Last weekend was a crazy busy concert weekend in San Francisco, and it actually involved picking and choosing which bands to see, and which to reluctantly shelf for next time. When I saw that Mustard Plug, Dan P & The Bricks, and Monkey were sharing the same bill though, there was at least one easy decision. ‘Twas to be a night of ska and horns, skanking and slipping, and a visit to one of my favorite venues in the city, Thee Parkside.
San Jose-based Monkey took to the stage first and played to a still-warming-up crowd. The band brings classic ska with a voice that reververates through the whole dance hall. I say that because the band has this old-school classiness supported by powerful organs, driving horns, and that traditional ska stroke we all love (and of course Curtis’ voice). The guys most recently released “Bananarchy” last April through Asian Man Records and it has become a major staple of their set. With tracks like “Blind Faith”, “Bicycle”, and “Bad Neighbor” (to name a few), the band has once again proven why they have remained a cemented force in Bay Area ska.
Next up was local supergroup of sorts Dan P & The Bricks, featuring members of Slow Gherkin and of course frontman Dan Potthast from MU330. Dan is legitimately one of the consistently nicest and genuinely positive, upbeat individuals I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, and that positivism resonates through his music, which always gets the crowd bouncing. The way the ska is sped up, slowed down, and can maintain and energy to delight the crowd is a great moment of which to be a part. Besides the actual set of course, is the obligatory opening freak-out session to get all the jitters out (so says Dan). With “Mess It Up” and “Watch Where You Walk” topping the list, there’s no wonder why I always leave a Dan P show with cheeks hurting from smiling and legs weak from dancing.
The set from headliners Mustard Plug was definitely a pleasant surprise and left me wondering why these guys have fallen off my radar. I remember seeing them last year or so and thinking that the set lacked something – some energy, or je ne sais quoi. This night was more of the Mustard Plug that I remember loving as a teenager, and indeed the band sampled from all of their albums, but played my favorites including “You”, “Lolita”, and “The Beer Song” to name a few. It had the energy almost of like a Voodoo Glow Skulls or old school Blue Meanies set and it was an amazing way to spend a Saturday night. Not a frown in the house.
Have a look at all of the photos from the night’s sets below.
Thank you to Curtis, Jordan, and Audra for a great horn-filled, skarrific night at Thee Parkside.