New music showcase kicks off at Vigilante Coffee

March 24, 2015

Photo courtesy Diane Contreras.

BY DIANE CONTRERAS — On May 9, Vigilante Coffee kicked off their first Music Showcase, known throughout the Hyattsville Arts District as Second Saturdays.  This new series will provide a variety of live music from local musicians in the Washington, D.C. region on the second Saturday of each month.

Prior to developing this series, music has been a central component to the coffee experience at Vigilante.  It seems that customers choose Vigilante for two major reasons: the coffee and the vibe.

Austin Redington, co-owner of Vigilante Coffee, said, “Music is really important to us.  So much, so that the first step on our opening procedures is vibe control.”  He explained how the staff is trained to adjust the music according to the vibe in the room.  This conscious effort is the finishing touch to the unique coffee experience at Vigilante—a place where specialty coffee and community vibe as one.

Beyond coffee, Austin genuinely keeps in touch with the local customers.  Through his congenial way of doing things in the café, he came across Adam Ortiz and George Coromilas, who later introduced him to Lee Cain.  The four of them immediately bonded over music and future plans for the roastery.

George Coromilas put it best, “From the moment I walked in, the coffee shop was such a great space with a built-in stage, exposed types, and major potential – definitely a great addition to the Arts District.”

George, Adam and Lee are all musically inclined and residents of Hyattsville.  George runs a recording studio out of his home and is currently wrapping up an album with an underground artist from D.C.  Both Adam and Lee are musicians in addition to their normal day jobs and other side projects.  Their band is called Blue Plains. With a team already wired musically, we can expect solid lineups.

Seth Showalter and The Wild Anacostias from the Gateway Arts District set the bar high on the first Saturday showcase.  Seth is known for his Southeast D.C. roots, and “stoner romance, gospel-country, folk jams.”  He cleverly warned the crowd, “So, I’m starting off with all my really depressing songs, alright?  I wrote them during those long snow days a couple years back.”  The loyal Vigilante customers drew their chairs in close – and in that moment, the roastery transformed.

Next, The Wild Anacostias took the stage – a band comprised of family members and friends.  They even sang Happy Birthday to a relative in the audience.  The Wild Anacostias’ Louisiana, bayou rhythm and spectrum of instruments from the trumpet, to saxaphone, guitars and tambourines, had the place singing along until closing.

“Since Hyattsville is full of talented artists, it only makes sense to unite and serve the community with a really cool event to enjoy with friends and family, while supporting local musicians,” Austin warmly shared.  “We are hoping that as business develops, we’ll be open later and we will likely have evening musical events.  We’re open to seeing where this takes us!”

The developers of Second Saturdays were beyond pleased and the people of Hyattsville left the shop eager for more.  Here’s the lineup for next month’s showcase at Vigilante’s Café and Roastery on June 13 from 2 to 4 p.m.:

Notes from the Underground are considered a newgrass band from D.C. with a quick-paced combination of the fiddle, banjo, and mandolin.  They were featured at the BlueGrass & Folk Festival at Kingman Island in April.

Mary Gordon Hall, local singer/songwriter, and songwriting teacher in Hyattsville!  Known for competing in Songwriter Showdowns, she will bring a poetic feel to her acoustic-folk melodies.

Finally, Second Saturdays welcomes the Jill Warren Band from Brentwood.  Jill entered the music industry as a singer/songwriter in College Park.  The Jill Warren Band is a 5-piece band consisting of the violin, multiple guitars, and cello.  They range from progressive-rock to elements of Joni Mitchell, one of Jill’s idols.

And so it seems, with a lineup like this, Second Saturdays is off to a good start!  You can follow the series on Instagram and Twitter by hashtagging #SSatVigilante.  Vigilante will have the garage door open, welcoming everyone on the block to some cold brew and live music.  All are welcome!  Admission is free, but donations are suggested.

Diane Contreras works for Vigilante Coffee and is a regular contributor to the Hyattsville Life & Times.