The Gadjits / Slightly Paradise / Mad Happy

The Gadjits/Slightly Paradise/Mad Happy: live in Iowa Citylive in Iowa City (2003)
Thick Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5

Contributed by: maverickScott
(others by this writer | submit your own)

This show was just plain weird. But allow me to start earlier in the night. As Moldy and I [and a girl accompanying us who was wearing a Good Charlotte shirt - she'll remain nameless] entered the smokey confines of Gabe's Oasis, we were in for a bit of a surprise - virtually *no one* was there. .

This show was just plain weird.

But allow me to start earlier in the night. As Moldy and I [and a girl accompanying us who was wearing a Good Charlotte shirt - she'll remain nameless] entered the smokey confines of Gabe's Oasis, we were in for a bit of a surprise - virtually *no one* was there. Sure it was a weeknight, but did people not realize how good the Gadjits were? What was the deal? Then we remembered that Zwan was playing across town [I personally loathe that bands, but I'm willing to bet there were hundreds at the show who didn't.]. Stupid Zwan.

So in front of a handful of people, the Heartattacks took the stage. The band, from Cedar Falls, IA [or maybe Cedar Rapids? My memory is a bit shady right now] had a good roots-rock meets punk rock sound, and I enjoyed their set. For a comparison, think a more straightforward Against Me! or "Jagged Thoughts"-era American Steel. Their stage presence was lacking, but I'd go see them again if they played around here.

In between bands, Moldy and I found the best thing to do ever - video strip poker! The back of Gabe's Oasis has one of those multi-game video consoles, and it definitely had strip poker. And we definitely rocked ass at it. This was a perfect lead in to the next band: Mad Happy.

I don't even know how on earth to describe Mad Happy. Take a guy who looked like Iggy Pop, a girl who looked like she'd been strung out on heroin for a bit too long, add two mics, a guitar, and a drum machine, and you have Mad Happy. Their style of rap-meets-funk-meets-ska was as bizarre as they come, but for some reason it worked. There's something in New Jersey's water, I guess [as that's where they're from]. Moldy bought their live DVD, and I can't wait to borrow it.

Then Slightly Paradise played. They were by the numbers emotional pop punk. They sucked. On an up note, a lot of hot girls came to watch their blandness [they were one of those bands]. On a down note, Moldy heckeled the band and all the hot girls gave us dirty looks, insuring that I had no chance with any of them. Anyway, they sucked, stay away from Slightly Paradise.

And finally, the Gadjits took the stage to maybe 2 dozen people. Did that stop them from pouring 110% into their 12-song set? Not one bit. The band's sound is one of 60s rock blended with influences of old soul, R & B, and the occasional ska upstroke. This is the fourth time I've seen them, and it was maybe the best time, too. Their sound is so incredibly cohesive it's insane. They all seem to be reading each other's minds when up on stage.

They opened with three new songs, and this salvo of new music knocked me for a loop. RCA Records really blew it when they let the band go earlier this year [for those of you who don't know, the Gadjits signed to RCA a little while ago, but after a label merger, were dropped like a bad habit]. The sound the band has falls into the whole "garage rock" category, but it is more fresh than anything coming out of New York.

The sent went on to include a bunch of material off their 2002 effort "Today Is My Day," and even reached back to their first album on Hellcat, playing "Beautiful Girl" [to the delight of Moldy].

Basically, the Gadjits rule. I can't think of many bands that I've seen recently that will put a smile on *everyone's* face in the crowd - this band's stage presence is next-to-none, and their musicianship is top notch. I can't understand why more people aren't fans of the Gadjits. If you know what's good for you, you'll become one, and fast.

Had the show been the Gadjits alone, I'd give it a 10. Due to the poor selection of opening acts and the non-existant crowd, it brought my rating down to a 7. I'd still recommend the Heartattacks and the Gadjits, though.

Shine [new song]
Black [new song]
Sixty-Eight [new song]
Someday Driver
Beautiful Girl
One Stones Throw From A Riot
This Could Be Permanent
Ex Ballerina
Walkin' [new song?]
We Were Right
Talkin' Bout My Demographic


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
amelie (May 12, 2003)

i wholly agree that the heart attacks and the gadjits are two great bands that are worth seeing. the gadjits even more so because they are one of the best live bands i have ever seen, whether it was an old school ska show or the new rock set. long live the gadjits!

Anonymous (May 7, 2003)

no, i saw mad happy twice (all ages, over 21) in des moines. form of rocket is a really great band though so it wasn't a complete waste.

Mikeshitter (May 5, 2003)

Unfashionable. Bugger.

Mikeshitter (May 5, 2003)

Have the Gadjits completely disowned "Wish We Never Met"? I like the new stuff, don't get me wrong, but it's kind of lost in a sea of average guitar bands, whereas the old stuff , unfasionable as it may be now, stood out a mile from most other ska bands.

maverick (May 5, 2003)

Wait, Grant, were you at this show?


Anonymous (May 5, 2003)

damn no bad gadjit? i think that song is really good i first heard it on a sampler tape i got at warped tour and it inspired me to buy one of their albums yeah that song is good

Anonymous (May 4, 2003)

i was 'the guy' all night when i saw mad happy trying to say i liked em, but really, they play forever and for too long, and its bad party rap, and the two of them dont need that van with a trailer, unless they fuck and want that extra seat for the wet spot, but probably not. And they rhyme party with bacardi, which is a cardinal sin up there with any rap rhyme involving finger lickin and any variation on colonels chicken.


Anonymous (May 4, 2003)


(pop-punky ska)


Anonymous (May 4, 2003)


yes, that was me. i thought that the original sarcastic intent would get through because it was written in all caps and featured several misspelled words.

the gadjits have switched styles and the ska kids get really pissy about it. so, i decided to lampoon their often illiterate attacks on the gadjits.

i guess i shouldn't overestimate the reading comprehension skills of the average guy who reads punknews.org.

Anonymous (May 3, 2003)

"if you aer in a ska band yuo are not alowed to play othre kinds of music"

fuk that shit! pietasters are one of the few ska bands that branched out into soul/funk/r&b successfully and always have a packed house in their hometown of d. C. Their new music blend kicks ass!!! as well as the ska!!

Anonymous (May 3, 2003)

I think the Gadjits just got bored with what they were doing. I maintain, the Gadjits are one of the best live bands around.

Anonymous (May 2, 2003)

listen to The Slackers if you want ska. They did jump to the next fad when ska died. They are still rockin' the ska!

Anonymous (May 2, 2003)

If you aer in a ska band yuo are not alowed to play othre kinds of music!1

Anonymous (May 2, 2003)

Yeah ska's pretty cool now because all the phoney bands like the gadjits left to start rock/emo/punk/hardcore/pop bands

Anonymous (May 2, 2003)

I'm sick of all the bands I like going mainstream, so I'm getting into ska cuz nobody is going fucking like it again.

Melvyl (May 2, 2003)

this review was funny as hell to read. thank you.

Anonymous (May 2, 2003)

we found the sex, i had the drugs, and the gadjits brought the rock and or roll

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