Ska Against Racism
featuring Less Then Jake, Kemuri, Toasters, Blue Meanies
Fitzgeralds, Houston, TX • 4.9.98
I was told there were actually a lot of other bands on this tour; however, a lot of them were not on the bill I was going to see. Although I was a little disappointed, I’m not going to complain when a cool show comes to town.
Kemuri took the stage first, and brought their version of the current ska craze to the stage. I had been a Kemuri fan for about 24 hours at this point, and have to admit that I was instantly sold on them. They have your typical ska/punk/hardcore blend with a little bit of metal and reggae in their music. Aside from the fact that they are from Tokyo, Japan, the average reader who was unaware of this group might write this off as your typical ska hybrid band. BUT their main hook is that they are just sooooo good! Their music has such a great sense of melody and rhythm that you can’t help but enjoy it. They played for their allotted half an hour and quickly won the crowd over.
Next up were the Blue Meanies, a band that has been around a long time! They are truly unique. They have been blending all aspects of ska with harsh music for a while now, and cannot be compared to any other group alive or dead. Next up was the band that any fan of ska has seen at least a half a dozen times, the Toasters. I don’t think I have ever seen the same lineup for this group, but who cares. They played the same style of music that lead singer Bucket, helped pioneer in the States years ago, and has consistently used to entertain ska fans for years. I don’t care what type of music a person listens to — anyone can like the Toasters. I even saw a young punk teaching her baby sister to skank to the Toasters. It was truly touching.
Finally, the group that everyone was making their parents stay up late to see, Less then Jake. What can you say about this group? Anyone who has ever been to Gainesville already knows all about them. The music was great and I feel no need to talk about that, because I was there for one thing: Slayer tunes! Well, I didn’t get any. The only cover they played was “You’re the One That I Want” off their recently butchered Greased album.
Before the show,. I stopped in one of the local bars for a quick drink and directions to Fitzgerald’s. I was told to look for a big white house. I really didn’t see how a house was going to hold a band as popular as Less Than Jake in one of America’s biggest cities. I’m pretty good with math, and my powers of calculation said it wouldn’t happen. Sure enough, I got to the door and there was a sign that read “No tickets left, if you don’t have one then go home.” Too bad for them. Somehow, they got everybody into the show, and it was quite a night from some of the greatest bands that play ska-influenced music.