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Big D & the Kid’s Table Headline A Fun Night Of SKA Music at Seattle’s El Corazon, By Holly Homan

On Sunday night June 11 I had the extreme pleasure of seeing Boston’s ska band, Big D & the Kid’s Table do a show at Seattle’s El Corazon. This time they were commemorating the tenth anniversary of the release of their iconic album Strictly Rude, which they performed in its entirety (among other songs).

They hit the stage opening with Steady Riot which immediately reignited the circle pit that had been going all night. Front man David McWane bounced all over the stage as if his limbs were made of rubber. His shock of shaggy blond hair was covered almost the entire show with a black ska hat with the word RUDE crudely printed on the side in what appeared to be white chalk. He was all charm and all energy.

Gracing each side of the stage were banners attached to amps. One read Refugees and Immigrants Welcome Here while the other read No Ban No Wall.

When David introduced their song Try Out Your Voice he reminded everyone how important it was to stay involved in politics and lamented that no one seemed to listen to his pleas (judging by the outcome of the last election, I sadly agree with him).

Big D. play a unique blend of ska mixed with some rap, mixed with some punk. All their songs are danceable and judging by the constant movement of the audience, I am not alone in that sentiment. They came back for an encore of LAX, which energized the circle pit once more. I think I’ve seen them five or six times including a couple times at Warped Tour and I’ll see them another five or six times given the chance. They are one fun band.

The rest of Big D are, Alex Stern (guitar), Ben Basile (bass), Derek Davis (drums), Jonathan Degen (saxophone), Logan La Barbera (trombone), Ryan O’Connor (saxophone), Casey Gruttadauria (organ)

Preceding Big D was a band I’ve known of for some time but have never seen. That band is Left Alone. This California quartet is fronted by the very spunky Elvis Cortez, who moved about the stage non-stop as he belted out ska/punk/pop songs with great succession. Jam White swapped out between a bass guitar and a stand-up bass and added to the band’s three-part harmony. There was so much energy in this band I was surprised I didn’t see sparks fly off the stage. I will definitely see them again. The rest of Left Alone are Ben Shaw Drums Pablo Fiasco Organ.

Before Left Alone was a band I looked forward to seeing, Doped Up Dollies. Doped Up Dollies is a band founded by David McWane which basically consists of the members of Big D with three very charming and lovely young female singers (Sirae Richardsone, Brie Finn, Erin MacKenzie) all dressed alike in shirt dresses and black tennis shoes (two of them wore black Vans shoes while one wore black low top Chuck Taylors). David McWane performed percussion duties (bongos, tambourine among others) and also additional vocals. But the spotlight was on the three women. They reminded me greatly of the female bands of the early to mid sixties with their choreographed moves. Though much of the show was of them singing three-part harmony, each of them performed solo with the other two providing harmony. The Doped Up Dollies describe their music as s a mixture of hop scotch, double dutch schoolyard rhymes, reggae, and soul. Judging by the enthusiastic audience reaction, I was not the only one wowed by them.

Starting the whole night was newcomer ska band, Simple Minded Symphony. Hailing all the way from Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, these guys had to have started the band right out of high school or maybe while still in high school. They barely look old enough to be legal in a bar. But as I’ve said before, their musical ability defies their youth and they get better every time I see them. Their guitarist (Kaine B) is a dead ringer for a young George Harrison. This band is so cute I felt like I needed an insulin shot after seeing them. They are definitely worth checking out. Simple Minded Symphony are, Josh S. – Drums, Cymbals, Tasteful Egg Shaker, Kevin S. – Bass, Vocals, Kaine B. – Guitar, Backing Vocals, Lead Hair, Ryan K. – Baritone Ukulele, Auxiliary Percussion, Scary Screams, Caleb F. – Bass Trombone, Tenor Trombone, Dan L. – Baritone Saxophone, Hip Shouts, Patrick M. – Trumpat, Josh W. – Trumpet, Rocket Leaguer, Sean P. – Tenor Saxophone, flute, vibraslap, Jason K. – Alto Saxophone, Clarinet, Backing Vocals.

The show was moderately attended. I’d say the club was maybe three-fourths full. I spoke with the promotor after and he said that ska just isn’t bringing in the crowds any more. I suggested that maybe the reason was that ska isn’t getting any airplay any more. KGRG, the Green River CC station, used to play a lot of ska, but went lame a few years back and of course the commercial stations won’t play anything but watered down versions of what’s already been heard ad nauseam. KEXP could certainly play ska, but they play it safe and cater more to the artsy adult contemporary. There is no radio station playing punk, ska or psychobilly any more and that’s a tragedy.

All in all this was a truly fun night with four great bands.

– All photos property of Holly Homan, all rights reserved.

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