If you weren’t at Underground Arts http://www.undergroundarts.org/ on September 11, 2016, you weren’t having as much fun as I was. The show was at 1200 Callowhill st. Philadelphia, PA one of my favorite venues in Philly. I hadn’t heard much about Ska music since high school (almost 10 years ago, whoa). So I was excited when I found out about this show.
The night opened up with RK$TDY (pronounced Rock Steady), a Ska/Jazz/Reggae band from Philadelphia (shown in video above). The band has a “cookin riddm” section setting up a strong beat perfect for dancing. With 8 members and a 4-piece horn section= instant party (though I think the singer was MIA). Doug Dubrosky and David Fishkinon Saxophone, David Champion and Adam Hershberger on horns, Dan Poruban on guitar, John Woodman on drums and Bert Harris on vocals. Then Pandemics (Ska Punk from Long Island/NYC/Westchester) rocked the house. They are another 8 piece Ska group who in the past year and a half after having traveled all over the north east, opening for bands such as The Toasters, Mustard Plug, Flatfoot 56, King Django and The Slackers. This group had more of a punk flair to their Ska sound, but meshed well with the feel of the night and includes,Brian Kennedy – Guitar/Vocals, Will Harris – Bass, CJ Dunaieff – Drums, Chris Malone – Lead Vocals/Trombone, James Fulfaro – Bari Sax, Paul Chestnut Alto Sax/Tenor Sax, Chris Mandato – Trumpet and Chris Quintero also on Trumpet. They are promoting their newest release “Platinum Ska” in this tour, which is packed with all kinds of rarities including some of Jamaican drummer, Lloyd Knibb’s last recordings.
SKA-TALITES, “Requiem for Rico”
The Skatalites headlined the night. They originated in Kingston Jamaica and their original lineup from the 1960s (Tommy McCook – tenor saxophone, flute, Roland Alphonso – tenor saxophone, Lester Sterling – alto saxophone, Don Drummond – trombone, Johnny “Dizzy” Moore – trumpet, Lloyd Brevett – upright bass, Lloyd Knibbs – drums, Jerome “Jah Jerry” Haynes – guitar and Jackie Mittoo on piano) changed as they brought in new members for current tours. The crowd was obviously pumped for this band and the energy continued through the night, which the current, mostly younger, members were ready for. “Zem” Audu, young, but awesome tenor Saxophonist from Nigeria, led the group with energy and enthusiasm. Known as the originators of ska, rocksteady, and reggae, and the only band to still play this type of music is its true form. They were known celebrities in their hometown of Kingston, Jamaica and the band even received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Prime Minister of Jamaica. Hopefully they carry on the status that they’ve earned in the past.