The passion was palpable last night as local favorites Slingshot Dakota graced Musikfest’s Plaza Tropical stage.
Slingshot returned to Musikfest after touring earlier this year with Ratboys (a highly noteworthy, Chicago-based punk rock band who also has a kick-ass femme on lead vocals). The indie-punk duo consists of the charming married couple Carly Comando on keyboard, Tom Patterson on drums, and both belting out powerful vocals. Both Carly and Tom have strong connections to Bethlehem, noting their gratitude for ArtsQuest, their friends, the local scene, and their parents (who were also in attendance). The duo also has ties to local businesses such as Blue Sky Cafe (rest in peace to the world’s best seasonal pancakes) and The Joint coffeeshop.
Slingshot Dakota makes a keyboard and drum duo sound as rich and full as a five-piece band, managing to reach that rougher punk sound and softer indie sonority, quite literally, without missing a beat. Their tight, in-tune sound is a testament to both the hard work they have put into their craft, the love they share for each other, and the life they have created for themselves. Their setlist reflected their ability to maintain their roots, while also showcasing how they have grown, playing classics such as “Until the Day I Die Part 1,” as well as newer hits, like “Dying Stars.”
Throughout their entire two-hour set, I kept hearing various fans, both old and new, noting the pure, unadulterated emotion that Carly and Tom exuded. From the perfectly calculated variance of intensity in Carly’s voice to the genuine, beaming smile on Tom’s face, it was hard not to let a smile break out upon your own face (which may have been an issue for those seeking a tough, punk exterior).
Attending a Slingshot Dakota show almost feels like talking to a therapist, or a very dear friend, because they are warm, welcoming, and understanding. Carly’s explanation of songs not only makes the experience more immersive, but helps onlookers feel empowered as she speaks and sings about self-care, surrounding yourself with truly good people, and loving those around you to the best of your ability. Tom’s vibrant personality and fun stories about running naked through cow pastures perfectly accentuate his exhilarating drumming and ever-flowing mane of hair. Slingshot’s lyrics are poignant; their sound is polished, yet invigorating; and their stage presence is very fun, raw, and quite rare.
Carly and Tom were also joined on stage by their friend, Mimey The Mime, who danced, mimed, handed out winky-face balloons, and kept the crowd dancing and singing.
In closing, an evening with Slingshot Dakota is always a good time. But, don’t worry too much if you missed out on this set. We’re sure they’ll be around again soon.