Rudi Can’t Die . . . Er, Fail
Ska just won’t die. Much like Jason Voorhies, the central character of the long-running horror flick institution Friday the 13th, the genre simply cannot be killed by conventional means. Just when you think it’s been vanquished in a ball of fire or exiled to the bottom of Crystal Lake for the last time, it returns — usually in comically gruesome fashion — to embark on an epic killing spree or do battle with a fellow slasher like Freddy Krueger . . . sometimes in space! Or is that Jason? I can never keep these things straight.
Though lacking the supernatural resurrection powers of the machete-wielding maniac, ska is remarkably resilient. Predating reggae by more than a decade, the genre was born in Jamaica during the late 1950s and tends to ebb and flow in popularity. Thought dead in the mid- to late 1960s as reggae and rock-steady rose to prominence, ska resurfaced in Britain in the late 1970s, fueled by the skinny-tie-and-pork-pie-hat-clad bands such as The Specials and The Selecter.
Ska was once again reborn in the 1990s as The Toasters — widely regarded as the keepers of the flame — led the charge, ushering in the genre’s third wave and paving the way for bands such as Skavoovie and the Epitones, Let’s Go Bowling and MU330. Then, almost as quickly as it reappeared, ska evaporated in a poof of bomber jackets, zoot suits and Moon SKA patches. Well, guess what? It’s baaaack!
On life support for roughly 10 years, ska appears to be on the threshold of yet another resurgence, and a local band is getting in on the ground floor.
Calling themselves Husbands, the Burlington-based ska-punk quintet is relatively new on the scene, but they seem poised to make — ahem — waves in the very near future.
Though they have little in the way of recorded material — a recording session at the newly minted Wasted City Studios is planned for the near future — Husbands have posted a few live tracks on their MySpace page. Fans of Operation Ivy or The Suicide Machines will find plenty to kick up their heels about. Ska purists — if there really is such a thing — will likely appreciate the group’s healthy nods towards genre godfather Desmond Dekker.
If you were going to book more than 50 bands to play on the same day on the same stage in Burlington, where would you do it? Higher Ground? That would make sense. Nectar’s and/or Club Metronome? It’d be tight, but you could probably do it. Memorial Auditorium? The acoustics suck, but it’s huge, so why not?
If you answered Radio Bean, you should have your head examined . . . What’s that? They did what? Really? Sweet Jesus.
OK, this just in: Radio Bean proprietor Lee Anderson has a few screws loose. That might not be news to anyone who’s followed his many artistic and entrepreneurial exploits over the years. But this takes the (birthday) cake.
Few things aside from dying leaves signal fall’s arrival more clearly than the annual Radio Bean Birthday Bash. Every year for the last . . . jeez, I don’t even know how long . . . pretty much every band in town has shown up on the first Saturday of November to pay tribute to the tiny hipster haven on North Winooski Ave., and this year is no exception.
Fittingly, Burlington’s reigning lords of lasciviousness, Party Star, kick things off at 8 o’clock in the morning. Word on the street is that the band will start partying at 8 the previous night and not stop until after their set this Saturday. Good thing the coffee is free all day.
Closing out the night will be Texas-bound psych-rockers The Cush, who are flying southwest for the winter in about a week. Catch ’em while you can.
And in between? One word: clusterfuck. I’m not kidding when I say that nearly every band in town is gonna be there, and so should you. The Jazz Guys, Swale, The Eames Brothers, assorted members of Phish — you name it, they’ll be playing at one of the craziest parties of the year. Happy birthday, Radio Bean!
I know, I know. Global warming is really bad. Unless we reverse our current course, the world is going to end in fiery cataclysm sometime late next week. But come on, 75-degree days in late October is pretty sweet. Even the most ardent environmental doomsayers had to enjoy the recent spate of Indian summer. However, climate crisis is a serious issue, and this is a serious music column . . . occasionally.
This Sunday, the national environmental activist group Step It Up is hosting a rally at Burlington’s Battery Park to raise awareness of the issue and challenge our government to take significant steps towards not screwing up the planet any further. I doubt they will listen. But they should, if only for the stellar musicians slated to perform — and maybe the political message, too.
In addition to local politicos such as rookie U.S. Representative Peter Welch, Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss and former Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin, local Americana duo Avi & Celia, folk guru Robert Resnik, James O’Halloran and The Sean Z Band and Inner Fire District’s David Symons and Tyler Bolles — yes, he’s related — are all scheduled to appear and lend their sonic support to the cause.
If, by some strange fluke of Limbaugh logic, you’re still not convinced that global warming is real, consider this: The rally is scheduled to be held outside. In November. In Vermont. An inconvenient truth, indeed.