Skantastic Review: A-Ok’s, The Last Slice, Do It Kappa, Gretchen at VFW June 24
June 25, 2012 § 1 Comment
Gretchen, The A-OK’s, The Last Slice and Do It Kappa played the VFW June 24. We bring you this report:
God, I love me some ska. This is why I can’t lord it over the metal kids, because hands-down, my favorite kind of music to see live is just goddamn silly.
I should note that here we’re discussing the third wave permutation of ska that’s dominated by big cheesy bands like Streetlight Manifesto and Less Than Jake and beloved by suburban white kids. (If white people are good at anything, it’s appropriating the cool stuff people of color create and making it less cool. But I’ll give you the History of What Ska Actually Comes From laters.)
Third wave ska takes the dorky things about pop punk — exuberance, typically light-hearted lyrics, complete lack of pretension– and amps it up 100 percent by adding horns and a real goofy dance. My first exposure to ska was the Reel Big Fish arrangements we played in high school pep band, and I could probably still bust out Impression That I Get on my clarinet if someone gave me the sheet music. If you’re ever suffering from an overdose of hipster coolness, a blast of ska will fix that right up.
So God bless whoever brought a bunch of touring ska bands to Missoula, because the last time I saw any here was a show at the Lab in spring of 2010. We’ve had such a dearth of skanking, you guys. I was worried it would just be a few kids awkwardly head bobbing, but me and the handful of ska fans I know in this town totally came out and danced hard, work in the morning be damned, alongside some fresh faces I wasn’t familiar with. The other great thing about ska bands is, with five to seven members each, you’re guaranteed a fun crowd just if the bands watch each other.
I got there in time to see the Last Slice, from Tulsa, Oklahoma. I think they were as surprised to see Montanans skanking as we were to see Oklahomans playing ska. They were great, and delved more into the slower, reggae-based ska. Then Denver’s A-OK’s launched into a set of faster, more punk-infused style. They asked us to pick between a NOFX cover or Less Than Jake, and I strongly voted for Less Than Jake but danced when they played “Linoleum” anyway. And they played Less Than Jake a few songs later, so really everyone won here.
I skanked my little heart out and it was marvelous. The lead singer of the A-OK’s told me after the show that I seemed really into it. So, uh, I guess my cool card has officially been revoked.
I’ve also found ska is easier to dance to while sober (I cannot furiously skank on a full stomach of beer) and it creates a much more woman-friendly atmosphere than other genres I like, because skanking isn’t usually violent and the music doesn’t encourage excessive aggression. One girl danced barefoot in a dress, and while that makes me shudder thinking of the VFW floor, you can bet if she’d tried that at a metal show she’d be in a lot of pain really quickly.
Also I remember the A-OKs doing a song about not having health insurance, and mega points to them for turning topical, boring-adult things into bouncy tunes. Copays! Pick it up pick it up pick it up!
Sorry I missed Do It Kappa, but hopefully they’ll come through again so I can mock them on this here web site! Gretchen played last, and look for a full band profile write-up for them soon.