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Seattle’s Funhouse Hosts New York’s The Toasters for a Fun Night Of Ska, by Holly Homan

24885401821_66b19bb161_zTuesday night February 9 marked the annual return of ska masters The Toasters. They embarked immediately on long time favorites, “I’m Running Right Through the World” and “Pirate Radio,” but it was when they played “Weekend In LA” that the dance floor really lit up. I didn’t see a still body on that dance floor. The dancing never really let up much after that either. That held true even when they played “Decision At Midnight,” a slower song.

When introducing the song “Bastards,” front man and driving force behind the Toasters, Bucket, dedicated to all the politicians. The whole band gave me a thumbs up for wearing my Bernie shirt.

Though this seemed to be the last song, the band never really left the stage. They just hung out at the back while the audience yelled, “Uno mas” over and over until Bucket came to the mic to goad them until the rest of the band returned for “Two Tone Army.”

The Toasters are always a treat and this night was no exception.

Preceding the Toasters was Seattle’s own ska group The Kings. It’s been awhile since Ive seen them, but tonight they were full of surprises. Vox player Ryan does all the lead vocals and is just this side of zany. The further into the set, the whackier the whole band became. The bass player (Andrew) often flitted about the tiny stage, swapping places with Ziko the trombone player. The Kings are now one of my favorite local ska bands (and Seattle has many). They put on a fine performance as always. The other members of The Kings are, Jack on drums (he thrashed like a maniac), Jens on guitar (never stood in one place for more than a split second), and Adam on trumpet.

Prior to The Kings was another of my favorites, It Gets Worse, who only seem to get better and better. They began their set with the horn section (Andrew Adams- Trombone Frank Smith- Tenor Sax Peter Fink – Trombone) playing The Death March. They’d barely gotten half into their set when the two trombone players leaped off the stage and engaged in a light saber fight right on the dance floor, much to the amusement of everyone around them. Besides laying down some mighty fine ska music, It Gets Worse combines a lot of humor and just plain wackiness into their set and I always enjoy them to the max. The other members of It Gets Worse are James Sweazea- Bass, Vocals JR Sorrells- Drums Eric Stallard- Lead Guitar.

Prior to It Gets Worse was another Seattle ska band, The Pimpsons. Besides getting points for most creative name, these guys get points for being a total awesome band as well. They played some pure ska reminiscent of Sublime — mostly slow and steady, but packed a punch like a slow moving freight train. There was great energy in this four piece band. Members are: Jake Carden – guitar, vocals; Tyson Klassen – bass; Dan Schmidt – keyboards; Drew Shreve – drums.

Starting the whole evening off was another local band called Echo Shot. Again, I heard elements of Sublime, but they also lit into some heavier punkish sounds. They got the dance floor moving and even had people coming in from outside when they did a cover of Monkey Man. This band has a lot of charisma and great energy and I hope to see them play some more.

Another fun night of ska went down in Seattle.

Holly Homan

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