2004-11-24 16:12:43 ET

Leaving home
is never easy
especially when
home leaves you.

Late at night
cat in lap
hands on keyboard
mind wandering
towards you.

Note to land-lords:
2004-11-24 16:04:41 ET

When apartments are no longer available,
take signs down from windows,
so as to not break poor boy's hearts and shatter their dreams.


Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'
2004-11-16 06:07:05 ET

There's a bright golden haze on the meadow
There's a bright golden haze on the meadow
The corn is as high as an elephant's eye
And it looks like it's climbing right up to the sky

O what a beautiful morning, O what a beautiful day
I've got a beautiful feeling, everything's going my way

All the cattle are standing like statues
All the cattle are standing like statues
They don't turn their heads as they see me ride by
But a little brown mav'rick is winking her eye

O what a beautiful morning, O what a beautiful day
I've got a beautiful feeling, everything's going my way

All the sounds of the earth are like music
All the sounds of the earth are like music
The breeze is so busy it don't miss a tree
And an ol' weeping willow is laughinU at me

O what a beautiful morning, O what a beautiful day
I've got a beautiful feeling, everything's going my way.

- Rodgers & Hammerstein

11/7/04 - Oi/Skampilation 10th Anniversary @ the Knitting Factory, NYC, NY
2004-11-08 04:25:11 ET

I wasn't going to go to this show, due to some car troubles and lack of funds, but my wonderful girlfriend offered to cover my costs, just so I could go and have fun and dance around. How bout 'dat?

Well, it was a great time, a ska show for the ages. There weren't that many people there, as you would expect for a Sunday, (honestly - when I walked into the concert room, I was the first person in there. strange). Everyone one there, though was an old-school ska fan- there were rudies and skins and a smattering of punks, there were old fans, young fans, friends and family of the bands, and the most ethnically and culturally diverse audience I've ever seen. This was ska at it's zenith.

Each of the bands were highly talented and definately loved what they were doing. Seemed, though, that most of the bands that were on the Oi/Skampilation CD 10 years ago had broken up, or were unavailable, so they found bands featuring ex-members of those bands. *shrugs* meh. It's all good.

First up was the Rudie Crew, a band made up of ex-scofflaws, ex-skinnerbox and ex-etc members. I've seen these guys maybe 5 times, and they're consistently good. Never amazingly good, but always enjoyable - a great opening act, I would say. Last night they had a little kid up on stage with them, apparently the sax player (El-Wood Husey)'s son.
He was a little white boy wearing a rasta cap, and an "I love Bob" t-shirt. Funny as hell.

Second up was "the Scorchers," a band featuring ex-Slackers Mush1 and Louis Zuluaga. Good to see they're still playing. I was never quite sure why they left the band. Apparenlty these guys have been around for sometime, and were amainly instrumental band, except for those songs where Mush couldn't help but croak and squeek his way through a song. (for those who've heard "She wants to be alone," you understand). But last night they debuted they're new lead singer, a soulful girl by the name of... I forget. But she did 2 or three songs, including a rocksteady version of "Walk on By," and an intersting song about Nightmares which was just her, the bass and drums. By the way - this band, with 9 members, wasn't the largest on stage that night. I'll keep an eye out for these guys, but I probably won't go out of my way to attend a concert.

Following ex-Slackers were ex-Ruder than You members, reformed into a band called... Ruder than You! I'm still so glad these guys re-grouped. They just take me back to high-school days, and crazy shows. They seem to have taken up the mantle of kings of ska-core, which is fine, since the Bosstones ain't around, and RTY does a damn good job of it. They also show a good front on the ska and dance-hall side. They did a bunch of covers, including a wild version of "Paranoid" by Black Sabbath, and "Guns of Brixton" by the Clash. Just a word of warning - know all the lyrics, if you're going to sing a cover. Especially if the song is by the Clash. They also sung a bit of a Sublime song, I forget which. It seemed to be a theme to reference Sublime, as they weren't the only ones to sing their stuff. But that was still cool. It's nice to hear people who know that Sublime didn't invent reggae recognize that they still did a damn good job of it.

I took a break and a walk around NYC during the first half of the next band, which I'm kind of upset at, because from what I saw they were a wild act. Bigger Thomas could have been called Bigger Stage, cause that's what they needed. 12 members of the band were on stage. No kidding. 5 horns, 2 guitars, bass, drums, percussion, keyboards and a singer. This was ska at it's purest. I felt like I could have been at a Two-Tone show in the 70s. These guys had energy and the crowd felt it. They did a bunch of covers of old ska songs, which was fine, they had the size and talent to do so. The lead singer was a black rudie (don't see much of them) who couldn't stop jumping around, dancing, and spouting his political opinion. Again - *shrug* meh. This was another thing of note - not only was the crowd racially diverse, but every band was mixed of races and sexes. It was a good feeling to have, everyone represented, playing the same music. I'll definately keep an eye out for Bigger Thomas, and probably bring some people who have never heard ska to one of their shows - you couldn't get a better intro to it.

Next up - Coolie Ranx. yep. just one guy. Coolie was an ex-Toaster, ex-Pilfer, and current DJ. When Pilfers broke up, it was a shame. Strictly ashame. They played a mix of Dancehall reggae and hardcore punk rock (which they dubbed ragga-core) that no one else could imitate, match, or... whatever. Coolie's new act is similar to King Django's - a stripped down rock group backing his dancehall vocals. Similar to Pilfers, but these guys obviously did not have the ska roots of Pilfers. Also, it was definately not a band. Just musicians backing another singer. Speaking of which, Coolie had another singer - some girl named Denise who apparently used the same bands for her own reggae shows. She even sang a song. But back to Coolie - I'm not sure I liked the new sound, but I sure as hell would have liked it better with a girl to dance with. It was slow and funky, like dancehall, but loud and driving, like rock. Coolie's lyrics were his usual brand of soul-searching and unity-preaching. The top of the show was when Coolie did his usual bit of coming into the crowd, and hyping them up (which the crowd definately needed after his act.) He came down chanting "Dancehall style show me dancehall style" he formed a circle and demonstrated to everyone how to slowly rock to dancehall. By the time he was back on stage everyone was grooving. He ended with a Pilfers' song, which apparently everyone liked, because the crowd went nuts, and a mosh pit broke out.
Confused the hell out of me. Just like Coolie's act. Again - I'll have to see him again to make a decision.

Lastly (for me, anyway), was the reunion of Inspecter 7 - a skinhead reggae/Oi band from NJ. I saw these guys 2wice when I was first getting into ska, and they were really cool. Lots of in-your-face, kick-your-ass energy (as you would expect from skin-heads), as well as full out reggae sounds. Apparently I was not the only one who looked forward to their regrouping - the skinhead and punk quota of that audience seemed to double from one act to the next, and they just went crazy. Moshing, crowd-surfing, stealing the mic and singing the songs for themselves, fighting (yes, there were one or two). It was,in a word, wild.
Sadly, though, I had to leave after about 4 songs. Knitting Factory shows tend to run long, and with one more band after I7, this one was aiming to end at 1:30am. Knowing what a long weekend I had, I just had to head home.
This morning I found that the next band, a reunion of the Insteps, was featuring Vic Rice on Bass. muthafucka. who even knew he was in the US??
But the show, what I saw, was excellent. You really can't ask for more out of a ska show than to have a diverse crowd, there for the music, there to dance to bands that love playing the music.

I give it a 9 out of 10, only cause I'm still bummed over missing Vic Rice.
but... *shrugs* meh.
take care, y'all.

2004-11-02 03:03:35 ET

I'm just a rider
a rider on the rail
I'm just a rider on a rail
Where's this train a-going?
Fuck if I can tell.
I'm just a rider on the rail.

Don't ask the captain please
to tell you what's the reason
cause I'm sure he's long forgotten
the days when he was young,
and he carried by the ton
your corn
your coal
your cotton.

I'm just a rider
a rider on the rail
I'm just a rider on a rail
Where's this train a-going?
Far as I can tell.
I'm just a rider on the rail.

Stand in your place
and man don't look in my place
cause I'll do for you no favor
no sense or remorse
we'll stay our plotted course
from this we will not waver.


If you want my reasons for
just why I joined the war
I'll tell you why -
I had to!
Cause when they tell you, son
stand straight and take this gun,
they also point one at you.

I'm just a rider
a rider on the rail
I'm just a rider on a rail
Where's this train a-going?
Probably straight to hell.
I'm just a rider on a rail.

You can call me captain,
you can call me what you will,
but I'm just a rider on a rail.

- Ruggiero/Hillyard

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