I’ve written it before and I will write it again, but I grew up in Bethlehem. Second Avenue to be exact and I am one of those people that will always know where I came from. I learned a lot growing up in this small city and seen a lot of changes. I was always looking from the outside in and never made my presence known. The same view goes for the Lehigh Valley music scene. Growing up I loved the pop-punk music that came out of the Lehigh Valley, from Weston to Ritter and Nooner to Digger, Chris Benner lived down the street from me! However, as I got older I really started to feel out of place in the “punk” community. Then again I never really was in it. I just liked the melodic bands like the ones above and also Royal Noise Brigade. Sure I knew the owner of Square of Opposition Records, Chris Regec, through my sister, but the music wasn’t really my thing. Taking my love of music elsewhere, I started looking outside my community and touring with national bands like Mxpx, The Fold, Tokyo Rose, and more. I didn’t even know what was coming out of Bethlehem anymore. My friend Koji kept telling me to check out a local band in my area. I kept putting it off due to my interest in the Bethlehem music scene was decreasing, but once my friend Adrian said, “come to Musikfest on Tuesday and see Slingshot Dakota, it’s free”, I thought why not. I am glad I did, because my view on the Bethlehem music scene changed for the better.
Slingshot Dakota consists of two members who are husband and wife. Carly Comando on keys and vocals, and Tom Patterson on drums and vocals. Right away I knew the dynamics between them was going to be fun. A husband and wife band has more connectivity in their music compared to three or more random guys in a regular band. Prior to the show, I listened to an album by this couple and was surprised already that something like this is coming out of Bethlehem. However, during a live setting, Slingshot Dakota blew their recording out of the water. Tom Patterson is one, an excellent drummer, and two, a beast when playing. I really thought the skins of his drums would’ve broken by the second song. Carly on the other hand puts a lot of emotion behind her voice when singing. It shows on the record, but during a live setting is when you can really hear it.
For a later show, and the last of the night at Musikfest, Slingshot Dakota built a fairly big crowd of loyal fans and a whole lot of newer fans, including myself. It might have been the drums, or Carly’s voice, or maybe Tom’s joking talk in between songs, but I think Slingshot Dakota got more curious onlookers than any other band at Musikfest. I hope some people went home and dug into what they just saw. Myself on the other hand will now look more into not only Slingshot Dakota, but also what Bethlehem’s music scene has to offer. Maybe Slingshot Dakota is a one off band, but I love the search in finding new bands to like and maybe I will find more in my hometown. Just like love, it will come when I least expect it.