DS Show Review & Gallery: The Slackers, The Crombies, & The Operator in Chicago (11/11/2022)

The Slackers returned to Reggie’s to headline a bill which included their local friends in The Crombies, plus The Operator, and Highball Holiday.

The Slackers, Chicago favorites from New York City, once again treated their fans to a rousing performance. Vic Ruggiero, Glen Pine, Jay Nugent, Dave Hillyard, Ara Babajian, and Marcus Geard tore through a setlist including “Fried Chicken/Mary, Mary,” “And I Wonder,” “Don’t Let The Sunlight Fool Ya,” “I Still Love You,” and “Wasted Days.” Per usual, The Slackers brought to the Windy City a lively and fun experience.

When The Slackers hit Chicago, many fans may guess correctly that The Crombies will be on the same bill. The two groups have a tight bond in more than one way. Three members of The Crombies (Mike Park, Dave Simon, and Karl Gustafson) are also past or present members of Deal’s Gone Bad. Some of their DGB bandmates and some of The Slackers members have formed Deal’s Gone Slack. It’s an indirect secondary connection but still should not be dismissed outright.

As for the Chicago’s very popular rocksteady outfit, the above mentioned members, along with bandmates Karl Gustafson, Matt Meuzelaar, and Kevin Lustrup blasted through their set which included “Hooligans,” “Staring At Rude Boys,” “Plastic Gangsters,” and “Levi Stubbs’ Tears.” The Crombies also performed its great cover of a song from my favorite band, The Clash: “English Civil War.” Each member has a very distinct onstage presence but it all adds to a cohesive unit. When you go to a show with The Crombies on the bill you are pretty much guaranteed a good time.

The Operators, a ska unit out Indianapolis, Indiana, came big, loud and rowdy. I loved it and so did the crowd. The group kicked the crowd into bouts of frenzied skanking. The Operators members – Brandon Sanders, Gregg Manfredi, Drew Darby, Heath Schlatter, Brittany Brummfield, Cristian Requilme, Sarah Harwood, Dave Grove, jammed through “Better Off Alone,” “Convicted Man,” “Catfished,” “Ease Your Mind,” and “Cards On The Table.” The latter two are Mr. Kingpin songs.

They were also joined on stage by Jon E. Bravo aka Mr. Kingpin, for “Lightening In A Bottle.” The Operators hit the bullseye with this set.

Highball Holiday switched on the show with a boisterous set. Shahanna McKinney Baldon led the bad through a solid set including “Siblings,” “Speedway,” “Why?,” “Skinhead Girls,” and “Welfare.”

Highball Holiday ended the set with a booming rendition of “Ignorance,” The band showed why they’re Milwaukee ska legends. It is wonderful to see a band enjoying themselves onstage as appeared to be the case here.

See below for more photos. Thanks!

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