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The Funhouse Hosts A Lively Night of Ska Featuring The Toasters, by Holly Homan

On Feb 1, Seattle’s Funhouse hosted a night of ska this time with New York’s the Toasters headlining.

Aside from bass player Tim, and of course front man Bucket, the members of the Toasters change with every tour. This doesn’t discount the level of musicianship in every member every show. This time the horn section (grillbert on tombone and nate on sax) were quite lively, doing little dances and pumping up the charisma. The drummer whose name was given as johnny K, looked great with a mohawk down the center of his head and a long ponytail dangling behind. He slammed away with madness and precision. The sound was impeccable. The band played many of their favorites like Two Tone Army, Weekend In LA and Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down, which Bucket dedicated to all the fu**ing politicians out there. He then encouraged everyone to rise up and organize as we have ‘a bumpy road ahead of us.’ That was an understatement.

The Toasters never disappoint and I will keep seeing them for as long as they want to continue playing here. Great ska band.

Preceding the Toasters was Seattle’s Kings. I haven’t seen the Kings in quite some time, but they put on as fun a show as they always do. Besides being a great ska band there’s an element of humor to their performance. Front man/keyboard player Ryan was very animated and energetic, with shaggy hair that and a partially shaved head. Guitar player Jens strutted about the stage as if it were on fire and the three-piece horn section (Shawn on sax, Ziko on trombone, and Christopher on trumpet) were busy out maneuvering each other with dance moves. They ended with a rousing, raunchy cover of Fear’s I Love Living In the City, which they got most everybody to sing along to. The rest of the Kings are, Jack on drums and Andrew on bass. Such a fun band!

Gracing the stage before the Kings was Simple Minded Symphony. This was my second time seeing them and I was just as impressed this time around. Simple Minded Symphony are babies. I doubt any of them is even 25, or maybe I’m just getting so old everyone looks like a baby now. But their youth belies their prowess. These guys are stellar musicians and charming to the last. I love this band. Simple Minded Symphony is, Kevin Silveria (Bass/Lead Vocals), Kaine Benson (Guitar), Jason Kincy (Alto Saxophone/Clarinet/Backing Vocals, Patrick Maxwell (Trumpet), Ryan Kinker (Baritone Ukulele/Auxiliary Everything/Scary Screams), Josh Servania (Drums/Cymbals/DRUMS), Dan “Danlee” Jordan Lee (Baritone Saxophone), Caleb “Foxy Grandpa” Fox (Bass trombone), Henry Sparks (Trombone).

Before Simple Minded Symphony was a band I saw for the first time called the Replicators. I was blown away by these guys. Their motto is, we’ll make your ears bleed honey, and that seems an apt enough description. Most the lead vocals were performed by Kristina. Her short cropped blonde hair and oversized glasses gave her somewhat of a school marm look. Plus she played a wicked trombone to boot and exuded a very flirtatious aura and belted out songs with energy and guts.

Guitarist Aron sang lead on occasion including a great cover of the Specials Gangster. At one point he jumped off the stage and mingled with the audience, never missing a lick. Lots of covers from this band including songs you never thought remotely related to ska like Elvis Costello’s Pump It Up. Yet these guys made it all work. I can’t wait to see them again. The rest of the Replicators are Scott on drums, Chris on cornet and Kyle on sax.

Starting the whole night off was one of my favorites It Gets Worse. Unfortunately I missed most their set, but did arrive in time to see them invite former member Dan up on stage for a lively rendition of Screeching Weasel’s Cool Club.

And thus another night of fine ska filled a Seattle club. Seattle has a great ska scene and this night was one of the finest.

Holly Homan

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