Rich Howells

The Vault in Scranton will reopen as new live music venue Stage West on Oct. 5

The Vault in Scranton will reopen as new live music venue Stage West on Oct. 5
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Less than four months after The Vault Tap & Kitchen closed after four years in business, one of its co-owners, Steve Masterson, will reopen the historic Electric City Bank building in West Scranton as Stage West, kicking off with a weekend of live music.

Masterson is not only rebranding the building, but redesigning its look and layout to accommodate a new business model. While The Vault was a sports bar/restaurant with an extensive menu and occasional live music, Stage West will be a live music venue first and foremost, featuring a brand new stage where its huge pizza oven and part of its kitchen used to be.

Stage West will still serve food and drinks, but with a more limited pub fare menu. With a new bar top, new floors, new walls, and new tables and chairs, the place will look completely different by next Friday, Oct. 5 at 9:30 p.m. when Nanticoke pop punk band Send Request plays the club’s first official concert with fellow pop punkers Second Suitor from Binghamton and Stay Loud from Wilkes-Barre. Send Request is on the rise after recently signing to SharpTone Records and releasing their new album, “Perspectives,” last month, and Send Request was just named Punk/Hardcore Act of the Year in the Steamtown Music Awards a few weeks ago, so music fans can expect a youthful, high-energy punk show on the venue’s opening night for only $5 at the door. Local Dave Matthews tribute band A Proud Monkey will play the hits and a few deep cuts on Sunday, Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m. to close out the weekend.

From there, Stage West’s calendar is filling up fast. The tied winners of Best New Artist in the 2018 Steamtown Music Awards, The Boastfuls and Always Undecided, will perform together on Friday, Oct. 12. New York comedian Joe Matarese will headline the venue’s first Hump Day Comedy & Dinner night on Wednesday, Oct. 17, and local punk rock trio Blind Choice will perform with Stay Loud on Saturday, Nov. 10. RCA recording artist and West Penn Township native Kulick takes the stage with The Boastfuls and The Cryptid on Friday, Nov. 30, and Scranton metal band Behind the Grey will rock with The Holtzmann Effect on Saturday, Dec. 1. The Maguas and The Boastfuls are also booked to play a hometown holiday show on Saturday, Dec. 22, with many more concerts to be announced soon.

Masterson told NEPA Scene that future weekends will typically include different types of acts and genres each night, from rock bands to DJs, to draw many different crowds. Both local and national acts will be featured, giving Scranton a much-needed club-sized venue to attract touring artists.

With the exception of the comedy nights, which are 18+, all shows will be 21 and over, though there may be some all-ages events down the road. Masterson estimates the capacity of Stage West around 200 people, including the balcony overlooking the stage and ground floor. It will likely bring new demographics into the former West Scranton watering hole, which is exactly what Masterson is hoping for after The Vault’s closure.

“We had our local West Side crowd, and then we’d get some people passing through to start their night. Say they’re coming from Clarks Summit or Old Forge and they’re making their way downtown – we would be your stop before you went downtown. So I’m definitely trying to change that to be the destination for the night,” he said in an interview this morning.

“I want to gather from more than just West Scranton. I want to reach out to a five-mile radius, a 10-mile radius even – Pittston, Wilkes-Barre – and have people coming this way just to hear the music.”

Masterson has a few years of experience in that area as the owner of DamnMillennial! Promotions. The concert production company has brought bands large and small to various Scranton venues over the last few years, including The Vault, The Leonard Theater and, most recently, the Scranton Iron Furnaces.

One of those concerts was held in The Vault’s parking lot on June 18, 2016, headlined by one of Scranton’s most successful bands, The Menzingers. Now based in Philadelphia, the group played a rare hometown show (aside from their annual NEPA Holiday Show) where they debuted new songs from their latest album, “After the Party,” about seven months before its release on Epitaph Records. One of those songs was “Bad Catholics,” which vocalist/guitarist Greg Barnett originally said was planned as a B-side for a split EP before it went over so well that night, as seen in this video:

Making several direct references to Scranton in its lyrics, the catchy tune not only ended up on the album due to its positive reception, but it was later released as a single with a funny music video that was shot in that very same parking lot just a few months later:

Taking its name from its history as a former bank building, The Vault opened its doors for Scranton’s biggest annual party, Parade Day, on March 15, 2014 and closed on June 10, 2018 following its last shows with Tom Graham and DJ Ransom. The Vault hosted solo musicians, full bands, and DJs on a regular basis, even sponsoring and catering concerts around the Scranton area. It was preceded by the Faccia Luna and the Pepperwood Grill and Alehouse in that same location (301 N. Main Ave., Scranton), remodeling the Electric City Bank into a bar/restaurant with two floors with balcony seating, a private dining area, and a deck overlooking the parking lot.

Now heading in a different direction and learning from its past, Stage West is an exciting new chapter in the building’s history that will hopefully lead to many more memorable shows in the years to come.

NEPA Scene will publish a full interview with Masterson next week. Until then, watch recent NEPA Scene Podcast interviews with opening night bands Send Request and Stay Loud below: