Legendary ska band The Toasters, with support from Chicago’s Malafacha, hit Beat Kitchen on February 28, 2019. The Toasters, founded in 1981, are one of the first wave of American Ska bands.
At the Beat Kitchen, The Toasters line up include frontman Robert “Bucket” Hingley; Tim Karns on bass; Grillbert Covarrubias on trombone; drummer Boris Maninvelt (Upsessions Holland); Deals Olan on saxophone (Out of Control Army MX); Buford O. Sullivan on trombone (ex-Scofflaws).
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I caught up with Bucket a few days after the show. Asked about the longevity of the band, he told me “Playing live is the only way left to make money. So last year we played 227 shows. this year and next will be more or less the same” He added that “lots of gigs as the music industry sucks a.t.m. (at this moment)”
Of course, sober as that sentiment may seem, it did nothing to tamp down the fun their performance provided to the weeknight crowd. The high energy set by the veterans had the crowding skanking to a set list including: “Dog Eat Dog”,“Shocker!”, “I’m Running Right Through the World”,“East Side Beat”,“Pirate Radio”, “Talk Is Cheap”, “Thrill Me Up”, “Social Security”, “Sitting on Top of the World”,“House Of Soul”, “Weekend in L.A.”, “Decision at Midnight”; and “Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down.”
Two weeks after the final American tour date of March 9th in Oklahoma City, the band heads to Europe. They kick off that stretch of the tour in Utrecht, Netherlands on March 27th before heading back to North America for the Non-Stop Ska Festival in Mexico City followed by Punk Rock Bowling in Las Vegas.
Oh, and having noticed Bucket’s Yankees cap, I had to mention as a native of the Empire State, having been born and raised on Long Island, I am a life-long diehard Mets fan who went to games at Shea Stadium then and Citifield now. His response: “I forgive you for being a Mutts fan.”
We did, however, agree on the idea that you can’t buy a decent bagel in Chicago (Sorry Chicago, but New York bagels for the win).
Malafacha, from the Pilsen neighborhood on the south side, were among the pioneers in the Latin Ska movement in Chicago when they were founded in 2003. The group fuses ska, reggae, and Latin rhythms and their mission statement as posted on social media is to “inspire by the culture and diversity of our city, by the stories we share as an immigrant community, by the wisdom we get as we grow older, by the ups and downs of life and by you who are reading this.”
Although their last album was recorded nearly a decade ago, frontman Moises Bello told me they have kept active since the start including touring the U.S. several times. Bello added that while they had to stop touring several years back due to changes in the line-up this hiatus is coming to an end. “Now in 2019 we want to show our followers the maturity of the band in sound as well as performance, we plan to retake our touring habits and make more music for new generations,” says Bello. To that end, he informed me that they also “…have a whole bunch of unedited material we are yet to record.”
At Beat Kitchen, Malafacha’s rollicking set included: “Diferente”, “Burn Down the Wall”, “On A Mission”, “Race For Power”, “Destructor”, “Cada Que la Veo”, “Mano Dura”, “Brutalidad”, “Muy Temprano”; and “No Te Equivoquez.”
The band is recording new material at Kiwi studios starting March 23 and it plans to release it to online stores (Spotify, Apple music, Google play etc.) by May 1st.
The band embarks on a mini tour to the West coast the second week of May and plans to do an East coast tour this summer as well. This includes revisiting cities like New York, Washington DC. Charlotte, Atlanta to expose the new Malafacha music to its out of town followers.