In case you haven't noticed, the genre of ska-punk has slowly but surely slipped back into a seat of importance. If Streetlight Manifesto's Everything Goes Numb wasn't the triumphant battle cry of the genre, then maybe the explosive rise of bands like Bomb the Music Industry! is clue enough. Ska-punk is back and it sounds better than ever.
Last week, Indianapolis was graced with four of the up-and-coming stars of the ska revival-revival. The evening started out with Fort Worth, TX ska-core band Detonate. Detonate sounded similar to ska bands past, namely Voodoo Glow Skulls, but with an extra dose of hardcore added into the mix. The next band to play was New Orleans band Fatter Than Albert. Aside from their goofball ska band name, their sound was very fresh. They exuded a vibe similar to that of the Rx Bandits, but without sounding like them. The crowd had swelled a bit more and was extremely blown away by the band. Their set included tracks from their stellar album Erin's Runaway Imagination, as well as new songs from their upcoming Community Records release.
Next up was Stuck Lucky who, also on Community Records, delivered a killer set of energetic ska-core songs. The ska kids naturally dug their rowdy sound and loud horn section. Highlights from their record Hate the Day of Light included the delightfully sinister "In Purgatory" and the wicked "Fall of Rome." Unfortunately, my sister got a flat tire outside of the show and I had to help her during most of SL's set, but the few songs I caught were energetic to say the least.
The room filled with eager kids as headliners We Are the Union started setting up their gear following Stuck Lucky's set. The mob erupted into a whirlwind of skanking as the band ripped into their opening song. The entire show was comprised of tracks from their killer debut album Who We Are. With minimal stage banter, the band delivered a solid performance of tracks like "MTV Is Over If You Want It" and "We're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat." The only glaring omission from their set was the highlight of Who We Are, the wonderful reggae-hardcore anthem "These Colors Flee the Scene." The band nearly made up for it, however, with a stunning, back-to-back rendition of "Your Allowance Exceeds My Rent" and "I'm Like John Cusack." The throng of kids blissfully sang along with the infectious outro of "John Cusack," which consists simply of "Every time I think about you / I think about how I have nothing." The band really knew what they were doing on stage. I sense big things for WATU in the near future.
To be honest, if you seriously don't enjoy ska-punk, then you probably won't like Detonate, Fatter Than Albert or Stuck Lucky, although you might appreciate their live energy. We Are the Union, on the other hand, should appeal to even ska-hating freaks, not to mention fans of hardcore and pop-punk. Their debut album is downloadable for free at Purevolume.com and it is a great listen. Also, for fans of ska, the entire Community Records roster is worth checking out. But at the end of the day, no record can stand up to a live set, so go see these guys live if you get the chance.