California’s Voodoo Glowskulls Headline A Night Of Great Ska Bands, by Holly Homan

On Tuesday January 10 Seattle’s El Corazon hosted the return of the Voodoo Glowskulls. With a stellar ska lineup playing that night.

Hailing from Riverside, California, the Voodoo Glowskulls returned to Seattle after more than a two-year absence. The Skulls were the fifth band of the night and though the intimate El Corazon was sparsely filled at the beginning of the night (those who showed up late missed some awesome acts), by the time the Skulls hit the stage, the place was packed. Front man/vocalist Frank Casillas came out wearing his usual mask, which he peels off after the first song.

Shoot the Moon (sung in both English and Spanish) followed and there wasn’t a still body in the house. When they performed their version of the old Coasters song Charlie Brown (I think their version is better than the original) I felt myself get slammed against the stage quite a bit and when Frank yelled the words, “Why’s everybody always picking on me,” he held the mic into the crowd for everyone to shout along. Charlie Brown was followed by Insubordination, another of my favorite and the slamming continued unabated as it did for Fat Randy (also sung partially in Spanish).

Trombone player Dan Albert (who also played for Buck O Nine earlier in the evening) almost stole the show. When not blowing his horn, he performed dance moves, crouched half way to the floor and bounced back up again frequently.

This time the Skulls didn’t end with their usual Say Goodnight, though that song was performed late in the show. They ended with Band Geek Mafia before leaving the stage, but then returning for a three song encore. The Skulls are a band to be played loud and I always have tons of fun going to see them. The rest of the Voodoo Glowskulls are Eddie Casillas on guitar, Jorge Casillas on bass guitar, AJ Condosta on drums and Mark Bush on trumpet.

Prior to the Skulls was a band I’d never seen nor heard of. The Porkers hail from Australia and were non-stop fun. They were fronted by the very charismatic Pete Cooper who bounced and strutted about the stage. Their drummer (Kye Smith) looked eerily similar to a young Freddie Mercury. They fused a lot of elements of rap and pop but were definitely a ska band. Lots of great energy in the Porkers and I hope to see them return to Seattle and do their own show. They were fabulous. The rest of the Porkers are, Phil ‘Bigfil’ Barnard – sax, David Gale – Guitar, Mike Pittman – bass, Dave Berry – trombone.

Before the Porkers was a band I’ve been waiting to see for at least a decade. That was Buck O Nine. I’ve been a fan of their music since I can’t even remember and seeing them finally do a live show was like a dream come true. They didn’t disappoint. Buck O Nine boasted a three-piece horn section. Vocalist/front man Jon Pebsworth bounced about the stage like a rubber ball. They opened with Round Kid and it was non-stop energy throughout their entire set. When not blowing their horns, said horn players were doing fancy dancing often choreographed and outdid each other with leaps and bounds. It was trumpeter Tony Curry who nearly stole the show and when he took off his shirt it was be still my heart. He was sexy to the max. I sure hope Buck O Nine comes back and comes back soon. I’d hate to have to wait another decade plus to see them again. And next time they come I hope they headline a show so I can see them play longer. The rest of Buck O Nine is, Craig Yarnold alto/tenor sax, Dan Albert t-bone, vocals, Jonas Kleiner guitar, Andy Platfoot bass guitar, and Steve Bauer on drums.

Before Buck O Nine was one of my favorite Seattle ska outfits, It Gets Worse. January has barely begun and I already got to see It Gets Worse twice. I consider this a privilege. It Gets Worse have added a very charismatic female vocalist (Chelsea Crispin), who this time wore shredded jenas with a red sticker across her right thigh with the words Duck Frump. When she wasn’t belting out songs she was dancing about the stage. It Gets Worse also sported a dancing horn section which also was often choreographed. Always the showman, bassist James Sweazea, did somersaults on the stage, whipped his shoulder length hair about and constantly did crazy things. It Gets Worth is always a treat to watch. The rest of It Gets Worse is, JR Sorrells- Drums, Eric Stallard- Lead Guitar, and Andrew Adams- Trombone, Frank Smith- Tenor Saxophone, Peter Fink – Trombone, Michael Turner Anderson (MTA)- Baritone Saxophone and Sam Trowbridge- Trumpet

Opening the entire night was another local ska band, Simple Minded Symphony. Their FB page says they’ve been a band since 2010 so they had to have started while still in high school because these guys were young. Really they looked like they were still high school age. This did not inhibit their prowess in playing music. They proved to be stellar musicians and very comfortable being on stage. Kevin Silveria, lead singer (and bass player), told short stories before some of the songs and did so with the utmost charm. I will absolutely keep my eyes peeled for any future Seattle gigs from Simple Minded Symphony. The rest of the band includes Kaine Benson (guitar), Jason Kincy (alto sax/clarinet/backing vocals), Patrick Maxwell (trumpet), Ryan Kinker (baritone ukulele/scary screams), Josh Servania (Drums/drums/DRUMS), Dan “Danlee” Jordan Lee (bari sax), Caleb “Foxy Grandpa” Fox (trombone) and Henry Sparks (trombone).

Seattle has again proven it has an abundance of ska fans and the Voodoo Glowskulls are a favorite. The entire night was filled with stellar, very entertaining bands.

Holly Homan

Comments are closed.