Words and photo by Nick Tavorek
Club Garibaldi’s was a different world on Friday night. Under the golden disco ball kids with porkpie hats, checkered ties, and bowling shoes talked and drank at every corner of the room. A Ska show is unlike any other show, and it’s not just the silly garb either.
The evening started as the seven members of the Socialites took their places on the cluttered stage and set up to perform their Bay View debut. Their set consisted of sketches of reggae and two-tone inspired songs, amplified through an animated band. Mid-set, they eased into a few covers, including Bob Marley’s “Mellow mood”, and the Slackers “Wasted Days”, yet even familiarity wouldn’t bring the audience from out of their chairs.
Half of the fun came from watching them explore the stage. The singer swung from side to side as the keyboardist struck the keys like they were hot to the touch, creating staccato chords and melodies. As the trombone player took her turn at vocals on a good song, that turned better when the double-time chorus came in, it became clear that this was the standout of their set.
As The Invaders took to the stage, the audience left their tables and shifted towards the front. They started with a set of songs from their latest release, and within minutes had everyone up in the front shakin’ legs. With a following like this, it was unsurprising that the audience knew nearly every word to every song.
“Over the End” sounded about as melancholy as a Ska song allows it to be, whereas the classic “Shame and Scandal,” had nothing but smiles around the room.
“See what I have to deal with in practice”, announced lead singer Max Wisniewski after the band busted into a sexed-up version of “Rollercoaster” between songs. That however didn’t stop him from singing along, falsetto and all.
By the end of the night, sweat was dripping from beards, tables were turned, and the audience was swooning in unison. And it became apparent: If Ska never gets its fourth wind, there will always be bands like the Invaders – catering to a room full of fans that shout the lyrics to all their songs and skank until the bar closes.