Seaside Ska 2

Posted on Sunday 6th March 2016 23:06 by FreckFest

For fans of live music, Troon Concert Hall was the place to be on Saturday night 20th February. Packed out with over 500 of the best-dressed gig-goers in the country, the massive crowd was entertained for six hours by four of the finest ska bands on the scene. The vibe was friendly, the music was non-stop and there were huge smiles wherever you looked. In short, Seaside Ska 2 surpassed all expectations.


It was all about the music, and veterans of the scene Capone & The Bullets kicked the whole night off in fine style. Big, bold and brassy, there’s not a finer sight and sound in live music than when a trio of brass players (trumpet, trombone and saxophone) step up to the mics and let rip atop the off-beat. Ably assisted by a moonlighting Big Gordy Amphetameanie on bass duties, they set the highest of standards for the rest of the night.


Edinburgh’s Big Fat Panda played our inaugural event last year. This time around, they had new material, a tighter, punchier sound and a bit more bounce to the ounce. The 8 piece went down a storm, and, after finishing their set, proceeded to dance for the rest of the night amongst the skankers at the front of the stage.


The queues at both bars were mercifully short, so there was plenty of opportunity to dance between drinks.  A DJ playing vintage ska and rocksteady was the perfect warm-up between the live acts. The tunes never let up, and old favourites by Toots & The Maytals, Prince Buster and The Specials received loud cheers of approval.


The ska scene is a great scene  - self-regulating and wholly inclusive, bands and audience are as one. It was noticeable that each band featured the odd musician who stepped in to play in one of the other bands. Most bands featured 8 or more members, but I think I counted 29 different musicians who played on the stage – surely some kind of record for a 4 band bill?



The Amphetameanies’ expansive 9-piece line-up continued where the other two bands had left off. A proper party band, they play both types of songs – fast and faster. Feeding off the energy of the crowd, they were even faster and even louder than they were at last year’s event, which is really saying something.


Headliners Esperanza were keen to play tracks from the just-released ‘Back On Hope Street’ album but ensured many of their crowd-pleasing old favourites remained in the set. Finishing with a celebratory run through of ‘Monkey Man’, they were the perfect top of the bill act. Their brand of ska is tougher and more muscular then the others. It’s almost punky in places but still draws on those staples of ska, the brass section and the keyboard stabbing on the off-beat.


Many a pork pie hat was raised in celebration at the end of their set, a set that finished long after the last trains had departed back to Ayr and Glasgow. With most folk opting to stay until midnight, this meant a bumper evening for taxi drivers and bed and breakfast owners in the area.


We were thrilled at the response to the gig and as people left, many asked if they had to wait a whole year before the next one. Plans are already underway for Seaside Ska 3. Watch this space…


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