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Monday, April 12, 2010

Skanking with the best of them: Groove Stain, Taj Motel Trio, 50:50 Shot

I have to admit, I was not feeling my best last Friday night, but music waits for no one! Just in time for the show, I grabbed my downtown bag and headed over to the Caledonia for my second taste of the crazy joy and brass-infused style that is ska. After all, music has healing powers, right?

Once the first band, Groove Stain, began to play, I knew I had made the right decision. These guys were undeniably amazing! A mixture of ska, hard rock, and rap, their sound was like nothing I've ever heard. I don't think anyone in the crowd was expecting to experience such a showing of sheer talent. They had everyone skanking, rocking out, and jamming so much that I just had to join in the fun myself. And Groove Stain's stage presence was unbelievable as well. The lead singer/rapper, in particular, drew in the crowd with his magnetic performance personality and wild skills. What an uplift in spirits! I really hope I have a chance to see these guys again.

Taj Motel Trio was up next to give us Athenians another serving of their sound. I first heard their classic ska style during their January show, and I was quite happy to see their return to our scene. Man, the crowd was so into it, the skanking reached near dangerous proportions during the end of their set! Hm, I suppose I should give a short explanation of skanking for those just joining us since I've already mentioned it twice so far. Skanking refers to being loose (with your movements, in this case). That definition just works in so many ways! But anyway, it's sort of a mixture between flailing and moshing but with a sense of joy and freedom that I've never seen in any other form of dance. And Taj Motel Trio's tunes even got the crowd skanking in a circle around one of the band members. Pure awesomeness!

Unfortunately, by the end of their set, the sickness that I had been feeling earlier overtook me, so I had to reluctantly step out. Luckily, my friend Kole was there to catch the ever-amazing 50:50 Shot. Here's his take on their set:

Playing with a still fresh line-up, the seemingly immortal ska entity that is 50:50 Shot gave the best performance at the Caledonia tonight that I have ever had the pleasure of hearing them play. The turnout could have been better, but the crowd was going absolutely crazy for the music, old and first-time listeners alike. 50:50 Shot, like any good ska band, can use its magical energy-filled music to make a worn-out and tired crowd flail and skank in pure bliss and adrenaline. Drummer Bradley Gandy and guitar/singer Ryan Clark played a fantastic last show ever (yea, okay, it's been said before). They will be missed greatly and I am more than enthusiastic to see what 50:50 Shot's future will bring.

Oh wow. Really, I wish that all of life was as carefree as a ska show!

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