Sunday, December 2, 2012

2012: The Year in Ska - Michelle Ska

Editor's Note: As the end of the calendar year sneaks up on me--as it always does, since the fall is always so damn busy!--I always scramble around to put together my "best of" lists of the ska singles, albums, reissues, books, etc. that I really enjoyed over the past year and want to highlight for all the ska fans out there. But I also thought it might be interesting to feature some other opinions, so I approached a diverse group of ska musicians, bloggers, DJs, and label heads to find out what their favorite ska things were in 2012. And thus the "2012: The Year in Ska" series was born! Thanks to everyone who is taking the time to participate--I really appreciate it!

First up, appropriately enough, is New York City mega ska fan Michelle Ska, who--when not attending almost every ska show from Boston to Washington, DC (you think I'm kidding)--runs and the NYC Ska Calendar.

2012: The Year in Ska - Michelle Ska

Top 5 Favorite Ska Releases 

1) Candy Coasted Fury by Reel Big Fish. A full-length studio album was way overdue by these guys, but well worth waiting for. The album is exactly what you'd expect from the band and grew on me immediately. I've never once felt I've overplayed any ska album, but anyone else next to me would say otherwise about this one.

2) The Radio by The Slackers. Though it's all cover tunes, The Slackers make some of the songs better than the originals.

3) The Forthrights by The Forthrights. I immediately fell in love with this band. The music is great, the musicians are great, and their shows are fun as hell. I HAD to have this.

4) Higher Guns by Void Union. Super talented musicians putting out their second album!??! You don't have to ask me twice.

5) God Bless Satan by Mephiskapheles. Yeah, I've had this album since day one, but it was just reissued from Jump Up. This means with more folks being exposed to such a great band, another generation of kids will be corrupted once again. That makes me feel good.

Top 5 Favorite Live Ska Shows

Hands down, #1 was The Pietasters booze cruise in NYC on 8/10. Every year, The Pietasters have a cruise, but this year is landed on the DAY of my birthday.

Coming in a strong 2nd place was The English Beat show at Stage One in Fairfield CT on 3/31. It was the exact day of The Beat's 33rd anniversary and Dave gave me the honors of popping the champagne bottle for the band.

The #3 show was the Mephiskapheles Tribute/Reunion show at the Underground Lounge in NYC on 4/10. BOYYYY that was amazing to hear Meph again after 10+ years. For those folks who were part of the NYC ska scene in the mid-90s, Meph was at the top….dare I say, gods???

#4 would have to be Fishbone at Stage One in Fairfield CT on 5/20. Frontman Angelo Moore had knee surgery this year, it became infected and he had emergency surgery again. This was the first show that he played in the area, post-surgery. He rested on a seat for half the set, but was still a trooper. I asked about the future of the band at that show and Angelo said Fishbone is going to continue to play until the day comes that they can't.

And I have a tie for 5th place: Westbound Train at Webster Hall NYC on 1/6 tied with Big D and the Kid's Table at Stanhope House on 4/27. WBT, because it was their 10th anniversary, which might I add Gideon reminded me, "You said 7 years ago when WBT puts in 10 years that you'd get a tattoo of the band!" When they play more than once a year, I'll actually consider it. It tied with that Big D because that was the first show in the area for those guys after their singer Dave McWane was diagnosed with throat cancer, fought back, and came back cured. Seeing and even talking to him, you'd never know that that ever happened.

Wow, that wasn't easy.

Top 5 Favorite Ska Merch

#1 is definitely the embroidered band patches that I finally bought to complete the most awesome flight jacket EVERRRRR. If you know me, you've seen the jacket. Seriously, museum quality. It's truly an epic jacket and so proud to represent all the bands I love.

#2 is the dark green Bosstones shirt I bought on their summer tour. It took a while for the images to phase me, but was super happy the devil on the front was cooking a lobster (one of my favorite foods that I happen to eat every time I go to Boston). While at the same time, I was very confused that the design on the back was a trumpet (there's not a trumpet player as a regular part of the band in its entire history). Looking at the shirt makes me feel bipolar.

#3 getting a Less Than Jake 20th anniversary guitar and bass pick. Sure I woo over the fact that my favorite rockstar Chris DeMakes touched the guitar one, but I like that it has the 20th anniversary logo on one side and the other side says "20 years and all I got is this lousy guitar pick." I love their sense of humor.

#4 is my Big D and the Kids Table flag. It's simple black and white checkers with their logo. I like that it's simple. I got all the guys to sign it and it's one of the few things I have hanging on my wall.

#5 is The Pietasters making a fitted girl's tee that had their logo all sparkly. When I squeeze it on, my breasts end up making me look like a porn star. I'm starting to think that was their goal all along.

Top 5 Ska Regrets

#1 is easily is missing the Mephiskapheles/Inspecter 7 NYC booze cruise on 10/26. I only ever miss a show for another show and didn't go because The Pietasters were headlining the Skalapalooza Tour. Pietasters trumps every other band band for me, but it killed me not to go to Meph and I7. Seeing them each on their own again is fanfreggintastic, but to have both of them play at the same show!?! On a boat!?!?! In NYC!?!?! Yeah, I hate myself for that.

#2 was The Slackers Boston booze cruise that was on 7/20. I had my ticket. I had it all mapped out, who I was going to stay with, what I was going to be doing when I was drunk. I had it SO well planned….except for the torrential storm that started literally a block from my apartment after loading up my motorcycle. I sat under a carport for hours watching the rain and the time go by. That sucked.

#3 wishing to show Rome from Sublime with Rome my middle finger at their Williamsburg Park show on 8/24. I waited….and waited…and waited for my favorite song and I finally hear Rome say, "This is our last song and it's not "Santeria."" It was a freggin cover tune!!!! Talk about a slap in the face. He knew fans were waiting for it and there was no, "I'm sorry" or "Oops, we *accidentily* ran out of time." NO. Those bastards.

#4 I regret not getting my ass on time to the outdoor Fishbone show at BAM on the afternoon of 6/27. I left my apartment at a good time to make sure I'd see the entire show. I rode all over Brooklyn on my motorcycle looking for where the stage was and not finding it….until 2 hours later. At least, I got to catch the last three songs, but man, was I pissed!!! I HATE driving in Brooklyn.

#5 Not punching the a$hole in the face who was throwing pennies at Less Than Jake's singer/guitarist Chris Demakes during their set at the Trocadero in Philly on 2/17. I already punched a girl in the face for hitting DeMakes a couple years ago. No one…and I mean NO ONE touches my musicians. You got that!??!?!

Top 5 Ska Wishes for 2013

1) More reunions, namely Skavoovie and the Epitones, like the rumors said.

2) Another US ska festival with the line-up as stellar as the ones from the International Ska Circus in 2006 and 2007.

3) To see Go Jimmy Go play in their hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii. I won't be coming back, if so.

4) Finally getting around to The Slackers, Less Than Jake, and Westbound Train tattoos that I've had planned now for over 5 years.

5) To see Prince Buster live and The Busters live. The only two bands I have left to see before I can die happy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Saturday, May 31 and Sunday, June 1, 2014 Apple Stomp 2 CANCELLED!

Apple Stomp 2 The So-called NYC Ska Fest was Cancelled Due to Low ticket sells and the Very successful NYC SKA Boycott Against Live Nation!

LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! LOL !!!!