Ahhh...Ska. If you don't like it, just stop reading this now, because this is a review of a Ska show. Anyways.
Pietasters at the Grog Shop. Hmm...one of my favorite bands of all time at one of the coolest venues in Ohio. Sounds like a good mix. So six of us piled into my friend Dan's van "Thor" and we began the journey. We get there, knowing the show won't start until 9, we get there early and have some Subway sandwiches and walk around Coventry, a fairly cool street in Cleveland Heights.
It reaches the fateful hour, and we begin piling in. 10 bucks for us old timers (21 ), and 12 bucks for the younger kids. Nice pricing, I thought. So we get in, and immediately I feel fucking OLD. But that's ok, I know that at most shows now I am feeling' a little crotchety at my "ripe old age" of 21.
The first band takes the stage. They were a 7 piece from Cleveland Heights High School called The Rude Staff Checkers. They were really good. Sound-wise, imagine a Five Iron Frenzy/Planet Smashers-esque sound, with attempts at some Reel Big Fish type antics. My only complaints with this band:
1.The baritone player CAN'T dance, and he should settle down.
2.The drummer needed to stay behind the drum set.
3.They never should have written or played "After school" cause they'll be kicking themselves later on in life.
Aside from that, they were REALLY fun, lots of dancing, skanking, and floor shaking. They played a little long, but they were recording it, and obviously wanted to get all they could onto the tape.
Next up were the Skanktronics. These kids showed some good Op Ivy ska-punk promise. And they delivered. I have since downloaded their mp3s from their Website, and they are a quality band. Another group of High School kiddies, and they definitely had their sound down. Fun punk/ska leanings, the only problem was probably that they were not nearly as tight as the RSC, and the sound was a little low on one of the mics.
However, at this point in time I have to mention the biggest downside of the show. Because it was two HS bands opening, their friends came. And god love them for supporting their friends. But if I get another Skinhead or Exploited-esque punk slamming in the pit to SKA music, I am going to go crazy. You dance, you have fun, you don't try to beat the hell out of everyone. You can't possibly be that angry in real life, just get over it.
And now, the Pietasters.
When I got into the club at the beginning of the night, I noticed a bald, ear pierced man that I swore was someone I knew. Well, when they took the stage I was right. Vinnie (fucking) Nobile from the Pilfers, Bim Skala Bim, and just recently filling in for Buddy from Less Than Jake was taking Jeremy's spot for the night. Stephen said something about Jeremy not being there...I couldn't really understand it, but all I know is that the best Ska trombonist ever to walk the planet was 3 feet away from me, and I was in pure ecstasy. They rocked through a throughly amazing set. Touching mostly on stuff from OoLooLoo, Mix tape 6 and Turbo (new out on Fueled By Ramen). Absent were many (if any) songs from Willis, their Hell Cat debut, which changed their style a bit. I don't know why this is, maybe it has to do with the passing away of their original bassist Todd, but I don't know, and it's neither here nor there.
What's important is that it was an amazing show. From their entrance to that new Ludicrous song (gotta big green stash...) to their encore of Girl Take it Easy, Wasted and a few others, it was one of the best performances I've ever seen. I heartily endorse anyone anywhere going to see these Tasters of Pie when they are around. And the two opening bands should be watched as well. They managed to even get my Metal Lovin' friend enjoying the show.