with the Allstonians and Big D and the Kids’ Table
The Chili Pepper; Ft. Lauderdale • 7.14.98
The last thing anyone wants to do is be outside for extended periods of time in the hot and humid South Florida summer. So it came as quite a surprise when a show this great was moved from FU-BAR, a new club that promised to fill the hole left by the absence of Squeeze and the Edge, to the patio outside the Chili Pepper. Wearing pants and a black T-shirt lead to a lower comfort level than I would have preferred, but I know better than to let something as petty as dehydration get in the way of a show with such high caliber bands. Thus, already starting to sweat by just standing in line, we all waited around anxiously for the music to start and make us forget we were in a desert where a glass of tap water costs a dollar.
First to take to the stage were Boston’s Big D and The Kids’ Table, who I had heard good things about but never had the pleasure of hearing or seeing prior to the evening’s event. Met with the crowd’s overwhelming round of indifference, they jumped into their set, which featured more guys running around than a Super Bowl game. Each member of Big D came with his own bizarre facial expression, and the ten of them bounced, paraded around the stage, and occasionally showcased their choreographed dances and jumps. It was enough to make their show entertaining even if it was on mute. But alas, it wasn’t, and what I heard wasn’t too bad. The band seemed to me to be a mix of ska, punk, and rap, as vocals would be traded off like the Beastie Boys and horn lines would often make way for some distorted guitar riffs. All in all, Big D and the Kids’ Table made a positive impression on the crowd and I, as the amount of people dancing around the stage nearly quadrupled from when they first started!
Next up was Boston’s pride and joy, the Allstonians, complete with a horn fill-in provided by one of the members of the previous band. This was another band that I had never had the pleasure of seeing live, but by listening to their albums I had come to expect a magnificent show. The Allstonians provided no less, as they impressed the crowd with their great musicianship and a set that included a pretty equal split of songs off their two albums. Included in the 45-minute set, as well, were a couple new songs that made it apparent that the next recorded effort from these guys will be nowhere close to a disappointment.
By the time the Scofflaws took to the stage, it was literally hotter than hell outside, and I was practically swimming in my own sweat, but that certainly wasn’t going to stop me from enjoying one of the best bands around, Long Island’s own Scofflaws. As they took to the stage, lead vocalist/saxophonist Sammy Brooks belted out his catch phrase “Are you in the mood for ska?” and the band wasted no time jumping into their opening song and showing South Florida why they’re considered to be one of the best in the business. For the rest of the show, the Scofflaws made us forget how miserable it was outside by whipping out their high-energy favorites like “William Shatner,” “Paul Getty,” and “Back Door Open,” which showcasing a few new tracks that will be found on their upcoming album, Record of Convictions.
By the time they wrapped the set up with their cover of “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” and said goodnight, the crowd had looked like they all just went swimming, but everyone still called for more. So the Scofflaws returned to perform their famed cover of “Boots,” and then said goodnight again as Sammy passed along the message that, as their T-shirts proclaim, “we are Scofflaws, you are Scofflaws.” Watching these guys perform is a rare treat, as they’re not only incredibly entertaining, but amazingly skilled at what they do. After the show, I happily swam home.