opening for D.C. Talk
Coral Sky Amphitheater, West Palm Beach • March 6, 1999
Imagine my fright when I, the industrial/gothic guy, found myself amidst 10,000 people screaming “YESSSS!!!” when asked if there were “any Jesus Freaks out there tonight” by the man on-stage. I had gone to review newcomers to the swing wave, the W’s. Not knowing too much about swing, I had picked up their disc the previous night. What do you know? I liked it. It brought on feelings of bouncy happiness. It was cheerful. Something you don’t get too often in my music. They had a couple songs on the disc with biblical references like “Moses” and “The Devil is Bad,” but it wasn’t until someone informed me about the Christian status of D.C Talk, the headliners, that I began to put two and two together. The W’s were very possibly a Christian swing/ska band. That’s cool.
At the show, I had the opportunity to talk with tenor sax player and clarinetist Valentino. He told me that they were just a bunch of guys who were really into the swing thing and the ska scene, and they happen to be Christians. They do not hold a ministry on-stage, but want to make music that is fun and positive. In fact, the first track on their disc, “Open Minded,” deals with the issue of people thinking they are a good band and great guys and then finding out they’re Christians, and not wanting anything more to do with them.
Well, they can certainly hold their own live. They had the crowd whipped into an immediate frenzy with a song called “Frank.” Folks of all ages were dancing various swingy kind of dances, no easy feat amongst the seats of the amphitheater. Their energy level on-stage was overwhelming. The horn players performed wacky antics, while the rest of the band jammed with frenzied intensity. By the time they performed “The Devil is Bad,” the crowd was so whipped up, even I believed it. The W’s are definitely going places, so get thee behind them, Satan!