Freaking stoked out of my mind could not even begin to describe how hyped I was to catch the biggest ska fest on this side of the hood. Yesterday I trekked the two hour drive out to the Starland Ballroom in New Jersey. After getting horribly lost (god I hate google maps sometimes), I finally arrived a tad late missing most of the local bands.
Hub City Stompers:
When I first heard of the show, I was a bit shocked to learn that Hub City Stompers were playing the show. Surely the crowd was filled with little kids wearing pork-pie hats and checkered ties over their “Reel Big Fish” shirts running in little circles (something Hub City is known for despising). Nonetheless, they played a sick set, although a big odd to see them in a bigger venue.
The older crowd got really into them, starting up constant pits, and when it came time to play “Ska Train to Dorkville” (a mockery of 4/5ths of the kids there) the band shouted “Uh Oh! I think I hear Reel Big Fish”… and the crowd went nuts… actually thinking Hub City was going to do a RBF cover.
Johnny Date Rape
Where’s My Hooligans
Pant Song (New one)
Ska Train To Dorkville
The highlight: At the end, all of the lil’ third wavers complaining that “they were not very good at all”.
Bomb The Music Industry:
Ok, everytime I’ve seen either Bomb the Music Industry or The Arrogant Sons of Bitches (R.I.P), they never play a serious set. They usually talk for a while before starting, and pretty much goof off the entire time. Needless to say, I was completely shocked when BTMI set up and ripped straight into “Congratulations, John, On Joining Every Time I Die”. Unfortunately, I can’t rememeber much of their set, but it did include “I Don’t Love You Anymore”.
It was the cleanest and most crisp I’ve ever seen BTMI, but that didn’t stop them from screwing around as usual “Thank you very much, we’re Less Than Jake/Hot Water Music/Reel Big Fish”.
Yeeees! I’ve never seen these guys before live, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about these celtic punk rockers. Having possible the biggest reaction all night (probably from being the only “punk” band on the ska show), a huge circle pit broke out and the crowd surfing began to the sweet sounds of bagpipe punk rock. The band was incredibly light hearted, with songs about kung-fu movies, soccer, and a sweet rendition of Amazing Grace, Flatfoot 56 is a band that one needs to go see live in order to truely appreciate. Highly recommended for fans of Real Mckenzies, Flogging Molly, or Dropkick Murphy’s (old stuff).
Much to my shame, I’ve never seen the Toasters before (there goes 6 scene points down the drain! Oh wait, I listen to ska, I don’t have any scene points), and was looking forward to seeing these guys for the first time. The Toasters did not disappoint: Blasting straight into “2 Tone Army”, the band didn’t let up for the rest of the night with their sweet 2nd wave influenced ska. Highlights included “Secret Agent Man” and “Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down”.
Now let me take a minute to tell you how much I hate the Starland Ballroom crowd. I’ve been going to shows there ever since I was a kid in highschool, and to give you a perspective on the type of crowd that was out last night… I had to break up a fist fight in the middle of 2 Tone Army. Yes, that’s correct… apparently The Toasters bring out strong violence in people with their songs of unity.
(OK RANT DONE)
The band I was most stoked to see, Mustard Plug always puts on a good show, and I’ve seen them a number of times. Tonight was no exception. The band was definitely on and tight, with Dave constantly jumping into the crowd, and was by far the most energetic I’ve ever seen him. They played a solid setlist, although I can’t understand for the life of me, why they don’t play anything off of Yellow #5 anymore (my guess is because they’ve sat on that album for so long before releasing a new one).
Skank By Numbers
Time to Wake Up
Hit Me! Hit Me!
Freshman (Verve Pipe Cover)
Real Rat Bastard
Brain on Ska
Waiting Room (Fugazi Cover)
Over The Edge
Big D and the Kid’s Table
These guys have completely exploded over the years. I rememeber seeing them with a total of 20 people for 5 dollars… boy those days are over. Nearly 3/4ths of the almost sold out crowd was there to see Big D and the Kid’s Table. Now, something I noticed is that the older fans have completely turned their back on Big D, calling them sellouts for their newest album and for exploding… and I’m going to have to go against my oldster collegues on this one. Big D was and is one of the hardest working bands around today, and they deserve every fan that they’ve gotten. Regardless, it would of been nice to hear some older stuff in their set last night (the oldest they got was “How it Goes”).
Big D played a nice (although predictable) set, with the bulk of the songs coming off of their newest release. The band was energetic, and Dave was as squirrely as ever. Everytime I see them I become nostalgic, rememebering seeing them way back when the entire crowd was grooving to “Can’t Be Caught” and “Jeremy”.
Souped Up Vinyl
My Girlfriend’s On Drugs
Hell on Earth
Remember when I said 3/4ths of the people were there for Big D? I wasn’t kidding. By the time The Pietasters took the stage, the venue cleeeeaaared out with about 1/4th of the people remaining.
By this time, I was way too exhausted to dance or even keep track of the songs that the Pietasters were playing, but let me assure you, they didn’t let up for a second. During their hour long set, I don’t think they stopped once to take a break. Hell, they even played “Drinking and Driving”, so my night was complete.