Everything about the New Paltz underground music scene is a serendipity. I suppose in a place where so many young people come together to collaborate and get an education, it is only natural for them to try their hand at exploring musically as well. Walking into Snug Harbor bar on Main St. is an experience of its own. The walls are plastered with graffiti-esque amateur artwork. The wood floors are stained with years of beer spilled on them and the thousands of vans, converse, and leather boots that have danced on them throughout the years.
In the midst of a chaotic Tuesday night at this local watering hole, a band called Baby Saints sets up their equipment. Formerly known as Old Cave, the band got its start as a solo project of lead singer Dominic Antifeatro during his freshman year at SUNY New Paltz. During his junior year, Antifeatro recruited the help of his friends: bassist Devin Gilbert, Ben Finkelstein on drums, and Ted Rosa on guitar.
Although it was a short setlist, Baby Saints showcased their pure talent by mixing original songs with a cover of Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer.” Their original songs are clearly a product of mixed influence, incorporating slow, easy, ska-like jamming tunes with screamo punk vocals at the bridge and chorus. As the sound builds in sound and intensity, so does Antifeatro with his emotional, bare, intense vocals. Just as quickly as the sounds build up, they drop off after the chorus, back into an almost sarcastic cheery tune, moments after Antifeatro screams “how do you sleep now?”
The attention of the crowd was drawn uniquely to Baby Saints. During a night of 5 different bands, Baby Saints drew the biggest crowd into the tight space between the bar and tables. Perhaps the most significant moment was the guitar solo during their cover of Neil Young’s Cortez the Killer. All eyes were on Rosa, as he skillfully transported the crowd through an all immersive melodically and chord perfect sound, while the band backed him up with their natural jam band sounds.
The original recordings of Old Cave are available online, but here’s hoping Baby Saints keep up their perfect blend of the best of classic; both past and present.