Big D and the Kids Table
How It Goes
When asked to share my thoughts on the northeast ska “scene” (I use the word “scene” loosely these days), I break it down like this: You’ve got Boston, and you’ve got New York City. Boston keeps it real; you know, that classic Jamaican syncopated beat to which all the skins can steady rock easy. New York … well, that is more the apocryphal version: checkerboard-clad white kids bouncing off the walls to a barrage of horns and metal guitar riffs, with some poppiness, a la The Toasters, thrown in for good measure. Of course, there are exceptions. Without a little band known as The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, unequivocally named for their hometown, and don’t you forget it, there might not have been that infernal racket known as ska-core. Conversely, The Slackers and The Bluebeats both hail from New York, and they sure as hell know how to keep it real. I’m from Connecticut, which is conveniently sandwiched between these two sprawling metropolises, so I’m not really sure what that means for me. A schizophrenic scene is an understatement.
This is all to say, Big D and the Kids Table (what’s with the name, anyways?) are from Boston, but they sound more like The Bosstones than they do The Allstonians, Pressure Cooker or Green Island. I knew this going into How It Goes, their latest effort. Suffice it to say, my expectations weren’t very lofty. And I wasn’t disappointed, nor was I pleasantly surprised. It is what it is: a salvo of horns, feckless lyrics and a whole lot of distortion. Somewhere in this sonic morass is the occasional syncopated guitar of which I am fond — just not in this context. Actually, the opening track has a nice swing to it, sounding remarkably like something from Jamaica, circa 1964 … okay, maybe Boston, circa 1994. Regardless, the rest is a downward spiral that recalls years past when I had to endure all the stupid white kids jumping (excuse me, “skanking”) around me to the cacophony of some obnoxious high school marching band who somehow got a hold of Don’t Know How to Party and decided to start a “ska” band of their own, just so I could see the Skatalites. So what if I was one of those white kids wearing a bowtie, Doc Martens and lots of plaid. I assure you that I never “skanked,” and my tastes in ska music were quite precocious for someone of sixteen years of age. To me, Dickey and his plaid crew were always dross. But I digress.
Those who grew up skanking to The Bosstones, Less Than Jake, Voodoo Glow Skulls, et cetera, won’t have any problems with How It Goes. Like I said, it is what it is. Nothing more, nothing less. Right now, however, I sure could use some Prince Buster.
Big D and the Kids Table: www.bigdandthekidstable.com