Originally published in September, 1997.
To start out I have to mention the absolute craziest thing that I have ever seen at a ska show. I was at a King Chango show last night (really good Latin/carribean ska). I was walking up to the venue when this Japanese tour group, walking like an army of ants, gets in line at the door. None of them had tickets or even any clue what ska is. This was made bloody apparent by their total lack of cordination on the dance floor. It was obvious that they had a very good time flailing their appendages. Hey, whatever floats your boat I guess... About a month ago I was at a 71 Scent, Animal Chin, Apocalypse Hoboken, Blue Meanies show. I'm just going to come out and say what I think about 71 Scent. They suck. Animal Chin is a solid ska/punk band, and I'm pretty sure that I will pick up the CD ("All the Kids Love It", Kingpin Records) at their release party, but I just have to say that this was not one of their better shows. Apocalypes Hoboken is a terrible punk band from Chicago. I don't have any clue how they got on a show billed as a ska fest. They weren't even a very good punk band, but that may be because I saw the Strike the night before and my standards were high. We all know about the Blue Meanies. These guys are either on or they're off. They were on that night and pretty much made the show... A few days ago I saw a show featuring The Secret Society, Eastern Standard Time, Slow Gherkin, and The Jinkies. Secret Society is really talented for their age and their CD ("Can I Borrow Your Beard?", Fight Twelve Records) is really good. I particularilly enjoy the cover of "If You Wanna Be Happy." You know, "If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife..." The only problem I have with them is that I've seen them a couple times and the gloss has sorta faded off. Eastern Standard Time, featuring members of The Pietasters and The Checkered Cabs, is a really good traditional/rocksteady instrumental act. I highly suggest checking them out. I have some hesitations about Slow Gherkin. They're a bunch of high school kids, I think, from California. They put on a reasonably good act, but they're like the Secret Society. I've seen it before. They are one of those classic ska opening acts. The Jinkies are one of those bands that I've sworn allegiance to until my dying day. They play upbeat, jazzy, third wave with a couple rocksteady tunes thrown in. I love the two female vocalists. They have a CD coming out in October, and my sources tell me that its really good... For those of you who miss the good old days, like about a year ago, you can pick up the Slapstick anthology (Asian Man Records). I don't care what you may say, this is the ska/punk band to compare other ska/punk bands with. For those of you who really miss the good old days, about two years ago, you can pick up the Pacers "Brand New Day" Seven inch (Mr. White Records). Good luck finding the CD. You'll have better muck finding Hoffa's body... The Insyderz are a skacore band from Michigan. The production is rather mediocre but the music is good and the disc is worth a listen. Its not for everyone though. If you know about the Insyderz, you know what I'm talking about... I said that I'd discuss the new Voodoo Glow Skulls album. I didn't buy it after hearing some of it. Pretty terrible... Okay, here's the deal with Warped Tour. The punk bands all played off this total "punk in a package" vibe. It got old really quickly considering it was being sold to a bunch of dumb jock turned punks cause its cool fans. The ska bands made the show. Hepcat was by far the most fun I've had dancing to a band in the past two years. I think it was the outdoor show plus traditional ska thing that really got me. The Suicide Machines played a sloppy yet extremely enjoyable set. The Bosstones were okay. I've seen them better anyway. Royal Crown Revue was excellent (if you like the Cherry Poppin' Daddies then check them out). Less Than Jake continues to amaze me with their unpredicatble antics. The vocalist, Chris, was wearing a baseball uniform, which was appropriate since the show was being held in a ball park. Deviating from the ska for a second, check out Social Distortion before they need lifecall. They were by far the best punk band present... There's just one last thing I want to say in closing. To all you ska newbies out there, I'm talking to you little kiddies that have seen Skankin' Pickle and now think yourself to be ska experts. If there's someone older and wiser looking than yourself in the crowd not danicing, don't give them looks like they don't know what they're doing. They've done their dues to the scene and will care about the music after the trend dies... Peace.