The Mighty Mighty BossTones played the Regent in downtown Los Angeles last Friday night for their self-proclaimed Summer of Ska tour. The set list included the ‘Let’s Face It‘ album in entirety, along with fifteen or so other favorites.
Opening up for the legendary Boston ska band were Buster Shuffle from the UK and Los Kung Fu Monkeys originally from Tijuana. Buster Shuffle, a four-piece ska punk ensemble with heavy piano and a whole lot of energy came in hard with catchy hooks and a perfect soundtrack for a barroom brawl. Los Kung Fu Monkeys played with a shifted lineup – two of their members were out due to emergencies so the drummer played bass, and Kung Fu friends stepped in to take on lead guitar and drums. Got all that? In spite of the last minute shifts, these guys ROCKED THE HOUSE.
Before the BossTones took the stage, a fan remarkably resembling a young Dicky Barrett in a slightly iridescent powder blue suit, started a cheer and the whole venue erupted in a rousing round of “Miii-ghtyyy, Miii-ghty, Boss-Tones!”. The excitement was palpable as the band filed out and opened up the set with “Noise Brigade”.
Original BossTones guitarist, Nate Albert, joined the band for the mega-hit “The Impression That I Get”. Dicky Barrett removed his sunglasses and passed them into the audience “hand these to her” as he motioned into the crowd, “the girl on her Dad’s shoulders”. A curly haired toddler in a BossTones shirt and protective ear wear perched on her Dad’s shoulders put on Dicky’s round shades and it was amazing.
Dancer, Ben Carr was in top form, hopping from one side of the stage to the other, never slowing, never ceasing, with an impossible energy that had to be handed down from the ska gods, because it just seemed an inhumanly possible feat. After running through the entire “Let’s Face It” album, they rounded out the set with hits as far back as their third album and even treated the crowd to a track from last month’s release, “While We’re At It”. A couple of covers were thrown in for good measure, The Wailers’ “Simmer Down” and Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now”.
It was sweaty, it was steamy, it was a hell of a good time. This is indeed the summer of ska, and “the fourth wave of ska” as Dickey Barrett affectionately refers to it, is absolutely worth checking out. Preferably in the form of a live show, with all the dancing and the bouncing that comes along with it. The BossTones will be touring the country, (along with a stop in Canada) through the summer. Catch them if you can!