are a band that never forgot what it means to have fun, despite being in the live fast die young world of rock and roll since 1999 -- they've been playing gigs longer than some of their fans have been alive. Coming from the third wave ska movement way back in the late 90s, this seven piece band doesn't need to rely on nostalgia -- but boy are we glad that they do. The Suburban Legends were once a house band for the Mouse aka they played at Disneyland a lot. They also wandered around the park, much to the chagrin of little OC punks. But underneath the Disney sheen there is a punk rock monster, complete with horns, ready to rattle your skull with rowdy ska songs. Coming from Orange County, CA there's no doubt that ska punk is in this band's blood (there's also rumors that at least one of the many former and current members DJ'd on legendary KROQ). Perfectly crafted horn parts, crunching guitars, several singers contributing to a punk rock hootenanny vibe, lyrics about chicken fingers, and even the occasional organ part all contribute to the Suburban Legends' signature ska sound. Happy go lucky vocals, upbeat tracks, and undending energy would make this band legendary, even if it wasn't already part of their name. Expect plenty of checkered fashion accessories, Mickey Mouse tats, pogo-ing audience members of all ages, and a spirited performance the whole time the Suburban Legends are on the stage.
Space Monkey Gangstas
: Okay, the silly name probably gives away the fact that this Bay Area band goes for good time vibes. Ska and reggae sounds mix to massage your ear drums with an irie blend of classic California music. Sublime fans will rejoice that there is a way to recapture their youth without having to be stuck in the middle of a Long Beach Dub All Stars war. Think Sublime meets Slightly Stoopid -- with songs about sex, the freeway, and drinking. Once these dudes start playing, expect to forget your worries and start bouncing to the infectious beats. Jazzy horn action mixes well with rocksteady beats, smooth vocals, and a youthful spirit. Live, these Concord natives rock the entire stage -- bringing back a simpler time where chain wallets were cool, backward hats were necessary, and ska, rock and roll, and reggae were one in the same. With only four people, Space Monkey Gangstas still manages to make a full ska sound, with snaking horns and singing that suggests a smoke filled green room backstage. Blaze up and then cool down with the Space Monkey Gangstas and their supremely chill blend of rock reggae ska.
If you want to have a good time, look to Jokes For Feelings
to make it happen. Jokes For Feelings are a loud, punk rock, ska that rep the East Bay hard and even have their own anthem, "Mushroom Cloud," that name drops their members and popular Bay Area bars. Short snappy songs with everything a punk could possibly want: tiny bass solos, big horns, bad attitudes, and yelling. And of course jokey fun -- when Jokes For Feelings say "Fuck You" they probably really mean "I love you," right? Right. Songs about lost youth, mushroom clouds, head trips, and all around punkness set the pace at a rollicking ska stomp. Don't get in the way of this wave of sound, just let the music take you where it wants. The band would be right at home in an Oakland house party getting arrested as they are in the club. Snarling vocals and raucous beats and lyrics lay atop a whirlwind of ska punk. The band has seven members, making it easy for them to cultivate that authentic punk ska sound from days past -- plenty of horns to go around. Be prepared to skank your way around the dance floor.
Maturity is overrated, and if any band can prove that to be true it is the Easy Bay ska punk outfit Skandalism
. The band cut its teeth attending punk shows at the Gilman, and pays homage to old school ska and punk bands like Operation Ivy, Green Day, and NOFX. With references like that, you know their live show is going to be insane and fun. Short, energetic songs with lazy beats and ska tones are perfect with Skandalism's whining vocals, backing vocals, and yelps/shouts. Each track evokes classic ska feelings, whether it's an upbeat punk infused tune or a melodic, brooding song or a well-crafted mix of both. Track titles like "Cheek Swab" and "Fish Stick" belie the real thoughfulness and ska ethos that is Skandalism. Combining ska, punk, reggae, and rock, the boys in Skandalism are here to life your spirits and make you mosh.