In case you missed it! Thanks @evanparker for uploading to YouTube. Concert review coming at the end of the week.
If you’ve blinked recently, you may have missed an addition to the Three Floors of Ska show going this weekend. In what’s turning out to be the biggest New England show of the year, The Toasters will be headlining a massive lineup going to the Middle East in Cambridge. Three Floors of Ska is not a new show concept. It started years ago at The Knitting Factory, and has since ventured out to L.A., and now the East Coast.
Although the Middle East in Cambridge only has two floors, they will both be overflowing with ska musicians from the nine bands performing. The Toasters have plenty of local support. Boston favorites The Void Union will have special guests Dave Hillyard (of the Slackers) and King Django. First wave ska band Guns of Navarone, Dub/Punk band Destroy Babylon, and Ska/Punk band Brunt of It will also be playing, alongside Connecticut’s Tip The Van, fresh off the Van’s Warped Tour. Other bands include Royal City Riot, Mile 21, and Mr. Kowalski. The tour continues to Atlanta on October 24th.
Come out to the biggest ska show around, Saturday September 25th at Middle East in Cambridge, MA. Doors are at 7:30pm, show is 18+ and tickets are $13.
Three Floors of Ska MySpace
Ska, since the 1950′s, has been an ever changing beast, swallowing fashion trends, political messages, and entire genres of music to grow into what it is today. As the scene expands, history has shown us that nothing is left behind. First wave ska is still alive, unchanged for 50 years. The styles of reggae, rock, punk, jazz, and countless others have left their mark, making it the massive, wondrous, all-encompassing genre that it is. New England and the east coast represent ska finely, with its own sprouting local bands, cover bands keeping classics alive, and large tours that come through the area.
What’s my point, you ask? This site is too large for one person to handle. If the passing weeks with no updates have been any clue as to the state of things at NewEnglandSka.com, my point-blank asking for for your help should be enough. Help this site represent the New England Ska scene with pride.
What can you do?
-Submit Blog Posts – Have news for your band or one you know? Find a tour that’s coming through your city? Have thoughts on a recent album release? Do a short write-up and send it to contact@NewEnglandSka.com. Send in a few good ones in a row and I will make you a site admin.
-Send in Band Profiles – Contact your favorite bands and tell them about the site. Ask them to send in a profile with a short bio, some links, and a picture, email it to contact@NewEnglandSka.com.
-Find Ska Shows – Any respectable ska fan can name a few venues where ska bands play, and a few bands that do shows. Upload those shows on the upload form.
-Street Team – Litter the streets and bars with NewEnglandSka.com stickers. Do it while repping a NewEnglandSka.com t-shirt. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Email contact@NewEnglandSka.com for details.
Do your part! Feel free to ask any questions or submit any other ideas you have as to how the site can grow.
What a summer! Another huge Ska tour is in full swing as legends The English Beat blast through New England in three days. All three dates include English ska band Bad Manners and solo ska act Chris Murray. As a prominent Two Tone Era band, The English Beat will undoubtedly be playing some hits from their early 80s releases, with frontman Dave Wakeling as the only original member that tours with the U.S. version of the band. Other members who will be performing are drummer Rhythmm Epkins, Wayne Lothian on Bass, Antonee First Class, Raynier Jacildo on keys, and tenor sax player Matt Morrish. All members are also credited with vocals on the band’s MySpace page
The three New England dates are:
Aug 18 2010 8pm Showcase Live – Foxboro, MA
Aug 19 2010 8pm Toads Place – New Haven, CT
Aug 20 2010 8pm Lupos Heartbreak Hotel – Providence, RI
Tickets are around $25 and are still available for all dates.
If you haven’t been paying attention to what’s going on with the Foundation Rockers tributes, tonight is the night to wake up. The group is composed of the Foundation Rockers rhythm section with rotating horn and second rhythm players from a variety of reggae/ska bands including The Skatalites, Hot Like Fire, Guns of Navarone, and Soulshot. The featured singers are drawn from a larger pool of well known and underground reggae/ska bands in the Massachusetts area.
The group sold out the Western Front in Boston with their tribute to ska originator Prince Buster, then moved south to Providence for a second showing. Tonights show in Allston is a tribute to Alton Ellis, also known as Mr. Soul of Jamaica, or The Godfather of Rocksteady. Alton had been in the music industry his whole life until he died in 2008, working first at Studio One with Coxsone Dodd, then moving into his own studio in Jamaica, producing Rocksteady music in the short period in which it was popular.
I highly recommend you arrive early to Harper’s Ferry. Doors open at 8pm, check out the DJ’s and authentic Jamaican food that will be served.
Here’s some more info from the Facebook Event Invite
Come help pay homage to this legend of reggae music with Foundation Rockers 10-piece all-star band with performances by Dion Knibb, Jahriffe, Journalist Bandoo, Michael Gabriel, Riki Rocksteady, Bob Baboom and Helen and more! With backing vocals by Tai Awolaju of Boo City and Ada Sushaunna of Trinty:Children of man. Hosted by Boston’s veteran selector Echo the Velvet Touch with early juggling by Roots and Razors Sound and special guests!
The newest incarnation of the reggae punk trio Sublime has risen from the dead, after some drama and a couple lawsuits have kept its name active among fans since the beginning of this year, but its music buried. The second leg of the tour including Sublime with Rome (Rome referring to Rome Ramirez, the groups new frontman) and the writers of this summer’s new catchy pop-reggae hit, The Dirty Heads. Their single, “Lay Me Down” was co-written and is performed with Rome, and although it has gotten airplay on nearly every station this summer, I think the tune will change a bit come September. Check out the video below.
The tour featuring both bands is at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT tonight, and The Bank of America Pavilion in Boston on August 19th. Tickets are around $30, and still available for both dates.
Last weekend, I was able to catch the legendary Skatalites at the Ocean Mist in Matunuck, RI. If you haven’t been, you should head down for a show while there’s still summer left to speak of. They have some great ska and reggae acts planned for the rest of the month, including Badfish, the RI-based Sublime tribute playing tonight, and reggae groups Inner Visions and the Mintones playing Thursday nights to close the month. The bar boasts an amazing outdoor deck, which runs the length of the bar and reaches out over the water to give the illusion of a cruise ship, only with better bands.
The Skatalites were a great fit for the crowd, a mix of young and middle aged people filling the front of the house, cascading from the heedless dancers in the front to those at the back of the bar carefully thinking every note to leave a soloist’s horn.
The band was equally eclectic, a pleasant surprise for my first time seeing them. The youngest of them, and clearly the newest member of the Skatalites, was Azemebo “Zim” Audu, playing tenor sax with a very fast, technical, straightahead jazz style. The other horn players, trumpet player Kevin Batchelor and trombone player Andrae Murchison mixed their extensive technical abilities with a much cooler, more hip ska style. Founding Skatalite alto sax player Lester Sterling remained the crowd favorite, and acted as the bandleader and crowd hype man, although I’m not sure how much of the crowd understood him. Kevin also sang lead vocals on the songs that required it, which were few. The rhythm section was held together by the rock solid Lloyd Knibb, who has been the drummer and the face of the Skatalites since 1964. Pushing 80 years old, Lloyd played the set with a dark, confident look that commanded the respect of his fellow performers and fans. His style changed perfectly from the upbeat ska to the slower reggae tunes with the ease of someone who has been the master of his craft for decades. The rest of the rhythm section was impressive, bass player Val Douglas, guitarist Nattie Frenchie, keyboard player Cameron Greenlee, and aux. percussionist Bob Heffernan, keeping the sound alive like it was Kingston in the late 60s.
The early part of the setlist was what you would expect. Classic, instrumental Skatalites tunes, just fast enough to keep the crowd moving in step. As the night progressed, they stepped up the energy a notch with a few of their more well known hits, including Rockfort Rock, Phoenix City, and the famous Guns of Navarone. They also included some reggae/ska classics to get the crowd moving for the finale, including Take Five, Rivers of Babylon, and A Message to You Rudy.
After leaving the stage for some added excitement, keyboard player and manager Ken Stewart came back to indroduce the members of the band. Once all on stage and playing, there was a pause. The musicians all froze in their places. The crowd stopped dancing and even speaking. Then, with some direction from Kevin the trumpet player, the crowd and band began to chant… 10… 9… 8… 7… 6… 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… FREEDOM! The party started back up immediately, with enough power to squeeze Freedom Sound, Dick Tracy, and El Pussycat into the danced-out crowd. After the show, the band members happily came off stage to greet their fans face to face for pictures and some co-mingling. The Skatalites are on a tour through the U.S. right now, see where at http://www.Skatalites.com.
Tonight at The Ocean Mist in Matunuck, RI, 10pm, $20. The Skatalites
The Skatalites are a ska band from Jamaica. They played initially between 1963 and 1965 and recorded many of their best known songs n the period, including “Guns of Navarone” in the period, including “Guns of Navarone” They also played on records by Bob Marley They also played on records by Bob Marley, Prince Buster and many other Jamaican artists who recorded during the period. They reformed in 1983 and have played together ever since. Prince Buster and many other Jamaican artists who recorded during the period. They reformed n 1983 and have played together ever sinc
About.com is a much more useful website than anyone gives them credit for. In a post-wiki, supersatured online information world, it is refreshing to find free, well written articles. In the music section, these articles cover a huge range of topics – marketing techniques, social networking tips, recording basics, music theory and history, etc.
Stumbling through these articles brought me to post called Ska 101. In a hilariously dorky, suprisingly informative, and completely serious tone, About.com tackles the issues of history, key figures, styles, and so, so much more of the ska world. So, here goes – Ska music in one page or less. Pay special attention to the ‘Rude Boys’ and ‘Skanking’ Sections. Comments Welcome!
Ska Music Basics:
Genres of music are seldom invented in someone’s basement, generally they sort of fade into existence. Such is the case with ska music, a genre of Jamaican music which comes from mento and calypso music, combined with American jazz and R&B, which could be heard on Jamaican radio coming from high-powered stations in New Orleans and Miami. Ska became popular in the early 1960s.
The Sound of Ska:
Ska music was made for dancing. The music is upbeat, quick and exciting. Musically, ska can be characterized with a drumbeat on the 2nd and 4th beats (in 4/4 time) and with the guitar hitting the 2nd, 3rd and 4th beats. Traditional ska bands generally featured bass, drums, guitars, keyboards and horns (with sax, trombone and trumpet being most common).
Clement “Coxsone” Dodd is one of the most important figures in ska history, though he was not a musician. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Jamaica was about to receive its independence from Great Britain. Coxsone, a disc jockey, recognized the country’s need for national pride and identity, and began recording popular bands in his now-legendary studio, Studio One. These records became wildly popular in Jamaica.
The “rude boys” were a Jamaican subculture of the 1960s. Rude Boys were generally unemployed, impoverished Jamaican teens who were hired by sound system operators (mobile DJs) to crash each other’s street dances. These interactions often led to further violence and the Rude Boys frequently formed feuding gangs. Fashionable clothing for rude boys was American gangster wear. The Rude Boy culture became a huge source for ska lyrics.
Skanking is the style of dancing that goes along with ska music. It has remained popular among ska fans since the beginning, and it’s a relatively easy dance to do. Basically, the legs do “the running man”, bending the knees and running in place to the beat. The arms are bent at the elbows, with hands balled into fists, and punch outward, alternating with the feet (left foot, right hand, etc.).
Traditional Ska Musicians and Bands:
Among the artists that made early ska music so popular were Desmond Dekker, The Skatalites, Byron Lee & the Dragonaires, The Melodians and Toots & the Maytals. Many ska bands also later played reggae music, which came about later in the 1960s.
Second-Wave Ska, or “Two-Tone” Ska:
Two-tone (or 2 Tone) ska is the second wave of ska music, created in England in the 1970s. In two-tone ska, traditional ska was fused with the (then) brand new style of music known as punk rock. The name “2 Tone” refers to a record label that put out these records. The bands were often racially mixed, with black and white members.
Two-Tone Ska Musicians and Bands:
Popular two-tone ska bands include The Specials, Bad Manners, The Higsons, The Beat and The Bodysnatchers.
Third-wave Ska refers to American ska bands that were influenced more by two-tone ska than by traditional ska music. These bands range in their sound from nearly traditional ska to mostly punk. In the early to mid-1990s, third-wave ska saw a major growth in popularity, with many bands having several chart-topping hits.
Third-Wave Ska Musicians and Bands:
Among the most popular third-wave ska bands are The Toasters, Operation Ivy, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, No Doubt, Reel Big Fish, Fishbone, Less Than Jake, Save Ferris, Sublime and The Aquabats.
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