After Cro-Mags the night before, I was quite haggard but still excited to see the legendary San Jose ska band Monkey. This was to be my third concert in as many nights, and after a restful afternoon at Dolores I was ready for a nice little evening of ska.
SF-based The Rudicals was first to hit the stage and with that blaring saxophone how could you go wrong! When saxophone player Randy Johnson isn’t blaring on the reed he’s taking advantage of the beats and skankin around stage. I love it when the musician sets the standard and expectation of energy and movement. Twangy up-pick guitar riffs from David Simon Baker, harmonizing horns and catchy bridges made a great first impression to this local ska ensemble. It’s hard to believe that the band played their first show in 2013. I look forward to what is to come with these guys.
Aloha Screwdriver is an instrumental three-piece from Alameda, CA and I gotta admit I was a bit skeptical of what to expect going into their set. It was really cool though! There’s a definite surf-tinge, with this kind of space-age feel to it. Add some interesting costumes and lively stage presence and you’ve got the makings for a great show. Oh, and the drummer got on top of the bar with his snare to finish the night off. Brilliant.
It was time for Monkey. I had never seen the band, but being a huge fan of all things Asian Man, Monkey has been in my life for quite some time. It brings me back to that mix of ‘psycho ska’ mixed with that proper Skatalites sound. Third wave at its best!!! This is the kind of music to which I love to dance the most. Lift your head up and see a room full of smiling, positive energy and a dance floor that is literally bouncing. The band doesn’t always sing, but when they do, vocalist/guitarist Chris Meacham’s voice roars with an old-school sound the forefathers would smile at. Towards the end of their set, the band started asking for requests. I bellowed out “15th Street Ghetto Song” and the band was so surprised anybody even knew that song that they obliged!! Afterwards as I thanked them, they thanked me for requesting it – stating they had just started rehearsing that song, and it was refreshing for someone to request one of their songs instead of a cover. Beautiful end to a memorable night of great local SF Bay Area ska.
You can have a look at all shots from the night’s performances below.
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