Sunday, April 26, 2015

Roddy Radiation, The Scotch Bonnets, and Rude Boy George at Fontana's in Manhattan on 4/25/15

(Words and video by Steve Shafer)

I arrived a bit later to this gig than had planned, so I was bummed to find that I had missed The Scotch Bonnets' opening set, as I'm a huge fan of their ska/rocksteady/soul sound. The Scotch Bonnets' two records--the Live Ya Life album and their Quest EP with HR of Bad Brains--are two of the best releases the American ska scene has produced in recent memory. However, I did catch them backing Roddy Radiation, as he played a batch of tracks he penned for The Specials ("Rat Race," "Concrete Jungle," "Hey Little Rich Girl"--dedicated to Amy Winehouse, who covered it--and "Bonediggin'" off Guilty 'til Proved Innocent, as well as Lynval Golding's "Do Nothing," which is one of my favorite Specials' songs, hands down) and some of his terrific skabilly cuts from 2011's Blues Attack, like "Another Rusty Nail" and "Judgment Day." Roddy was in fine form, playing his guitar with dramatic rockabilly flourishes (and introducing each song with a little story about it), while the excellent Scotch Bonnets kept everything firmly grounded in bubbling and propulsive, R and B-tinged ska. While the crowd wasn't as nearly large as it should have been for such a quality pairing (what's up with that, NYC ska massive?), Roddy and the Bonnets nonetheless put on damn fine and satisfying show, one worthy of a much larger audience. (Roddy Radiation and The Scotch Bonnets are currently on a tour of the US Midwest and South for the remainder of April and first half of May--watch the videos below for a preview and make sure to catch them if they come to your town!)

While I've had to significantly dial down my participation in Rude Boy George, due to family and work commitments, I'm still partially involved in the band (and even was asked to come on stage to sing during their version of "Kids in America"). So, while I can't really review their set here, I'll let these two videos convey how amazing they were last night and why they deserve your love.

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