Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Duff Guide to Ska NYC Fall 2018 Ska Calendar #9

Scratch
Saturday, September 22, 2018 @ 8:00 pm

David Hillyard and The Rocksteady 7 - Record release show!

Hank's Saloon
46 Third Avenue (corner of Atlantic)
Brooklyn, NY

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Sunday, September 23, 2018 @ 8:00 pm

Israel Vibration and The Roots Radics Band

Sony Hall
235 West 46th Street, New York, New York
$26.50

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Saturday, October 13, 2018 @ 10:00 pm

Hub City Stompers, 45 Adaptors, Hekla

New Old Rock Deli/Blarney Stone
11 Trinity Place
New York, NY
$10 in advance/$15 day of show
21+

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Friday, October 19, 2018 @ 7:00 pm

Vic Ruggiero (of The Slackers), DJ Agent Jay, The Hempsteadys

The Kingsland
269 Norman Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
$10

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Friday, October 26, 2018 @ 7:00 pm

Big D and the Kids Table, BIGWIG, The Creepshow, Sgt. Scagnetti

Brooklyn Bazaar
150 Greenpoint Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
Tix: Advance - $15 / Day of show - $17
16+

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Saturday, October 27, 2018 @ 7:00 pm

Lee "Scratch" Perry and Subatomic Sound System: 45th Anniversary Performance of "Blackboard Jungle Dub"

Elsewhere
599 Johnson Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
$25/16+

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Thursday, November 8, 2018 @ 7:00 pm

Stacked Like Pancakes, Beat Brigade

The Kingsland
269 Norman Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
$10 in advance/$13 day of show
16+

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Saturday, November 17, 2018 @ 7:00 pm

Mustard Plug

Bowery Electric
327 Bowery
New York, NY
Tix: Advance - $14/Day of show - $16
21+

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Saturday, December 1, 2018 @ 8:00 pm

Streetlight Manifesto, Mephiskapheles

Playstation Theater
1515 Broadway (at West 44th Street)
New York, NY
$29.50/16+

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If you don't see a NYC ska show listed here, send us all of the details to duffguidetoska@gmail.com!

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Duff Review: Lee "Scratch" Perry "The Black Album"

Upsetter Records
CD/Double LP
2018

(Review by Steve Shafer)

On The Black Album, Lee "Scratch" Perry collaborates again with co-producer Daniel Boyle (who also recently worked with Max Romeo on his fantastic Horror Zone in Boyle's Black Ark-modeled Rolling Lion studio), since their initial foray--2014's Back on the Controls--garnered a Grammy nomination and great notices. As with that release, Boyle's and Perry's mission on The Black Album is to capture the sound and spirit of Perry's spectacular 1970's analog Black Ark productions (Upsetter keyboardist Robbie Lyn plays on many cuts here), which were exceptionally warm, organic, and had a vibrant immediacy, and featured otherworldly percussive and aural effects resulting from Perry's masterful, spur-of-moment inventive, and wildly unorthodox approach to music and studio production. And it will come as no surprise that they've accomplished all this again here on a terrific new set of roots reggae cuts and their excellent track-for-track dub versions.

According to the liner notes, during the recording of this album Perry referred to the sound as "black," which then needed "space, light, and darkness" to help give it form and definition--all of which implies that there's a necessary ying and yang type of harmony/balance for everything in creation (including the diversity of people). This point is perhaps best illustrated on the wonderful and most perfectly realized track on the album, "Your Shadow Is Black" (and accompanying dub!). It's a bright, mid-tempo reggae cut with flute, melodica, harmonizing back-up singers, and Perry singing/saying stream-of-consciousness lyrics (he even makes kissing sounds at an appropriate spot): "Whirlwind and fire/Dark shadow in the room/Love your shadow/Your shadow is black/Your shadow is mud/Your shadow is God..." The Old Testament reference to Sodom and Gomorrow (Gomorrah) and mention of an ominous dark shadow on the moon suggests that evil is amongst us always (as a contrast with the good and righteous), but also infers that there will be divine punishment for wicked doers (the Lot reference in "Your Shadow Is Black" made me look up Perry's work on The Congos' magnificent "Sodom and Gomorrow" to compare their productions and they're incredibly similar in sound and vision!).

The great, eerie album opener "Mr. Brown In Town" makes direct lyrical reference to the Glen Adams-penned Bob Marley and the Wailers song "Mr. Brown" (which versioned Jackie Mittoo's "Pennie Wallie" and was based on a rumor about a ghost "upsetting" everyone by riding around Kingston in a three-wheeled coffin with three crows riding on top asking for a Mr. Brown; Perry also sang about "Mr. Brown" on his 1998  "Dr. Lee PhD" collaboration with The Beastie Boys). Essentially, "Mr. Brown In Town" declares that Perry is back "on the street again," "I'm still alive/refuse to die," and asserts that rebels/devils in the poor, violent Back-o-Wall slum don't fear Mr. Brown (and at one point--message to the Resistance--when exhorting Mr. Brown the clown to get out of town, he inserts "Trump!" instead of Brown).

Other standout tracks include the (expected and) knowingly boastful/self-aggrandizing "Trendsetter" ("Lee Scratch Perry/Upsetting the universe") and "Captain Perry" ("...of the mothership/Captain Perry/Don't miss a trick")--and perhaps Scratch isn't a big fan of some forms of reggae (see: "Killing Dancehall Softly"). Perry mounts a more-than-credible defense of being a vegetarian on "Dead Meat": "666/Me no eat meat...I'm so crazy because I don't eat dead flesh...No cannibals/You gotta to believe in animals." (Just the other day, I saw a video of Perry singing to cows in a field...) I'm not completely sure of the message being conveyed on the amazingly upbeat "Solid State Communication" (Perry as the instrument of God's word?): "Genesis/Revelation/I'm the Bible/I'm black Jesus...I am the God of Creation/I am the Lord of the Lords/Solid as a rock/King of Kings/And Lord of Lords/Conquering Lion of Judah/Solid state logic communication/The Upsetter...I'm a computer!" Of course, few but Scratch can pull off something like this so spectacularly well.

At 83--in his sixth decade of continually making and producing groundbreaking music--Scratch continues to move forward, always creating and amazing all with the results. (May everyone be so fortunate in their own lives...) Needless to say, fans of Perry and roots reggae will be more than pleased with The Black Album.

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Monday, September 10, 2018

Duff Review: Lee "Scratch" Perry "Game of the Throne" EP

Byrd Out
12" vinyl EP
2018

(Review by Steve Shafer)

The three tracks on the Game of the Throne EP--which were licensed from Mad Professor's Ariwa label--appear to have originated from the same sessions that produced the recent Black Ark Classics in Dub album from Mad Professor and The Robotiks featuring Lee "Scratch" Perry. "This is the Upsetter" is a fairly straight-forward, but enjoyable dub version of Perry's 1968 rocksteady cut "The Upsetter"--his first release for Joe Gibbs' label after breaking with Studio One (and aimed at squarely at Clement "Coxsone" Dodd for not giving him enough credit and money for his productions for Dodd). More compelling are the dubs of the paranoid/grudge-filled "Evil Tongues" and fantastically left-field "Soul Fire" (both from Scratch's phenomenal 1978 Roast Fish Collie Weed and Corn Bread album), renamed here as "Lion's Share Dub" and "Game of the Throne." Surprisingly, "Lion's Share Dub" is devoid of spoken or sung commentary--no grievances aired here--but it's a terrific Black Ark-ish dub instrumental. The highlight of the EP is "Game of the Throne," which transforms this previously quirky (but awesome) track into one with a serious, danceable (!) groove that offers praises to Jah ("Lord of lords/King of kings/Word of words/God of gods") and invokes the sacrificial/cleansing religious aspects/connotations of fire with righteous Old Testament punishment ("God will be speedy/And burn all the greedy/And save the needy"). Perhaps not essential, but Perry obsessives will absolutely want this.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Duff Guide to Ska NYC Late Summer/Fall 2018 Ska Calendar #8

Friday, September 7, 2018 @ 7:30 pm

Rebellion Rises 2018 Tour Featuring Ziggy Marley, Steel Pulse, and Tribal Seeds

Pier 17
89 South Street
New York, NY
$40.50

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Sunday, September 9, 2018 @ 10:00 pm

Reggae Punky Latin in Bushwick ft. DJ Shabbakano and DJ Comardr3

Bootleg Bar
1438 Myrtle Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
No cover

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Friday, September 14, 2018 @ 6:00 pm

Rocks Off Booze Cruise with Goldfinger and Pilfers

Aboard the Liberty Belle
Board at Pier 36
299 South Street
New York, NY
Tix: Advance - $39.99/Day of show - $45
21+

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Saturday, September 15, 2018 @ 9:00 pm

Dubistry

Shrine
2271 Seventh Avenue/Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd. (between 133rd and 134th Streets)
New York, New York
No cover!

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Saturday, September 15, 2018 @ 10:00 pm

Move Your Mule Reunion

(Agent Jay, Li'l Jerk, Jonny Metro, Jah Point, Rata, and guest selectors will be dropping Ska, Reggae, and Rocksteady vinyl all night!)

Otto's Shrunken Head
538 East 14th Street (between Avenues A and B)
New York, New York
No cover!

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018 @ 9:00 pm

Black Uhuru

Highline Ballroom
431 West 16th Street
New York, NY
$25

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Saturday, September 22, 2018 @ 8:00 pm

David Hillyard and The Rocksteady 7 - Record release show!

Hank's Saloon
46 Third Avenue (corner of Atlantic)
Brooklyn, NY

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Sunday, September 23, 2018 @ 8:00 pm 

Israel Vibration and The Roots Radics Band

Sony Hall
235 West 46th Street, New York, New York
$26.50

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Friday, October 19, 2018 @ 7:00 pm

Vic Ruggiero (of The Slackers), DJ Agent Jay, The Hempsteadys

The Kingsland
269 Norman Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
$10

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Friday, October 26, 2018 @ 7:00 pm 

Big D and the Kids Table, BIGWIG, The Creepshow, Sgt. Scagnetti

Brooklyn Bazaar
150 Greenpoint Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
Tix: Advance - $15 / Day of show - $17
16+

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Saturday, October 27, 2018 @ 7:00 pm

Lee "Scratch" Perry and Subatomic Sound System: 45th Anniversary Performance of "Blackboard Jungle Dub"

Elsewhere
599 Johnson Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
$25/16+

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Saturday, November 17, 2018 @ 7:00 pm

Mustard Plug

Bowery Electric
327 Bowery
New York, NY
Tix: Advance - $14/Day of show - $16
21+

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If you don't see a NYC ska show listed here, send us all of the details to duffguidetoska@gmail.com!

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Monday, September 3, 2018

Help Save the London International Ska Festival!

Sean Flowerdew, organizer of the long-running London International Ska Festival (and member of such illustrious bands as The Loafers, Pama International, and Phoenix City All-Stars), has launched a crowdfunder to help keep the festival (whose very existence is being threatened by its debt burden).

I'll let Sean make his pitch below (do read it, please), but I do want to let you know that there are all sorts of simple and rewarding ways for you--ska fans worldwide--to help Save the London International Ska Festival. You could do this by donating £5 for a raffle to take place this October (with prizes ranging from a £250 voucher to Merc clothing, a 250 voucher to Modfather clothing, a Trojan Records bundle, a Greensleeves Records bundle, a Cherry Red Red Records ska bundle, tickets to LISF Clash tribute or 2 Tone Thames cruises, signed LPs from Lynval Golding, Toots Hibbert, Mad Professor, and others, a subscription to Do The Dog Skazine, and much more!); pre-ordering the fantastic new Rudies All Around 18-track international ska compilation (CD, LP, digital) or the much-antipated Clash Version Rockers by the Phoenix City All-Stars (both albums start shipping out around September 21, 2018); or if you're planning to be in London or live there, consider buying advance tickets for one of the LISF club nights or river cruises this fall!

I've already pre-ordered the Rudies All Around and Clash Version Rockers albums and am about to pick up one of those raffle tickets (since you've got to be in it to win it). The Save the London International Ska Festival crowdfunder campaign only lasts until September 18, 2018, so if you want to do your part, you really do need to act now.

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Sean Flowerdew: "I founded The London Intl Ska Festival in 1988. Since then we've celebrated all things ska, from its roots in mento, calypso and rhythm & blues and onward through its evolution into rocksteady, reggae, dub, 2 Tone, skapunk and beyond.

Since 2011 the festival has been operating with substantial debts, which despite some great support and fundraising still total over £50,000. In the last 8 years, although I haven't ever taken a penny from the festival or been paid for any of the work, I have been able to keep the festival going year to year and paying off debts as I go. This unfortunately has taken its toll and I can no longer afford to fund the festival by myself.

So I'm reaching out to ska lovers around the world, to people who see the importance of our historic festival and to all the people who have enjoyed the shows over the last 30 years.

The aim of this crowdfunder is to try and #SaveTheSkaFest and clear the historic debts once and for all. Then The London Intl Ska Festival can move forward and continue to programme world-class and world-exclusive shows. You can help in a number of ways.

You can donate using this campaign, or purchase any one of our rewards which include badges, our compilation CD & LP Rudies All Around (featuring 18 fantastic bands from 13 countries), or tickets for any one of our events (all listed in the rewards). I will also be adding some more rewards next week.

Over 30 years we have hosted some of the greatest names in the genre including 2 Tone members from The Specials and Madness, plus The Selecter, The Beat, Jerry Dammers and Rhoda Dakar. We've had Jamaican legends: Prince Buster, Alton Ellis, Delroy Wilson, U-Roy, The Skatalites (starring Tommy McCook, Roland Alphonso, Lloyd Knibb, Lloyd Brevett, Dizzy Moore and Lester Sterling), Lee Perry, Horace Andy, Desmond Dekker, Ken Boothe, Doreen Shaffer, Derrick Morgan, Laurel Aitken, Keith & Tex, Ken Parker, Rico Rodriguez, Derrick Harriott, Bob Andy, Marcia Griffiths, Dennis Alcapone, Dave & Ansel Collins, The Pioneers, The Clarendonians, Otis Gayle, Owen Gray, Freddie Notes, Stranger Cole, Ranking Joe, BB Seaton (Gaylads), Twinkle Brothers, Clive Chin (Randys), Gladdy Wax sound system, Vin Gordon and Channel One sound system.

And 100s more including; Steel Pulse, Misty In Roots, Judge Dread, Bitty McLean, Caroll Thompson, Christopher Ellis, Dreadzone, Zion Train, The Skints, Pama International, Don Letts, David Rodigan, James Hunter, The Pietasters, The Toasters, African Head Charge, Dennis Bovell, Gentlemans Dub Club, Babylon Circus, Dub Pistols, Brinsley Forde (Aswad), The Hempolics, Jazz Jamaica, Mad Professor, The Loafers, Potato 5, Hotknives, Ska Cubano, Wrongtom, Manasseh, Sonic Boom Six, Chris Murray, to name a very few.

We have hosted shows in iconic London venues including; the Victoria & Albert Museum, The Forum, 100 Club, The Astoria, The Brixton Fridge (now the Electric), O2 Academy Islington, Islington Assembly Hall, Dixie Queen paddle steamer, Camden's Dublin Castle, Jazz Cafe, Dingwalls, Electric Ballroom and Barfly.

I would love to continue the festival. The next one is in the diary for 18-21 April 2019. If you'd like to see The London Intl Ska Festival continue please support if you can afford to and share this campaign with anyone you know who loves ska!"

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