Skankin’ is Back!

Ska revival might actually be going on. As this year trudges on, it certainly feels like the genre is starting to flourish again. From both newcomers and the established greats, I know there have been more ska shows that I’ve attended this year. As my second love, only to Punk, in music, I am enjoying this extraordinarily. Tonight was the return of Viernes 13 to the Yucca Tap Room accompanied by a solid mix of ska and punk.

Opening up was the one not skirting the border of the two genres, the strictly punk guys of We Might Be Wasted. Though speaking of skirts, Don pulled one the biggest surprises in time for the last two songs. He spent most of the set slowly stripping off articles of clothing until all that was left was an American flag speedo. It is the most distracting talking point of their usual enjoyable set. I think We Might Be Wasted figured out the best way to get people to remember the first band of the night.

After then we were treated to the first full ska offerings with Bowcat. Probably the youngest established band of the night too, but they have been killing it on stages. Tonight was special because, Marcia, lead vocals, was celebrating her birthday tonight. They were short a horn, but sounded fantastic. A great set from Bowcat and a Happy Birthday to Marcia.

The next band was an anticipated reunion for a lot of people in the crowd, Cultura Libertaria. They were pretty much punk, but with some ska songs mixed in. They kept joking that this is the last song, at one point putting the microphone up and starting to walk away. The sense of humor shined, as did the fun times of music. People were singing along and getting into it. An excellent way to go out if this is the last time we hear from Cultura Libertaria.

Abraham Drinkin’ were after them and it has been a good year, at least, since I last saw them. Their set was just what I remember, which consists of quite a few covers. That included from Power Rangers to closing on NOFX. They got the crowd moving and rowdy with a lot of stuff people knew. After the last song, people kept singing NOFX out of the audience for a couple verses. Abraham Drinkin’ were just what was needed to keep the night’s momentum going.

Up next was me being spoiled, and that was seeing the 2 Tone Lizard Kings for the second time in about a week. Most of the décor was about the same on the band, but Bill came out adding some flair with these red lined glasses. With the music’s energy feeding them, many wanted to skank with some people just moshing around it. I stayed in while I could protect my camera and dance. Although later I got pulled in once more, but by my shirt. Adam gave another dedication to Rick for singing “Release the Hounds” again this week. I love watching the 2 Tone Lizard Kings, and the energy of Yucca this night just made it a set to savor.

Last up was the charisma filled Viernes 13. These guys I would describe more of the rocksteady style of ska. There was a cumbia or two mixed into the set list to give the crowd a little time to catch their breath and dance a little slower. The circle bordered on mix of moshing and skanking. At times, the energy of the songs just made it a mosh pit.

The entire Viernes 13 are full of character and animated on that stage. Their lead vocalist, Juan, knows exactly how to talk to the crowd to bring the mutual energy out. He egged the audience into more cheers by asking if that was all Arizona got. When there were points in a song that people were expected to sing along, he pointed out those who did not. Once, Juan just handed the microphone to the guy who wasn’t singing, which then we heard from that guy through the speakers. On a crowded night of great music in the valley, this Viernes 13 show ended up a solid choice and highlight of my weekend.

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