Sunday, October 29, 2006

In Which Our Hero Attends a Ska Show

It’s nice when, with no more than a quick leafing through the gig guide you can appraise from the name of the band alone exactly what a live show will be like. Of course judging a band like this is hardly accurate, think the Dirty Three who aren’t a sleazy pub rock band or The Drones who aren’t an avant-garde noise experiment. But sometimes I am pleased to encounter some degree of success. It is reasonably apparent for instance that Because of Ghosts are a post-rock band, the Oren Ambarchi Noise Trio will play with random static and high pitched squeals or Acid Mothers Temple and the Cosmic Inferno play (obviously) Japanese psychedelia.

But approaching Sunday’s show at the Arthouse (several weeks ago now) I had seriously no idea what to expect of the bands Skaladdin and Skamikaze. (nb. for those still adjusting to my particuarly mode of writing, this is sarcasm)

The band King City Seven played before these mystery acts and here at least I did know what to expect because I had seen them before. Yes, it was a fateful summers day about this time last year when the King City Seven snatched away childhood dreams of being the world’s hardest rocking musicians. You see in the heady days of my youth I played guitar in one of the most promising new outfits around, The Heat Death Of The Universe, combining a love for attitude, rock music, and the thermodynamical laws of entropy. It was a great time, partying every night, rocking out everyday. We had it all drugs, sex, legions of fans and record label offers (well actually none of those things) but on the crucial night of our first gig at the Beaumaris Hotel’s battle of the bands competition the King City Seven stole our dream. The gig went terribly, firstly we hadn’t realised that we needed to do a sound check beforehand and so our guitar chords sounded like harsh and high pitched noise discords. Secondly our lead singer Ben had, citing artistic differences left for more promising prospects interstate. Thirdly and not least, our songs were just seriously lame. Anyway the King City Seven stole the show but I don’t begrudge them, they’re actually terrific guys and play an upbeat blend of ska music and pub rock. It’s not really my thing but they’d be a great band to play a party or a packed pub instead of those awful cover bands that seem to be the trend these days.

Skamikaze had come down from Queensland for the show and it was a pretty enjoyable one. I guess I don’t need to say what they sounded like. The highlight was a cover of the Specials, A message to you Rudy and the Suicide Machines, No Face. It was pretty enjoyable and I was sort of really getting into the whole ska thing towards the end. Which is somewhat strange. For the past few years I’ve been focussing perhaps overmuch on intellectual music to the denigration of emotional music. This subject deserves an essay to itself which I’ll reserve for a more favorable moment but for now these admirable words of Sir T. Browne in his Religio Medice will suffice, ‘And even that vulgar [and tavern music] which makes one man merry and another mad, strikes in me a deep fit of devotion.’

Skaladdin are from Switzerland. They are awesome. Really their show pretty much blew me away with the fun, with the dancing, with the humanity. You see when I was younger I was really into ska music, ska music and oddly metal, in those days would I two step the streets in my Doc’s and ripped jeans, sporting a patched leather jacket, Dead Kennedy’s shirt and a carefully shaved head whilst yelling anarchist slogans at squares. Well not really, though I did for a while endorse anarchism. Anyway Skaladdin brought it all flooding back, they played some Less Than Jake covers (the best ska band ever), Rancid and I think more the Specials. I relearnt and reveled in quite skillfully that particular brand of dancing peculiar to Ska music that is named skanking. The bands originals were ace too, in short I just had a really great time.


Blogger divinetrash said...

A charming and most amusing post, m'dear. I find it completely adorbable that you were once a ska fan. I will have to watch you skank one day.

The overly sensitive lads of Go Genre Everything posted this about the recent mêlée in your comments:

Seems the way to win fame for one's blog is to make musos disgruntled. I'm definitely going to try it myself!

12:20 AM  
Blogger James said...

Why thankyou for the very kind words, m'lady.

I am so excited to have a elicited a response from a band. I guess I'm doing something right if they can take undue offense to what was intended as a glowing review, though maybe I'm actually doing something wrong.

Anyway certainly try it yourself, perhaps you review that Horror Ball thing Svet's advertising.

4:16 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

Arh James, I'm so proud - you finally made it.

By the way I recieved a call from Sony BMG this morning - they're interested in a Heat Death reunion tour, what do you think?

3:50 PM  
Blogger ManicLovely said...

What no review of the Horrorball? Damn, my outings never make the pages anymore.

3:00 PM  
Blogger James said...

Ben, you sold out man.

Svet, I'm sorry have patience. I know I promised to update more frequently in my previous post. Well exams are over now. So I really promise to?

6:49 PM  
Blogger ManicLovely said...

Yay feed into my bloggy insatiableness!
By the way I found your Myers Briggs personality type most interesting, I just might copy you and put mine up on my profile cos its a cool idea. I'm an ESFP which translates roughly as big fat copycat.

4:44 PM  

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