Concert Review 3/20/15
As the evening grew later, the music got more... what's the word I'm looking for? ...respectable? eh. ...organized? not exactly. ...accessible? hmm. Well, let me explain. In short, The Sexy Teenagers opened the show with an almost straight-up punk set. Keaton followed doing the power punk thing, while Mrs. Skannotto headlined with their awesome punk ska sound. Not sure what word describes that progression, but I'm certain it exists.
As is my habit, I arrived at the announced time, eight o'clock. It still hasn't kicked in that the shows don't start until nine-ish, but it does give me time to get my camera settings, find good angles and potentially meet band members and talk to them ahead of the show. I also usually get a couple/few shots of the band tuning up in better light than during the show. I did get to meet Mrs. Skannotto's trumpeter Justin Lloyd and enjoy a tasty beverage (Killian's Irish Red) before evening began. Flower City Station doesn’t have a lot of beers, but they do have Guinness and Killian’s on tap, which makes up for a multitude of brewed sins (anything by Coors or Anhueiser-Busch, for example.)
Mrs.Skannotto, despite being a national act, touring with acts like The Toasters and other ska or punk acts, is local to me, hailing from Rochester, NY. Rochester may not be Nashville or Austin, but we've got a thriving music scene and some excellent facilities. Metallica recorded Kill 'Em All here, Lou Gramm of Foreigner calls Rochester home, and our International Jazz Festival is a pretty big deal. Mrs. Skannotto is spending some time at home not only to rest, but also to record a new album, to hopefully be released in June-ish (look for an advanced review on this site.)
Anyway, once the show got started, it got going good. The Sexy Teenagers put on a fun show. They may not be teens, and I don’t know if they’re sexy (that’s for their girlfriends to figure out, I suppose), but they play some entertaining punk, I’ll tell you. Along with the music, they enjoy dishing out some truly crappy jokes – it’s part of their charm.
Keaton, another local act, cranked out the power punk and really got things hopping. These guys know their audience, and know their licks, and ratcheted up the fun factor, getting the crowd involved and moving, hopping, and yes, even a bit of moshing to the beats. As a guy toting a nice Nikon around, I had to be a bit careful, but I didn’t mind; the show was fun. It was nice being at a well-attended show for once.
Once Keaton finished, Mrs. Skannotto took the stage and cranked out about 45 minutes of pounding, bouncing, hopping entertainment-first ska. Between older songs and new, they churned out a ton of ska, but the highlight of the show had to be “Phantom Pain,” a tune that rocks and will get an entire room moving. I’m not entirely sure what all I expected, never having attended a ska show before, but I got the fun I expected, even if I was surprised at how few members of the band there were. (I guess I also expected zoot suits or matching skinny-tie suits or something that screamed “swing.” I didn’t get that, but that’s OK… it feels like only survivors of the 80s glam era give a crap about that sort of stage-show thing much anymore – at least outside the world of Top-40, that is.) That much sound, I expected more people on stage – more guitars, more horns. That six guys make that much musical noise is impressive. That the music is that good, even more so. Whether you know the tunes or not (and you should get to know the tunes – Mrs. Skannotto makes some awesome tunes) a Mrs. Skannotto show should not be missed, if you get the opportunity. Being among the few active, touring ska bands left, missing out would be a wasted skapportunity.