Homecoming at the State Fair with The Scarlet Ending

The Syracuse-based band returns home to play the opening day of the Fair at Chevy Court.

Kayleigh Goldsworthy strolled the thoroughfare around the Chevy Court stage at the New York State Fair Thursday munching on a deep-fried potato on a stick. Her twin sister, Kaleena, had just polished off a corndog and was milling around behind the stage. Considering the two were about to perform on opening day at one of the fair’s largest stages, they were completely at ease.

Photo: Alyssa Stone
Kaleena Goldsworthy, along with her identical twin sister play for the first time at the New York State fair.

“It hasn’t hit me yet how big this really is,” said Kayleigh just minutes before the show.

The sisters are founding members of The Scarlet Ending, a six-person synth and strings alternative rock band from Syracuse. Along with the Goldsworthy twins, the band includes Jon Tedd, Jess Hafner, Aaron Garritillo and Nick Streeter.

While the band is no newcomer to the limelight, the show on opening day of the 2011 State Fair was one of their biggest to date. This year’s lineup at Chevy Court stage includes The Pointer Sisters, Trace Adkins, REO Speedwagon and Bruno Mars. The Scarlet Ending is the only local act to play the Fair’s second-largest stage, and getting there was nearly three years in the making.

“We’ve been trying to play the fair for the past two years, but it just never worked out,” Kayleigh said. “Now it’s finally happening for us. It’s really exciting.”

Despite their Syracuse roots, however, the band can hardly be regarded as just a local act. Since the release of their sophomore album, Ghosts, in 2010, The Scarlet Ending has been on the warpath, gaining popularity and recognition across the country and overseas.

Last summer the group performed as part of the Armed Forces Entertainment tour, which included shows in Greenland, Germany and southwest Asia. Since then, they have played numerous clubs and venues in New York City, produced two music videos and signed with the management company Sunshine Sachs, whose clients include Bon Jovi and Usher, among others.

The band is currently writing music for a new album, which they hope to release by spring 2012. While they’ve put a hold on touring in order to work on the album, they couldn’t refuse an opportunity to play such a major event in their hometown.

Kayleigh, who recently moved to New York City, spent the morning before the show doing interviews with local media, including a spot on 95X and WSYR’s Bridge Street show. Kaleena was working at her day job at HSBC, but both made sure they took some time to enjoy the Fair.

“I plan on eating my weight in deep-fried Snickers wrapped in bacon,” Kaleena said. “Fried food just makes everything better.”

While most of the band members still live in Syracuse, the event had the distinct feeling of a homecoming show. As the girls waited backstage, friends and family snuck in to say hello. Even their 90-year-old grandmother came out to wish them luck.

The Scarlet Ending took the stage at 4:45 p.m. Right away they voiced their appreciation to all the fans who had come to see them in their hometown.

“Opening day at the State Fair…” Kaleena mused to the crowd. “We’re beside ourselves. It’s so nice to see so many familiar faces out there.”

The band’s 45-minute set featured a number of songs from the unreleased new album.

“This is a special show for us,” Kayleigh said. “We’re going to put it all out there.”

The sisters shared lead vocal duties while Kayleigh strummed rhythm guitar and Kaleena banged away on an electric keyboard. Tedd sang backup vocals and played lead guitar with Hafner on the cello, Garratillo on bass and Streeter on drums.

The combination of intricate harmonies with heavy synthesizer, piano and strings riffs created a dark but beautiful sound that lured fairgoers to the stage. The sweet, easy-going demeanor the twins sported backstage all but vanished once they took the stage, replaced by a seductive, confident swagger that left spectators mesmerized.

The set alternated between slow, harmonic ballads and tempo-driven rock tunes. The group closed with “Exactly What You Want” from the album Ghosts. The crowd clapped along as Kayleigh sang the serenading verses and Kaleena and Tedd joined in for the heavy, screaming chorus.

“To play at an event that we’ve been coming to for 20-something years is just incredible,” Kaleena said. “The fact that it’s opening day makes it that much better.”

The Scarlet Ending

Great article Chris!


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