This weekend Boston ska legends Bim Skala Bim will cram four shows filled with reunions and locals into just three days. The party starts on Friday with a show to benefit Pine Street Inn and to honor Richard “Chet” Rooney, proprietor of Chet’s Last Call. This legendary dive shares its name with Bim’s 2013 album.
Walking past it now, you’d never know it, but in the ’80s, the corner of Causeway and Lancaster streets in North Station across from the Garden was a hotbed for live music. It was the site of Chet’s Last Call, a dirty second-floor rock club above the Penalty Box dive bar that housed hundreds of bands — including Treat Her Right, Throwing Muses, Scruffy The Cat, and the Bosstones (pre-Mighty Mighty) — from around 1983 to 1989.
Bim will be joined at the new ONCE Ballroom by Dogzilla, Dogmatics,Pajama Slave Dancers, Liz Borden Group, and Moose and the Mudbugs. You might recall Dogmatics opening for the Bosstones a few Throwdowns again. They wrote “X-mas Time (Sure Don’t Feel Like)” which MMB would go on to cover.
In addition to raising funds for Pine Street Inn, the show will be filming ground for a documentary about Chet’s life. Dan Vitale and John Vitale have launched a kickstarter to raise money for the documentary.
Chet died suddenly on December 10th 2015. He helped countless bands get their start from 1983 to 1989. All the bands on these shows got much tough love and inspiration from Chet early in their now long careers.
With 14 days left to go, they’re about halfway to their goal of $3,800.
Once the cameras have been packed up, it’s off to Newport for a show with the Parlor Saturday night with Brunt of It and The Screw Ups.
Sunday, Bim will do double duty as they help send off Johnny D’s in their final stretch of shows. The matinee show features a Plate O’ Shrimp reunion and an appearance by Happy Camper’s Mason Vincent. Plate O’ Shrimp operated from ’84 to ’89 and had a few tracks on the Ska-Ville USA Vol 2 compilation.
Johnny D’s owner Carla DeLellis had this to say about the bands:
Back in the early to mid 80’s, I knew nothing about booking bands or running a music club. ‘More balls than brains’ my mom would say. Well, along the way I knew that I had to get these ska shows in. And my favorites back in those days were always Plate O’Shrimp, Bim, Shy Five, Third Estate, and The Happy Campers.
This says quite a lot about the legacy of ska in the Boston area.
Presuming the band gets a break for dinner, the 10pm show kicks off with Johnny D regulars Pressure Cooker.
Hope you can make it out to one of these shows! Check our calendar regularly for show updates.