Unsensored steals the show
The night before this show was suppose to be put on I was browsing band web sites, and figured that for $6 I couldn't go wrong with seeing Unsensored.
I must say that I was much more impressed with Unsensored at this show than I was at the last show. I can't really explain it, but they seemed more into than at the last show, which made me more into their set. It also helped that the rest of the bands weren't very good. Cheyenne, the lead singer, had a greater stage presence. She seemed much more comfortable and confident. I could be wrong, but I think she might be the type of person that is not a fan of public speaking but has an easier time singing in front of people. If that is the case I have all the respect in the world for her (or anyone else for that matter), as it takes a LOT to get up on stage in front of a crowd like that. I know that I wouldn't be able to do that, heck I hate flyering as I am just shy in that type of circumstance.
Other than a few small mistakes, they put on a good set. I look forward to seeing this band develop more and more as they get the respect they deserve.
Peg City Skank
I was really looking forward to this concert as it was going to be nice to see what else Winnipeg has to offer than the Afterbeat.
So I end up showing up an hour after the doors have been opened, but I don't think I missed too much. I walked into the Donuts covering General Rudie. To my surprise there was no one on the dance floor, even a particular person who claims they are General Rudie's biggest fan. I was impressed with the Donuts set, and can't wait to hear what these guys sound like in a year or two. Can't really say I was a fan of them messing up Married Girl by the Slackers THREE TIMES, but with Ben's (from Makeshift) help they were able to get through the song eventually.
Next up was One Size Fits Most. I don't know about you but to me that sounds like a perfect slogan for a condom company (maybe it is, but if it is I swear I did not know beforehand). Note to Brendan: I have this crazy idea for your band's web site, please contact me if you want it done. For those of you that do not know, Brendan, the lead singer of this band, is the promoter of pretty much all the ska shows in Toronto in conjunction with his company Makeshift Promotions. The band wasn't half-bad. Although the band could use some more practice, they had a great time performing which I think is crucial for the crowd to get into the band's set. I could be mistaken but I think there was more people on the dance floor for this band than any of the others. I look forward to hearing this band more...hopefully after having more than 3 practices in 3 months. The ladies, and some of the guys enjoyed the bass player stripping down to his boxers, and let met tell you, that takes a brave, brave man to do such a thing.
The Makeshift Heroes, although a band member short, put on yet another good set. This band is a testament to the fact that hard work will pay off in the quality of its live performances. I got to hear "I Got's to Know" for the second time tonight and I am starting to really like that song. I have always been a fan of the slower ska songs, but this is right up there for my favourite slow ska songs. I just wish I had a digital copy of it. To carry along the theme of semi-nudity Branko, the bass player and one hell of a dancer, stripped down to his boxers as well.
The Barrymores finished off this ska show nicely. I did not know much of their material, but I found it easy for me to get into their set. I usually end up listen to most of a band's set instead of dancing when hearing them for the first time, but since their music was that good I felt just standing there listening would have been a waste. They played Ocean, one of their hits songs, and had a vote to play the Clash or the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, but ended up playing both. They even had a dancing contest where they gave a cd away to the winner. These guys have a show in Oshawa on the 5th and I highly recommend that if you can make it to the show that you sould attend. When the cost of a ticket to a ska show is less than the cost of a movie you can't go wrong, especially when a ska show is so much more enjoyable than the crap being put out on the big screen.
Ska Saves the Boobies...
This was the second Rockers for Knockers show that I made it out to. It would have been nice to have gone to the Caledon show, but I did not have time or a means to attend the show.
I went to this show excited to see Unsensored. I have heard their EP and was really impressed by their work. Unfortunately their live set didn't live up to the EP in my eyes. They weren't bad, but they didn't seem polished enough as they sound on their EP. I think a few more shows under their belt will go a long way in forming them into a live band to be reckoned with. I was also disappointed that they only played one song off of their EP, I was really looking forward to hearing all of those songs live, instead of just Calfornia. Other than me being picky they played a decent set and I'll look forward to seeing them perform live again.
The Cheap Suits put on a good set as always. I was a little disappointed with the crowd though, not just for the Cheap Suits, but for all the bands. It definitely wasn't a dancing or emotional crowd but at least they came out to the show and supported the breast cancer cause. There was few who were skanking, but those that were, were enjoying themselves. This was the band's last show until Frosh week for several colleges and universities, but unfortunately those shows can only be attended by the students of the respective schools.
Rockers for Knockers
This show was part of the Rockers for Knockers tour. Although I'm a leg man, I can't really complain about a show that is about the saving of women's breasts ;) Crowned King would be headlining the shows for the tour, while the Toronto bill had two ska bands on the bill. Two bands who I have seen quite a bit this summer; Green Division and Makeshift Heroes.
I really enjoyed Green Divison's set and thought they put on one of their best sets that I have seen. It was the trumpet player's last show before he heads off to school, and I for one can say that he will be missed. I was disappointed that more of the crowd wasn't out dancing for all of their set instead of just the final song or two, but it was nice that they showed some respect by at least being close to the stage. These guys set the stage for Makeshift.
Makeshift also put on one of the best sets that I have ever heard. One thing that I have noticed this summer is that they have a loyal following, and it is no surprise why. After their set, there is countless people that come up and give the band members hugs. There is just a sense of genuine friendship between their fans and the band, and it is something more bands should strive for in my opinion. I guess it gives me some hope that the world isn't as fucked up as it appears. Thanks for putting on a rocking set, and can't wait to see them perform with the Barrymores.
Another free show at the Shoe
Another one 19+ show with one ska band on the bill at the Horseshoe Tavern. Tonight my ears were treated to the Pylons. It is known that the Pylons have been working on a new album, and have a much different sound to them than from their Successful first album.
Although ska purists will say that the new sound by the Pylons is not even ska, they definitely do have ska elements in their music, and do have songs that would be classified as ska. I like their new sound, but must say I definitely prefer their first album. Not to say that their new material is bad, because in my opinion it is far from bad. The band sounds like they have been together far longer than they have been, and that can be credited to the hard work the band puts in. Although the crowd may have been scared to step onto the dance floor, they put on a good set, and allowed me to skank by myself. You guys should definitely check them out on the 11th with the Planet Smashers and the Toasters.
Warm up for the Warped Tour
An expected small crowd came out, but the Cheap Suits' die hard fans were enjoying themselves as always.
Not much to say about the show other than it was one of their "lighter" sounding sets, which fit really nicely with the heavy punk bands that sandwiched them (that was sarcasm, in case you missed it).
Kudos to the boys for playing a show before their big chance at the Warped Tour.
You can't get any "Cheap"er
This show had only one ska band performing, and so after a long day at work and just staying downtown I thought I'd call it a night after the Cheap Suits' set.
It is known that not many people over the age of 18 attend the Cheap Suits except a select few dedicated fans, such as myself. This is not to say that the Cheap Suits don't have a huge listening audience in the 20-60 age bracket (yes 60, that is not a typo), it is just that they do not come out to their shows. With this show being free and geared towards their age level, a lot of fans that normally do not show up to their shows came out. I know that it was greatly appreciated by the band and could see a similar show happening again because of the turn out and interest they got.
The Cheap Suits put on a great set. The fans got their money's worth and then some...haha (alright no more jokes for me). Seriously though, the band put on a great show for their fans that normally don't get to see them live, which is unfortunate, as I feel part of the Cheap Suits listening experience is the energy they put into every show. Combined this with the fact that there is no other way to listen two great songs by them, Vicious and Two Tone. So if you are looking for a night of fun that is cheaper than going to see a movie, I'd highly recommend you check out one of their shows. Keep on skanking.
Toots takes on Toronto
Hello Ska Music Lovers,
I didn't make it downtown early enough to catch any of the Arsenals set so...moving on.
About two monthes ago Toots played two songs live on SNL and I thought that that was the closest I was ever going to get to seeing that legend play...imagine my surprise when a good friend of mine called me up to tell me about the show.
I got down to Nathan Phillips about twenty min before The Maytals hit the stage and the square was packed. People from all walks of life were on hand to see the event. Some celebrities were spotted amongst the crowd. Local faves The Next Best Thing came down to check out an undeniable influence of theirs, Greg and Sean from Jersey were in the crowd and Mista D, frontman of the Salads was seen with his new lady enjoying the tunes...enough star gazing...on to the show.
I was about thirty rows back and had a great view of the stage. Toots may be getting older but you can tell that he still loves to play. His dance moves will never land him a spot on tour as a b-boy dancer but the obvious passion he has for his music is very moving. The band sounded tight and they ripped through the hits. I can now say that I have seen Toots and The Maytals play Pressure Drop and Monkey Man live...they also played my second favorite Maytals song of all time...Never You Change.
While he may not have the voice or range that he once had Toots still had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand. The crowd danced and clapped and sang as loud as they could (not always in tune but...hey the show was free so...can't really complain). The only downfall of the gig was the sound. The mix was terrible and they had mic problems all night...the large concrete buildings surrounding the stage really didn't help the sound technician at all but really the bass and the drums were far too loud in the mix.
Everyone seemed to have a great time and we all owe the organisers of the Irie Music Festival a big thank you for bringing this reggae legend to our fair city.
Until next time,
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