A long intro built up the anticipation for the band’s best-known song, “My Type,” as Jackson climbed atop the speaker cabinet, pumping his fist, and then came back down to the stage to introduce his band mates.
As soon as the two-piece horn section began the song’s intro, the crowd exploded, loudly singing along with every word of the Top 10 Alternative hit.
“Wilkes-Barre, you guys here are (expletive) amazing,” Jackson said following the band’s encore.
Cheerleader, an indie pop quintet from Philadelphia, opened Wednesday’s show and made the most of its half hour on stage.
The band’s debut album, “The Sunshine of Your Youth,” came out in May and its contents sounded good in the live setting. Highlights included the title track, “On Your Side,” “Do What You Want” and “A Million Ways.”
If you missed Wednesday’s show, you can check out Saint Motel at the Made In America Festival in Philadelphia on Sept. 5 and 6. Cheerleader will play its hometown with a show at the Theatre of Living Arts on Sept. 12.
Brad Patton has been reviewing concerts and writing about music for the Times Leader and Weekender for more than five years. He also hosts a two-hour radio show on 88.5 FM-WRKC (Radio King’s College) every Tuesday at 7 p.m.