BostonSka.net’s Guide to The 2016 Hometown Throwdown Lineup

When the Mighty Mighty BossToneS announced the dates for this year’s Hometown Throwdown, they pointedly did not include who would be backing them up each night, instead offering that they would be “celebrating the whole wide world.” Obviously, we couldn’t wait to hear what they had in store.

The band finally came through at the beginning of November with an Instagram post that kicked us on our asses. Unable to process how solid these line-ups were, we eventually resorted to making guttural noises while pointing at our laptops with our pupils rolled into the back of our heads (semi-related, we regret to inform you that we are no longer allowed at the Brighton IHOP.)

 

Of course, it wasn’t a stretch to imagine what “celebrating the whole world” might possibly mean. The surprise comes mostly from the strength of each night’s line-ups. The BossToneS have pulled some of the best ska and punk acts from North America and overseas to create the culturally diverse multi-day line-up we need right now.

As we’ve done previously, we wanted to give you a primer on the bands the BossToneS have chosen to open the 19th Hometown Throwdown:

Wednesday, December 28th:

The Skatalites (Jamaica)

Right from the start, the BossToneS show that they weren’t messing around: the legendary The Skatalites will join the band on this year’s opening night, bringing along ska’s foundation straight from Jamaica. Playing together since the mid-50’s, the members of the Skatalites got their name (and their considerable reputation) during the early-to-mid 60’s playing and recording instrumental tracks before breaking up in 1965. Their reputation built in the meantime, and when they reunited in the mid-70’s, the Skatalites further asserted themselves as pioneers by acting as the backing band for acts like Prince Buster, Jimmy Cliff, Toots and the Maytals, and Bob Marley. The band celebrated their 50th anniversary a few years back, and August saw the release of their 17th studio album Platinum Ska. The band has hit the Boston area a few times during an uptick in touring activity over the past few years. If you haven’t had the chance, now is your time to catch these genre pioneers in action.

Fun Fact: Don’t hold this against them (we certainly don’t), but The Skatalites are also partly responsible for ska puns, as their name is late saxophonist Tommy McCook’s portmanteau of “ska” and “satellites.”  Don’t worry, we’re conflicted too.

The Planet Smashers (Canada)

Hailing from our neighbor to the north, The Planet Smashers will bring their distinct blend of upbeat third-wave ska to kick off night one. The band, which celebrated their 20th anniversary back in 2014, started Stomp Records in their hometown of Montreal, which went on to become the hub of some of the top ska and punk acts in the region. Through their eight albums, the Planet Smashers have made some of the most effortlessly catchy ska music available in North America. Their latest, Mixed Messages, was released to celebrate their 2014 anniversary, but Chicago and Detroit were the only spots the subsequent tour hit. In fact, this will be the first time the band has played Boston in years, as Visa restrictions have found them only able to tour Canada with any regularity. Having made the trek to Montreal just to catch these fellas, I can tell you that this night is not to be missed.

Thursday, December 29th:

The Porkers (Australia)

For Night 2 of the Throwdown, the BossToneS are bringing us bands from across the Pacific. First up in The Porkers from Australia. The band initially referred to themselves as “The Pork Hunts,” but consternation from local venues forced them to change their name to The Porkers, which was somehow both less offensive and equally as authentically Australian. After the release of their first album Grunt!, the band signed with New York’s Moonska Records (R.I.P.) and began touring internationally while also providing opening support for bands like No Doubt and the BossToneS on their Australian tours. The Porkers also opened for Rancid on their Aussie dates, which lead to the band’s brass section being featured on the demos for Rancid’s Life Won’t Wait. Originally disbanding in 2009 after 20+ years as a band, the Porkers returned in 2014 and have been touring ever since. The Porkers’ appearance on Night 2 fits nicely in the middle of their current American tour, which will continue well into January 2017.

In terms of sound, The Porkers generally fall closer to the trad ska end of the ska-punk spectrum. Take a listen to “Goin’ Off”, the leadoff track from the band’s debut album:

Peelander-Z (Japan)

Also included in Night 2 are Japan-via-New York’s Peelander-Z; if you’re wondering whether this band will be fun or not, take a minute to gaze upon what might be the most amusing/colorful Google image search of a band in recent memory. As self-described “Japanese Action Comic Punks”, Peelander-Z match fast paced punk rock with color-coordinated outfits and costumes from their home on planet Peelander (just go with it.) I know what you’re thinking, and you won’t be chastised for trying to compare the band to The Aquabats or The Phenomenauts, as the band has become known for their rambunctious live show (the band has described their live show focus as 10 percent music, 90 percent theatrics.) A typical Peelander set involves ” intense audience participation and a chance to exercise”, which often involves “human bowling” and something called “The Red Squid,” neither of which really need to be described fully to pique our interest towards what is definitely going to be a noteworthy set.

Check out this bonkers live video from the band’s Warped Tour ’11 set, and see if you can spot Dave from Big D on drums early on:

Friday, December 30th:

The Skints (England)

If you happened to catch them opening for the Easy-Star All Stars and Fishbone on their first American tour last year, or even when they headlined Ocean Mist in Rhode Island last month, you know that showing up for a Skints set is worth the trip. Described by London’s Clash Music as “the torchbearers for modern British reggae music“, the East London quartet has been making a name for themselves since 2007 in their home country, only recently making their way across the Atlantic for US shows. After a string of solid albums and EPs put out by notable UK reggae labels, The Skints released their incredible third album FM on Easy Star Records in March of last year. The album shows off the band’s songwriting chops while integrating the dub, grime and hip-hop often found in London’s underground culture.

Check out the video for FM highlight “Friends and Business”, which features self-shot footage chronicling their first American tour:

Los Kung-Fu Monkeys (Mexico)

Opening Night 3 are Tijuana, Mexico’s Los Kung-Fu Monkeys. Starting in 1999, the band put out an initial string of records on Los Angeles’ short lived One Shot Records before moving to the European Übersee Records for a time in the mid-2000’s. The band has also made efforts to come into their own and represent their home country, starting Riot Radio Records and becoming the first independent Mexican band to play Warped Tour. Their latest record, Rudeboy Rockers, was released by Montreal’s Stomp Records in 2015 (see the Planet Smashers entry above.) Judging from the band’s origins, Los Kung-Fu Monkeys’s sound is heavily reminiscent of the Ska found in Southern California; if you dig Rancid or the Voodoo Glow Skulls, you’re going to be excited for this band.

Check Los Kung-Fu Monkeys out on Bandcamp, and watch the video for “Taking It Easy”, the lead-off track from last year’s Rudeboy Rockers:

All Nights:

The Mighty Mighty BossToneS

Our humble hosts for the weekend, The BossToneS are a powerful psychedelic compound of the tryptamine family. They are a structural analog of serotonin and melatonin and a functional analog of other psychedelic tryptamines such as 4-AcO-DMT, 5-MeO-DMT, 5-HO-DMT, psilocybin (4-PO-DMT), and vaporwave (4-HO-DMT).  The BossToneS can produce psychedelic experiences involving euphoria and hallucinations, as seen in these first-hand accounts from concertgoers:

“But there was something else. I felt like there was more to this space than just the elves and time was running out. I pushed beyond elvin mischief deeper into the BossToneS realm. I did not expect what came next” – James Kent

“The BossToneS are difficult to describe because it happens so quickly but during the experience I feeling [sic] incredibly loved. It feels like surrendering to God except the God that was there with me was myself” – Justanothersunday

Well, there you have it folks. Our hosts will be here all weekend, and as always we’re confident they won’t disappoint. Check out the video for the classic “Someday I Suppose”:

The Mighty Mighty BossToneS Hometown Throwdown 19:

Wednesday, December 28th
The Mighty Mighty BossToneS
The Skatalites (Jamaica)
The Planet Smashers (Canada)
Tickets

Thursday, December 29th
The Mighty Mighty BossToneS
The Porkers (Australia)
Peelander-Z (Japan)
Tickets

Friday, December 30th
The Mighty Mighty BossToneS
The Skints (England)
Los Kung-Fu Monkeys (Mexico)
Tickets

Check out our Boston Ska Event Calendar for more local upcoming shows.


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Alex Chiasson

Alex Chiasson is a writer for Boston Ska (dot) net. Alex's first experience with ska involved referring to it as "that music with the horns, right?". He's gotten better with categorization, but he also has this weird thing about staying humble. You can see Alex perform with The New Limits.

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