Ska favorites The Toasters play the Webster Theatre

By on February 20, 2003

The Toasters, one of the first American ska bands, brought their third-wave brand to the Webster Theatre in Hartford on Feb. 7.

With them were newer Boston ska group Big D and The Kids Table, Rhode Island’s Monty’s Fan Club and Connecticut’s own, SugarFist.

SugarFist was first on the bill. Their eclectic sound is a blend of funk, jazz, hardcore and ska. Not many bands can pull off mixing these different genres, and even fewer can sound good. SugarFist is not one of the few. They sound like a cross between Slayer and Save Ferris, two sounds that definitely should not go together.

Playing to a crowd of 20 people isn’t easy, and the twenty people there weren’t making it any easier. It was hard to tell over all the booing and the screams telling them to get off the stage, but it sounded like at least one member of the band had a great voice.

Jenn Jacobs was the only bright spot in the band; she has the stereotypical female punk-ska voice, and provided a stage presence that wasn’t a gimmick.

Next up and playing to a much larger crowd was Monty’s Fan Club, a six-piece punk-ska band from the Ocean State.

Like the bulk of Northeastern punk-ska ensembles, Monty’s has great stage presence. Add to that a flaming trumpet, an “I (expletive) Avril” t-shirt with a necktie and you have instant audience participation.

Monty’s set consisted of several crowd favorites including “TKO,” an instrumental song that let the band showcase their musical talents.

They closed their set with “Ska Sucks,” an ode to anybody and everybody that won’t give ska music a chance, a common theme in third wave punk-ska music. Monty’s set was very tight set and the crowd let them know it.

Big D and The Kids Table, a newer ska band from Boston, Mass., took stage before the Toasters. They started off with “Checklist,” a fast song with a blaring horn section letting everybody at the Webster know they were in for a great show.

As usual, after the first song the set list went out the window. They asked the crowd what they wanted to hear, and then they played it. This assures that the crowd gets what it wants, everybody leaves happy.

Playing songs off their several albums, extended players and split discs, they played what the crowd wanted to hear.

A few of the many were “She Won’t Ever Figure it Out,” “Jeremy,” “Wailing Place” and “Those Kids Suck.”

The standout song of the night for Big D was “LAX” an angry song regarding all the fake and shallow people in Los Angeles and around the world.

After a short set up time, The Toasters came on stage with all-around smiles. Together since 1982 has not jaded them to playing live music.

They still seem to love touring and putting out records on their label, Moon Ska Records, not to mention loyal fans who have stuck with the band over the years.

Although they didn’t jump and scream onstage like most bands, they still had stage presence. While they were on stage, you couldn’t look away.

The Toasters’ crowd favorite was “Don’t let the Bastards Drag You Down,” and the band and the crowd sang together as one. Another standout song was “Shocker,” which got the crowd moving once and for all.


About Mike Vincenti