Ska in Aurora
Charley FitzWhiskey's is a great venue to watch a band. It may not be the best place to dance, as it is quite small, but if there aren't too many people pushing, it is a fun venue to see a show.
After seeing True Trout more and more, the familiarity of their music is starting to make its impact on me. It is similar to how it took me awhile to start liking The Heatskores. Like The Heatskores, these guys are going from the first note, and at such a small venue it is hard not to get into it.
The Donuts were amazing on this night. Rico (ex-trumpet player) even made an appearance. He was bang on, and his solo was just something to watch. This was my second show seeing Yvonne in the band, and the tenor sax just compliments their sound nicely. I think it was a smart move adding her into the band, and I can see this band being around for a long time if they want to be.
The Flatliners closed out the night again (this line-up was similar to the show a couple of weeks ago). They too, were great to see in such a small venue. It was nice to see some of their hometown fans make it out to the show. One thing that keeps on baffling me is how Chris can sing so fast. Sometimes it is almost too fast for my liking, but kudos to him for being able to pull it off.
The first holiday themed ska show I did was a hoot and I always wanted to help put on another. When the opportunity to hook up with the legendary SKAFACE came up on the radar this past x-mess, SKA-LA-LA-LA #2 was born! The first SKA-LA-LA-LA featured JFK and the Conspirators and the Royal Winnipeg Porn Orchestra.. Both bands did amazing, memorable shows back then so the pressure was on to repeat.
Keepin' 6 was great and played with tons of energy. But it was a short set. Maybe 30 minutes at the most. I will never tire of hearing these guys lay it all out on the line. Highlights included Johnstone Drummer Dude going up and doing guest vocals on one track. Ghetto ska is where it is at!
Skratch 3 brought out some extra hornage and a steel drum. Adding to the sonic treat was a ska take on Jingle Bells! Yah mon! Fantastic fun is what they are all about and i still can't help but think that they are the next Madness. Big things could be on the horizon for them and their new disc! But they played about 3 songs too long for my liking. I couldn't help but think that they should have traded some of the extra added time for some more Keepin' 6. Perhaps that is what I really was in the mood for.
Skaface was the dancefloor packer. The alcohol and tunes had absorbed fully into the crowd by this point and Skaface fed off the crowd's enthusiasm and vice versa. The addictive ska and humour was everywhere and the entire room was filled with good vibes. Still considering Skaface for my wedding band. I wonder how much they will cost? I just can imagine the In-laws dancing to this! How sweaty can the groom get on his wedding day? Hmmmm.... but I digress. Man, its great that this band is back in action! For me, I had to look no further than my soaked clothing for proof that they are top-notch. The debut of the horn section blew me away and took their songs to a newer, higher level which I didn't think beforehand was possible. All in alll, a great evening of ska and good times and afterwards, the grub downstairs didn't disappoint either!
Can't wait to see all of these bands again at the Ontario Ska Fest! Bring it!
Donuts CD Release
Apparently this was the first show at the Optimist Club in a long time. It was also, sort of, a cd release show for The Donuts. Unfortunately, the sound at this venue was absolutely horrid.
Exaggerated Truths was one of the first bands. I felt very ripped off as they were setting up they were playing "ska chords". They definitely weren't ska at all. Doesn't mean they were bad, just set me up expecting a totally different sound.
The Agency went on next and played a very energetic set. Since Newmarket is a bit closer to their hometown of Barrie, there was some of their fans in the crowd. They got a bit of the crowd moving. They were having the most amount of fun I had ever seen them display before on-stage.
Septic Tank Disasters picked up where The Agency left off and got more people moving/grooving to their beat. This was only my second time seeing the band. I enjoyed them as much as I did the last time I saw them.
The Donuts played a great set of course. I danced, had a great time, what else can I say?
True Trout changed the tone 180 degrees, from the reggae/ska of The Donuts and STD's to a Op Ivy type punk/ska. It is a shame the sound was so bad, as it made it hard for me to get into their set.
The Flatliners stole the last of what energy the crowd had left. They were great as well. A great finish to a great night.
The Johnstones vs Keepin' 6 II
Tonight was a special night for Toronto ska fans. It was a double cd release show. Buda Funk Munk and The Johnstones/Keepin' 6 split. The show was really packed as well...which seems to be happening at a lot of recent all ages shows.
This was my first time seeing Buda Funk Munk with their new bass player. They played one of the better sets I have seem them perform. The crowd was really into a few of their songs, and weren't so into a few of the other ones. The Leftover Crack cover got everyone out on the dancefloor.
It also seemed like it had been awhile since I had seen Ill Scarlett. They brought a lot of their following to the show. It is pretty crazy to see a full crowd singing along, when I've been to shows in Guelph where there is just a small bunch there to watch them. I unfortunately missed their cd release, but they sold out the Opera House, which is a huge accomplishment for any band, let alone a local.
The crowd was not surprisingly into The Johnstones. They just seem to be winning more and more fans over in the Toronto area. I look forward to seeing them (along with Keepin' 6, and Buda) at Skafest in February!
The crowd was so full of energy, and Keepin' 6 satisfied the last bit of hunger the crowd had for some more ska. They finished off the night really nicely. I was glad I was able to catch 2 of the cd release shows by them.
The Johnstones vs Keepin' 6
It had been far too long since I had seen Green Division. I think it was in the summer around July. It had been so long I forgot how much I enjoyed them. They played really well, and definitely got the crowd going. You can tell they are a bunch of guys that love to have fun, especially on stage. The only negative point would be their bananas they brought ending up on the dance floor.
It also had been awhile since I had seen The Flatliners. Not as long as Green Divsion, but long enough. The Flatliners picked up right where Green Division left off, and the crowd went right along with them. Although they have been signed to Stomp Records, their success hasn't given these boys any attitude at all. They are still as hard as they were as an unsigned band. This is shown in their live performance.
Keepin' 6 was on third. One of the bands that everyone was there to see on this night. They played one of the better shows I had seen them play. Just a lot of energy going around that night, that I'm sure the bands were feeding off one another. These boys will only get better with time, and I am already looking forward to their next EP/CD.
The Johnstones took it up another notch to finish off the night. High energy, crazy antics, and had the crowd singing along to their songs. This is as hometown as they can get nowadays with The Spot closing down but that didn't keep the fans from coming. Action and Getting Paid are two of the songs on the Keepin' 6/Johnstones split, and the kids are already asking them to play them first. There is no surprise that they boys get the great draw that they do.
Inner City Fanatics
This was only my second time seeing the Inner City Fanatics. It is a shame these guys don't play more often, as I just know they would get a good following going with more performances. They are the type of band that have a catchy beat with tasteful horn lines that just makes you want to groove or dance along. With pulling influences from many places, their brand of ska is just as diverse. Covering first wave ska songs to playing their own third wave material, you just can't go wrong. I had a great night, and can't wait to see them again.
Much thanks to Paul and his girlfriend for driving me all the way home, saving me a 2.5 hour trek on the Vomit Comet.
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