YUAIs bring in ska bands for annual concert

Campbell, Annicka

Last Saturday, the YUAI community sponsored the 12th annual day-long ska concert, Skappleton. Beginning at 12:30 pm and headlined by Suburban Legends, Deal’s Gone Bad, and The Know How, Skappleton lasted nearly 10 hours, and brought over 700 ska fans to the Buchanan Kiewit Rec Center. Other bands, such as Umbrella Bed, Stereo 7, I Voted for Kodos, Something to Do, Catch of the Day, Hired Geeks, The Fallout, Tusker, Urizen, Duct Tape Moustache, and Stamp’d played throughout the afternoon.
By my estimation, most of the people milling around outside of the grill were between the ages of 8 and 16, with very few Lawrence students in attendance. Freshman Jen Cox said, “The show was great, and it’s great for campus… more LU students should have gone, but just like any show, you’re going to get people who just don’t go because they don’t like the music.”
Deal’s Gone Bad, a 9-piece outfit from Chicago, played second to last. Their sound combined the rocksteady style of Second Wave ska with pub rock, sounding as if The Pogues decided to make the leap across the pong from Ireland to the Midwest and start a ska band. It was refreshing to watch Deal’s Gone Bad play traditional, gritty ska that wavered between Motown and The Slackers, rather than the flashy pop-punk-with-horns sound that most of Saturday’s bands favored.
The most popular band on the ticket, Suburban Legends, took to the stage around 10 p.m. Suburban Legends sounded a little too much like Reel Big Fish for my own taste, and looked a little too much like Maroon 5. But every member of the crowd was into their choreographed moves and extremely high energy. I did some research on the band after the show, and read on their website that Suburban Legends have performed over 962 perfectly choreographed shows in 2002… at Downtown Disney, in Orlando, Florida. Interesting.
It’s difficult to hear any musical connections between the bands at Skappleton and the British bands that made ska famous in the late ’70s, like The Specials and Madness. But in a strict sense, ska has always been a fusion. Half a century ago, it was a fusion of Jamaican rhythms with American jazz and R&B, favored by working-class ‘rude boys.’ In 2005, ska stands for something very different, but is still a fusion of sorts between pop and punk rock. And at the end of the day, if the kids like it and have fun, I think it’s alright.