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New Orleans Ska Septet Joystick Headline Their First Seattle Show on Halloween Night at the Funhouse, by Holly Homan

On Halloween night I ventured to the Funhouse to see a new ska band I’d recently discovered called Joystick. This seven-piece hails from New Orleans and not only was this my first time seeing them, it was their first time in Seattle. Though they self-identify as a ska band, they seemed half ska and half punk to my ears. Front man/singer Paul “Duck” Tucker was all over the stage. He strutted back and forth, often kneeling on a monitor and more shouted than sang the band’s songs. The horn section (Josh Bourgois- Trombone, Justin “Shanghai” Mcdowell- Sax, and Garrett Corripio-Trumpet) all wore matching face paint that was white with black around the eyes and blood splatters. Justin reminded me of a young Alice Cooper with his long hair and makeup. Bass player Clay Aleman was dressed as a bottle of mustard. Guitarist Mickey Retzlaff wore a costume, but I’m unsure what he was supposed to be. Duck and drummer Kyle Bourque were the two party poopers without costumes. Still, this was a really fun band to watch play and though this was their first time in Seattle, I certainly hope it won’t be their last as I’ll certainly see them again.

Playing prior to Joystick was one of my favorite local ska bands, It Gets Worse. Bass player/singer James Sweazea- is the perpetual class clown of the group. He emoted, joked around (told everyone they were changing the band name and tore sheets of paper off the drum head one by one with different band names on them), but I doubt he was serious. For his costume he wore a tattered bathrobe. Maybe he was trying to be Robespierre, but I doubt this (get it? Robe, Robespierre?). It was the return of Chelsea Crispin who stole the show. She wore a fluffy black skirt with corset and black shredded stockings along with a blue with and steam punk glasses on top of her head. Besides being a great singer with a gutsy voice, she was very theatrical, totally hamming it up the entire time. Add a trombone player wearing a cow costume complete with udders (go watch season two of Black Adder and you’ll know why I find that hysterical) and drummer JR Sorrells wore something resembling a possessed Ewok or a possessed evil teddy bear as he hid behind the drum kit. It Gets Worse is always zany fun.

Opening the night was another of my favorites, the baby band, Simple Minded Symphony. Again, not all members wore costumes. Bass player/singer Kevin Silveira was not costumed, wearing just a t-shirt and a flannel shirt tied around his waist. What a party pooper. He still oozed charisma from every pore and then some. Kaine Benson (Guitar, Backing Vocals, Lead Screams) wore a costume but I couldn’t tell what he was supposed to be. His costume was green and it was long. Still, he wore a costume so he wasn’t a party pooper. Josh Servania –(Drums) wore a knit skull mask that covered his mouth and nose while sax player Sean Potocsnak wore lederhosen and looked like he was headed to the Swiss Alps to do some yodeling. The rest of the band were party poopers in the costume department. You hear that, guys? No costume means you’re a party pooper on Halloween. A blasphemer.

The audience weren’t party poopers. Many came in fabulous costumes and what few were in attendance had a great time. They were dancing and drinking and living it up. I can think of no better way to spend my Halloween night than going to a ska show.

Holly Homan

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