Seaside Ska

Posted on Friday 6th February 2015 00:00 by FreckFest

Well, we do like to be beside the seaside, and so do 400-odd ska fans from all over the west of Scotland. Despite both the freezing conditions and the unforeseen disaster of Scotrail terminating all trains at Kilwinning, Freckfest’s Seaside Ska event in Troon was a huge success.

With half of Big Fat Panda and a big Glasgow contingent stuck on the train, starting times and running orders were hastily rearranged. The Amphetameanies drew the short straw, starting proceedings later than we’d hoped for and playing an enforced shorter set than planned.


It was alright, though,” explains Big Gordy, Amphetameanies’ bass player. “We just played all our songs a wee bit faster than normal!

Faster than normal’ doesn’t quite cover it. The Amphetameanies fairly zipped through a set drawing on current album Last Chance Bordello with more haste than Usain Bolt with a tiger on his tail. With a three-piece horn section featuring Belle & Sebastian’s Mick Cooke, they had the early crowd dancing from start to finish. It’s a terrific sight when you’ve put on a gig and all your hard work is rewarded with a sea of bobbing heads responding to the sounds of the band on stage.

The dancing continued throughout Big Fat Panda’s set, half an hour or so of east coast ska delivered with a pugilistic punch by a band that clearly enjoy what they’re doing. The fact that the queues for the bar were far longer between bands tells you all you need to know.

The night was headlined by Glasgow’s Esperanza, 9-piece purveyors of skankin’, dance-crazed rhythms. A marvellous band, they play every song as if it’s the last song they’ll ever play. If you missed the gig, look out for them on STV Glasgow this week, where they’ll no doubt be doing the same.

Lastly, we can’t go without mentioning the fantastic crowd. Never has there been a better-dressed audience letting go of their inhibitions. With razor-sharp creases on dogtooth trousers, mirror-shiny DMs and tasseled loafers, perfectly fitted Fred Perrys and the odd full-length Crombie coat, they helped make this one of the best Freckfest events yet. Plans are already being hatched for another event later on in the year. This time we’ll ask Scotrail to put on a one-off ska train. And we’ll have two bars.

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