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Monday, January 18, 2010

Time for a SKAncert!

It's nights like these that remind me that I'm still so new to the music scene. There's so much left for me to hear, so much more for me to experience, so much I have yet to learn. I mean, who knew skanking could be a good thing? It sounds like... well, you know what it sounds like! But Friday night, during my very first ska concert, I got a glimpse of what it means to skank, wildly, in public, and surrounded by tons of people!

For those of you who, like me, have been completely unaware of ska music and culture until this point, I'll tell you a bit about this skanking. See, skanking is the term used to refer to ska dancing. To skank, you must immerse yourself fully in the music, abandon all tension and control, and just let loose and flail about to your heart's desire. An odd sight for a first timer, yes, but a refreshingly awesome one too. Ska's listeners don't let fear of anyone's judgment affect their complete and utter enjoyment of the music. Ska music itself is like nothing I've ever heard either. A mixture of punk, reggae, jazz, and swing music with a splash of several other styles, it's got a happy, upbeat sound that effortlessly causes everyone to move their feet. You just can't resist! Major props go to my friend Kole for his infectious excitement about everything ska. I'm so glad he convinced me to come!

Taj Motel Trio, a band from Cornelia, Georgia, kicked off the night's SKAncert with what I would call a bit of classic ska. Their whole set had the crowd going skank-crazy! This audience had some mad energy, that's for sure. Then, a few songs in, the band managed to rework the always-awesome Darth Vader theme from Star Wars into a completely incredible and danceable ska tune. That definitely takes some major talent. Everybody loved it!

New York's band Royal City Riot brought a taste of more peaceful reggae to the mix next. Their style made me feel like I was just chilling on the beach in the warm sun, soaking in some nice tunes. Even though their music was a bit slower, the crowd kept on skanking up a storm and wholeheartedly immersing themselves in the moment!

Then it was time for Atlanta's own 50:50 Shot to play us on out. These guys had about eight people performing onstage at a time... quite the spectacle, particularly when compared to the size of the Caledonia stage! Each member had such personality that the band seemed to explode with passion and energy as they played. Their rock-infused ska had elements of the style I like to refer to as "doomsday," and it certainly kept the crowd skanking till the end. In fact, people were dancing so wildly, I'd swear the floor of the Caledonia was shaking. I'm not even sure that's possible, but wow, it was insane! My favorite part of their set had to be just moments in, though, when I heard the awesome tones of an instrument right beside me. I turned to find one of the band members standing in the midst of the sea of concert-goers, blowing away on his trombone. There's nothing like getting that true surround sound feel from a band. It was so undeniably cool!

Simply put, the whole ska scene blew me away. For me, it was truly like a trove of undiscovered treasure, a box of pure joy just waiting to be opened. Here's hoping there are plenty more ska shows and SKAncerts in Athens soon!

1 comment:

  1. I like it! Now I wil always go to ska concerts!