Ska, Reggae, and Jazz
So I've been wanting to check these guys out for a couple of months now. DJ Skip passed along a link in November I believe, and their monthly shows just never seem to work out. Thankfully, their January show did. Their 20 second samples of There's a Place, Where Did Your Love Go?, and Come Back Darling just aren't enough to satisfy my craving for good ska.
The show was at a Spanish restaurant in the west end. The dim lighting, and jazz music that The Liquidaires played made for a very romantic setting. If you ever wanted to take a significant other on a date, where they actually played ska music, this would be the type of show to attend. You could have a nice dinner, with a bottle of wine, and even dance for a bit.
Three things musically really stood out for me. Not to say the other musicians weren't good, but I was just blown away by these three. The lead singer has such a powerful voice, one wonders where she stores it in her petite body. Secondly, I had never witness someone play the tambourine, and don't think I've ever seen a person shake their arm as fast as he was. Thirdly, the saxophonist was arguably one of the best I have heard live. Even gives Yvo a run for her money ;)
The Liquidaires are releasing their CD on February 26th, and I highly recommend that people should attend. It is pay what you can, and at the same venue. Look at my links page for a link to it on Mapquest.
Makeshift Sells Out...
This review is being put up far later than it should be.
I had seen The Donuts back in August I believe at The Barrymores show. They showed a lot of promise then, and it is nice to see what 5 months has done to this band. They were absolutely unbelievable. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to hear some recorded material by this band. I'd be tempted to say they were one of the best bands of the night, they were that good (even with my love affair with The Makeshift Heroes and Cheap Suits). It almost seems unfair they are so talented for their age. As long as this band is still together, they shouldn't ever have a problem finding shows. Can't wait to see them again at Skafest.
It is no secret that The Makeshift Heroes and Cheap Suits are friends, so it was no real surprise that the Cheap Suits was one of the opening bands. One of the best shows I've seen them put on. They fed off the energy of the crowd, and the crowd was into them (which they were for all bands on this night). Although I saw them on the 7th in Guelph, they didn't have the organ with them, and played more of their older tunes. It was good to hear some of their newer material, as I haven't heard it in such a long time. They announced they will be playing their entire new EP in their set (no, it is not getting released on this night) on March 3 at the Reverb when they open for Pepper. Considering they have only played one song from that EP live ever, I will definitely be attending that show.
After not seeing The Hebrew School Dropouts for a year, I got to see them 3 weeks later. They were also releasing their CD on this night, and have been listening to it religiously since the show. It shares my CD player's space with The Makeshift Heroes' disc as well. I was also surprised I even got mentioned in the liner notes, so thank you :). They played as well as they did on the 8th, and can't wait to see them again after hearing their CD. Being able to listen to a band's material over and over allows me to really get into their set when I see them next. When a band is full of energy, are having tons of fun, and getting the crowd into it, it is hard to not enjoy it yourself.
Although the crowd was tired, and the place was hot and hard to breathe, everyone who had been dancing all night, found the energy in them to pay the respect The Makeshift Heroes deserve by dancing for their entire set. It is no surprise Toronto loves The Makeshift Heroes, but any band that can bring out over 300 people for a show, and then 3 weeks later, at the same venue, with one of the same bands, and sell it out with 425+ people says something about their loyalty in their audience, and the talent of the band. That many people wouldn't religiously come out to every show by a particular band if they didn't have the talent. They showed that talent tonight. The last two times I saw these guys have been the best shows I've seen the Heroes put on. They are starting to play more shows all over Ontario, so watch for them in your hometown.
So if any of you don't have the new discs by The Hebrew School Dropouts or The Makeshift Heroes, do your ears, and CD player a favour and pick them up at the next available opportunity.
Mother F'cking Heatskores
Okay, I've been really bad about not posting the review to this show, but there are a few reasons why it got delayed even more than I wanted it to be (my birthday, and my internet not working for a day).
The first band up was The PG-13's who reside in our nation's capital. Although I would consider my punk judgement skills to be a little lacking, they seemed above average. I liked what I heard and felt sorry that more people where there to hear them.
Next up was Phat Bastard. A band I had seen only once before but have been wanting to see again for the longest time. They seemed to play less ska than the last time I heard them, but they played with a lot of energy, and played extremely well. I just really seemed to notice their stong horn section. Just seemed to give an energize sound. I will look forward to seeing these guys again when they open for Skaface.
Another band from Ottawa played third; The Creeps. By now the venue was a lot more full and people seemed to be really enjoying these guys play. I did as well. I can't really comment on what who they sounded like, as it has been awhile since the show, and lack of music knowledge. I'd check these guys out again if they come back.
The Heatskores finished the night off. I'm starting to like these guys more and more with each time that I see them. They are extremely energetic, really get into their set, and always put on a good show. Although normally I'm not a fan of heavier music, their sound is starting to grow on me. It is no surprise these guys have fans all over Ontario. Watch for them at Skafest!
Toronto's Finest Local Ska...
My first show back in Toronto, in a long time. Almost too long really. But this show was THE show to make up for me being away at school. With 5 of the 6 bands being ska, I knew I was in for a good night. 68 Pornomags opened the show, a metal, or heavy punk band if I remember correctly. Pretty good, but I lack the music knowledge of that genre to really give any input on how good they played.
Fresh Produce played second and were better than I was expecting. They seemed like they hadn't been together more than a year or two, and I feel will be better with a few more years experience under their belt. Weren't horrible, but didn't blow me away either. Covered a Planet Smashers song, and didn't make everyone get down to the ground while they did a countdown for everyone to get crazy. I think I can only truly appreciate that song if played by the Smashers (no offense to any band that covers it).
One Size Fits Most was a billion times better than when I saw them at the Barrymores show. It sounded like they had actually practiced...lol. An energy filled set, that blew my expectations out of the water. I'd really like to see these guys again on this talent level. Unfortunately it was the trumpet player's last show. One thing I really enjoy about this band is that they have fun up there, something that is sometimes lacking (or at least appears to be) in other bands.
I was really hoping I'd get into Buda Funk Munk's set, but I just couldn't seem to enjoy it as much as the other bands. I can't really seem to explain it, as the crowd was digging it, they guys could play their instruments well, but something wasn't their for me. My only guess would be familiarity to their music. Definitely won't write off this band just yet, as they are talented. One thing I felt was lacking was stage presence. At least they had more than the Pietasters.
I FINALLY got my Makeshift Heroes fix that I had be in dire need for the past few months. The Makeshift Heroes and the Cheap Suits are two bands you should see at the bare minimum every two months. If I had my way I'd pay them to follow me around playing ska all the time, but I lack the funds and power. Was there really any surprise that these guys were going to put on an amazing set? One of the tightest bands out there, that put on a great show for their fans. Their following was out in full force, which is always a pleasure to see. I don't think I've ever seen as many people skanking at the same time at the 360 than I did on this night for The Makeshift Heroes. I can't wait to hear their new CD. Some lucky fans got a free copy that was thrown into the crowd. Lastly, they covered "Have the time" by the Slackers. Couldn't be any better than hearing the Slackers perform it themselves.
The Hebrew School Dropouts finished off the night with a great set. I have unfortunately only seen these guys once before (back in February of last year at the Chris Murray show). I don't think I've had the pleasure of seeing a band with so many members in it (maybe the Skatalites). I'm a huge fan of brass instruments, and the more the merrier if you ask me. These guys use it to their advantage. These guys are another band that just are fucking up there for a good time, to play their asses off for anyone out there dancing for them. They did a cover of "Under the Sea" from the hit movie the Little Mermaid. Can't really say I was expecting to hear a Disney song as a ska concert (I have come across a Disney ska site if anyone is interested), but these guys did a good job of it (thanks to their strength in numbers). It is a shame these guys went on after midnight, as I know anyone that left due to having to get home missed out on a good set.
If you haven't guess by now, I had a killer time on this night. It is shows like these that I do my zine. I hope the bands fans get the opportunity to see the pictures and had as great of a time as I did. A SPECIAL thank you goes out to Chris (former Pylons member) for watching after my very valuable things as I got water and went to the washroom. Chris is one of the craziest skankers out there and I think should have a dance off with Dancing Diego (haven't seen that kid in ages). Good show every, and until next time, keep on skankin'.
Ska Thaw 2005
I had been waiting to go to this show for awhile now. One of the reasons being was that I was finally going to see Keepin'6 and Angry Agency. After listening to their music on MySpace and Purevolume I knew I wanted to see them live.
Keepin' 6 started the show off. To be honest I wasn't as impressed with their live show as I was with the songs they put up on MySpace from their new cd. I think there are several things that should be factored into this though. First off they went on first, to a crowd that was a little lacking comparted with the rest of the night. Secondly, they told me they were use to going on latter in their hometown of Mississauga, which again factors into the audience who is usually warmed up and ready to rock out to a band that is performing later. I think their live set has a lot of potential when playing under better circumstances. I'd like to point out though that I did enjoy their set and look forward to seeing them again sometime.
Baked Fresh Daily came on next. I didn't exactly give these guys a favourable review last time I saw them, and am happy to say I was more impressed with them this time than last. with a ska-punk sound to them, I thought they were more ska the last time I saw them. Although this time they had more of a punk sound to them, I definitely got into their set. I could see growing to like these guys more and more with each time I see them. I'd just like to say their new trombone player has a crazy (in a good way) fro.
By the time Angry Agency came on, I think the audience was at its fullest capacity for the night. These guys had a TON of energy. The lead singer has a wireless mic and if he didn't he would probably trip up the rest of his band from how much he moves around. With their sax player skankin' while not playing and the guitar players moshing while they play, this band has an awesome stage presence. Their live set lived up to what I was expecting from them from what I heard on Purevolume. It is a shame these guys are from London as I'd love to see them more often. They do travel a lot for shows, but unfortunately not as often to Toronto.
Ill Scarlett seems to becoming regulars to the Guelph area, and rightfully so. The crowd has taken a liking to their music, and it is no wonder why. These guys always put on a good show. My younger brother who was there for the Cheap Suits enjoyed these guys a lot as well. Watch for their CD review to be posted with the next couple of days.
Although the Cheap Suits have played Guelph before, they haven't played it that often. While I was a little disappointed they didn't play any of their newer material that hasn't been released yet, it was nice to hear some of their "older" material. I think I have satisfied my fix for Julia for the next 3 years though...kidding guys. I use to love the song, but after hearing it as many times as I have, I don't seem to enjoy it much. It is a shame some of the underagers had to leave as they played a good set, and probably could have won over some new fans. More people were skankin for these guys than any other band.
The Next Best Thing finished off the night with yet another great set. I like these guys a lot, and unfortunately had to leave halfway through their set to meet my ride. I really love their horn section and although the vocals on their own aren't that stellar, they fit nicely with the sound of the band.
Lastly, it is nice to see as many people support the ska scene in Guelph, especially with the departure of J Cloth from Sellout, and the closing of the Trash. If there was more ska bands from Guelph (other than Pretty Big Plunger and the Red Rockets) I feel the ska scene would be that much more stronger. I just wish more of the kids would skank here. Thanks to Jess from Channel 62 Productions for picking up where J Cloth left off.
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