I developed a taste for ska at rather a late stage in life. Despite listening to ska punk bands like Reel Big Fish when I was a teenager, I never got much more into it than that, instead choosing to waft off into my twenties in a cloud of black make-up, black PVC and crushed black velvet. In fact, I wasn’t REALLY into it until I saw Kemuri a few years back and found something that made me smile like a loon. So, you could say that most of my exposure to ska has been experienced through a Japanese filter. Having not had the same second-wave that hit the UK in the late 70s and 80s with Bad Manners and Madness (more of them both to come later), Japanese ska sounds a little different. I’m not going to get all that now, as I’ve got some photos to show you. Ask me about it over a beer sometime when my total lack of knowledge will become clear…
So anyway, when I was at Boomtown there were two bands who stood out on the line-up: Ska Vengers and Los De Abajo. Ska Vengers hail from New Delhi, while Los De Abajo came all the way over from Mexico to the UK. It seemed like an opportunity not to be missed, and I wanted to see how ska might sound coming from other countries.
I’m just going to quote myself here, because I think I did a fair job of it the first time round: “Ska Vengers fuse a more old-school reggae patois from male singer Delhi Sultanate with a soulful, powerful style from female singer Begum X, all to a musical backing which mixes up dub, jazz and even more Latin-laced numbers that had people dancing their way through the set. On Friday night, Mexican ska outfit Los De Abajo were also making their first foray into the UK music scene, playing in the hollowed-out hull of the Jolly Dodger stage. This band was of particularly note, not only for their fantastically catchy and danceable Latin-ska, but also their on-stage antics which included choreographed dancing, donning lucha wrestling masks, leaping around and the only bit of head-banging in the whole weekend.”
Yup. So, check out some photos below.
Los De Abajo