Ska Weekend '07 has now gone, the anticipation ended for the little time it takes us to start imagining who is going to play next year. I have to say, driving away, we probably all were already looking forward to Ska Weekend '08. My face is a lovely bright red while my hair is more annoying than usual. The hair is a whole other post, but the tiny bit of rain that fell on us certainly gave it a whole new flair. The face is because, while I did put sunscreen on the boys and even on my tattoo (still newish) I did not in fact put any anywhere else on me. I considered it, but decided on not.
I think you could have guessed easily which of us were locals when the first few drops of rain spattered to the ground. We were the ones looking up into the sky, hoping it would continue to fall into our faces while simultaneously hoping the heaviest downpour would at least hold out the couple of hours left. It rained just enough, and we got lucky at least so far as it not turning into steam and cooking us like Asian dumplings.
We didn't see all the bands we'd been looking forward to. At least one band escaped us as we left the festival to walk a half block to eat. The Slackers were as good as ever as was Mustard Plug, though I'll admit that for most of Mustard Plug's set I was in the shop of a friend, peering at the stage from her back door. We missed the performance by Dr. Ring Ding who, hailing from Germany, had the longest drive of anyone. We also missed Last Martyrs of a Lost Cause.
My personal favorite would be a tie between Chicago's Deals Gone Bad and DC's Pietasters. The Pietasters have long been a favorite band, and Deals Gone Bad, new to us last year, have become a household favorite. Big Brother does love to sing along with the dirty song, though he doesn't quite get the lyrics. Big Brother and I were even able to say "HI" to DGB's singer and thank him for the show. Mentioning favorite bands, in a close third (or second assuming DGB and the Pietasters tied for first) we have to mention Westbound Train, soulful ska band that just can't help but make you feel good.
I haven't yet tried to find any stats about the show. The show is a fundraiser for a local organization, Second Harvest, that works to feed people throughout our area. In addition to the money, canned food donations are encouraged, so of course we always bring a couple bags of food.
On hand were the usual visitors and ska lovers, the random kid trying to emulate the mods of the Two Tone era, the skinheads and even the skinhead couples with children, the kids whose ska style seems to have developed more as a love for the checkerboard motif and oddly enough the random emo kid. I wanted, after cutting their hair, to ask them how emo kids could possibly stand the happiness that is inherent at any ska show, much less a huge 30 band ska festival. But I didn't. And it should be mentioned that the skin heads one sees at the ska show are not the ruthless and racist asshole skins we've all come to know and loathe, but I'm not the least bit a skin and won't here regale you with the history of the original skins in Europe and their working class roots. Seriously, real skins are not racist, but the racist copy cats have made them all look bad, quite undeserved for the most part. Which is not to say that I feel for the skins, because quite apart from the racism thing, they certainly don't seem too concerned with de-muddying their image.
And I'm letting this be my own little review. LINK HERE to the story by a local guy for our local alternative newsweekly, no names I'm afraid unless you read the story. But I was also fortunate to see the writer at the show and thank him for the piece.
So, I can rearrange my Myspace profile and move some of the bands from my top friends in order to make it all about people I really know in real life as well as the ever present derby. I can also start making plans to make plans for next year.