This past Friday, I headed to Philly’s Underground Arts in order to catch New York ska band The Slackers. I’ve caught The Slackers a few times over the years, and one thing that always impressed me was the large and diverse crowd that always comes out to catch them, and Friday night was no different.
I walked down the steps into Underground Arts and arrived into a pretty full room decked out in holiday décor. I got there right in the middle of openers The Snails set.
I’ve caught local ska band The Snails once before back in 2011 open for The Slackers, and they surprised me with their catchy, rocksteady ska sound mixed with more traditional soul and early rock and roll. Four years later, the band still puts on an incredibly tight set, with their latest songs concentrating more on the ska/rocksteady side of things than the soul, but threw in plenty of more rock and roll songs including an energetic cover of “Woolly Bully” which had the place moving.
The Slackers took the stage promoting their upcoming album (which also was on sale at the show) simply called The Slackers. Playing to a pretty full room, there was barely any room to skank in front of the stage, with most people opting to dance completely in the back or the sides.
The Slackers were in high holiday spirits, with vocalist/keyboardist Vic Ruggiero messing with fellow bandmates trying to kiss saxophonist “disco Dave” under a disco ball in lieu of of mistletoe, talking about the difference between Italian and Jewish households, and other quips that had both the crowd and band laughing.
As usual, The Slackers played a very solid set consisting of plenty of newer songs as well as older hits such as “Married Girl”, “Sarah”, and covers such as ska versions of “Dreidel” and “Like A Virgin”. Always a solid set, The Slackers once again prove that even in the year 2016, ska is far from dead.