Skamazing Once Again!

Posted on Monday 19th February 2018 20:49 by FreckFest

History will show that last Saturday night’s Seaside Ska event, our fourth, was the best yet. Now firmly established as a major event on the ska scene’s calendar, no doubt in part due to its unique billing in the depths of winter, Seaside Ska attracts sharply-dressed rude boys and girls from all corners of the country.

There’s a healthy Ayrshire contingent, of course, delighted that they’ve an established, successful event right on their doorstep, but there’s a core of fans who cross the country every year from Edinburgh and the surrounding areas, a wee crowd who’ve travelled up the past couple of years from the Borders and a swell of Skins from Glasgow who will turn up wherever headliners Esperanza happen to be playing.

When Freckfest started, we had no idea that any of our events would be so far-reaching - or that the local economy would benefit quite so healthily. A large number of the 500 who turned out on the night were booked into hotels around Troon. The pubs too would’ve noticed a healthy turnover at the end of the day’s trading. Not to mention the fleet of taxis returning groups of concert-goers back into North Ayrshire.

Imagine if we had a venue in Irvine of the magnitude of Troon Concert Hall; small enough to appear exclusive and intimate, yet large enough to accommodate all manner of touring bands. It’s a real bugbear of ours...


But anyway. The music. Four bands filled a bill representing all that’s great about live ska; Seaside Ska first-timers Aye ‘N Aye, a multicultural nine-piece from the East Coast, all parping brass and twin female vocals drew the short straw and were first on.

With the room still filling, many folk would’ve missed their perfect opening set, featuring a selection of ska classics which set the scene perfectly for what was to follow.


Capone & The Bullets, an uncompromising, hard-hitting tour de force looked menacing in their sharp suits. Featuring a moonlighting Jake from Esperanza on guitar and bass player Big Gordy from The Amphetameanies (missing from this year’s bill) they ran through an energy-packed set featuring a selection of originals and choice, if bizarre, covers.

I’ve never heard a ska version of The Smiths’ There Is A Light That Never Goes Out before. I’m not sure what Morrissey, just up the road in the Hydro, would’ve made of it but the Seaside Ska audience loved it.


Big Fat Panda were back this year. The unfortunates who had their set cut short last year were given the more prestigious second-on-the-bill slot and did not disappoint.

Focal point of the band Big Andy prowled stage left and right as the band behind him bobbed and swayed and jumped and kicked in time to the music. Visually and musically, they were very entertaining.


Headliners Esperanza know how to deliver to their fans. Never letting the speed drop below a frantic 100 miles-an-hour blur, their set was a cobweb-clearing riot of hard-hitting social commentary and occasional love song.


Any revellers left standing danced to the sounds of vintage ska and soul and, as the queue for the cloakroom slowly vanished from the venue, the curtain came down on yet another Seaside Ska.

Plans are already underway to make our 5th event even bigger and better. Keep your eyes on our social media feeds and website for updates.


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