Last week, Asbestos Records announced that CT ska legends Spring Heeled Jack will be gracing Boston with its presence for the first time since last October’s Skalapalooza. Unlike last year’s affair, they’re not billing themselves as “acoustic” this year. If you were fortunate enough to make it to New York City for the Apple Stomp, you caught the real deal with horns and all. (If I may play the elitist for a moment, the really special event was the two-night reunion in May of 2010 at Toad’s Place in the New Haven. It was epic but rest assured I was still front and center singing my heart out at Apple Stomp).
We’re clearly going to The Apple Stomp, a two-day ska festival at Irving Plaza in New York City. The bill boasts a handful of the strongest current touring ska acts, but the real treat is the reunion of many defunct acts from the late 90s.
Do you remember how cold it was Sunday night? It was freezing. But I was going to a show. Which meant I had to strategically layer up. Coat check at the House of Blues doesn’t come cheap and they don’t let you stack items on one hanger. It was also a Sunday night show with 6pm doors. I was pretty nervous it would be one of those shows that starts before everyone arrives and ends nice and early to get the club crowd in. So there I was standing in the freezing cold, not wearing quite enough winter gear, waiting in line to get into the venue at 5:45. By the time I got into the show, I was less than thrilled to be there.
Dan Potthast (Mu330, Dan P and the Bricks, The Stitch Up) was the perfect opener. It was just him on his guitar playing 1 to 2-minute ska/punk tunes. They were catchy, they were clever, and he had the audience. Which is to say he heckled the audience way better than they heckled him. I wish I caught video of that. Particularly he had a great tune I’m not super fluent in his material, but I clearly recognized KKK Highway.
He told the audience that he wrote a tune for each night of the tour. I was able to catch his Boston tune on my phone:
I’m happy to think about January because I’m entirely too stressed about December. Reel Big Fish and Pilfers return to Boston on January 27 with support from Dan Potthast of Mu330. Anyone who was at Skalapalooza this past October knows that Pilfers is generally a show-stealer. Hopefully they’ll have a longer set this round and possibly play a new tune or two like they a did a few reunions ago… But I should mention Reel Big Fish continues to put on a totally fun show. I’ve seen them a few times (even in a post-Scott world). The new sax player is great and if anything gives them a more “Turn the Radio Off” era horn section and I’m a huge fan of the new record, “Candy-Coated Fury.” Naturally, we all expect some Reel Big Fish/Pilfers on-stage mash-up. (Actually, on the Skalapalooza tour, Nick from Pilfers played keys for Spring Heeled Jack. Maybe he could sit in on a few RBF tunes. HINT HINT.)
I’ve never seen Mu330, but I’ve seen The Stitch Up, Dan P’s pop/punk act and the song-writing is totally the same. The most recent thing he’s done is Dan P and the Bricks which has a new wave/early toasters thing going on. I’m curious to see what he brings to this show.
So I sort of blinked and noticed there’s a handful of great ska shows in Boston this month. And then I noticed they weren’t all listed anywhere. In the event that Bostonska.com doesn’t get around to posting them, I wanted to pull them all together. So, risking being the new guy who rolls into town and pretends he knows what’s up, I’ve got a very incomplete arbitrarily compiled list! Feel free to add more in the comments that I might have missed.