This past Sunday I attended my very first ska show. I did not know what kind of crowd to expect. Punk kids? Preppy kids? Eclectic kids? Well, I strolled into Tremont Music Hall to find a low attendance, people markedly punk and the majority under 21. Maybe under 18 as well because I noticed a lack of visible tattoos which is unusual at Tremont.
The first opening band was Southside Punx from Charlotte, NC. I have never listened to them before but I have heard a rumor that they can be very destructive while they play. However, that was not the case that night. They were under control. Many times during their set, a circle was formed in front of the stage. Guys were pacing and skipping around the circle while throwing punches into the air. As their name states, they are a punk band. They sound similar to The Casualties. I love punk rock but nothing really set them apart besides their bassist’s nice set of abs. I do like their song, “30 miles” but I prefer bands whose music is more dynamic.
Following them was the Have Nots. I had not heard of them either but they were a great opener for Big D and the Kids Table. They are a punk band as well but their sound incorporates ska, which made everyone dance. It wasn’t long until I was unconsciously moving my feet to the rhythm of the music. By the end of their set, I realized I was swaying and nodding my head as I moved my feet. You just cannot help but to dance and I was not the only one. This Boston band has catchy sing-a-longs and appeared to have a decent following. I enjoyed the Have Nots a lot and from what they said on stage, they enjoy playing in Charlotte as well.
Before Big D and the Kids Table appeared on stage I peered into backstage while I waited by the stage and I saw their trumpeter warming up to what sounded like “the flight of the bumble bee.” I was astonished by how talented he is with his instrument. His tone was very dynamic yet controlled. The beautiful, smooth notes he played were incredible. Listening to him warm up made me anxious to see him on stage.
Fortunately, the band didn’t make us wait too much longer. When Big D and the Kids Table stepped on stage, the room roared with approval and energy. You cannot help but to dance or jump up and down to their songs. Their performance was on point. The lead vocalist, David McWane, had such a vibrant and addicting personality that manifested in his stage presence. A cute, blonde girl also appeared on stage for a couple songs such as “My Girlfriend’s On Drugs.” She sang with McWane and said the same phrases that are on the studio version of the song. She moved around the stage and let people sing into the microphone, not timid at all. After many crowd surfers and spilled beers, I was surprised I managed to stay in the front and to my surprise, McWane handed me their set list after their second encore song.
I was thoroughly impressed with them because they surpassed my expectations. They are a lively and entertaining ska band from Massachusetts that’s been around for about sixteen years. Some people get jaded after that time span, but they continue to execute an unforgettable performance for their fans. If you listen to Streetlight Manifesto, Less Than Jake, Mustard Plug or Reel Big Fish, you would truly enjoy this band. If you are not familiar with ska at all, let me put it this way… If you were to combine a batch of zest, punk rock with a hint of reggae, a handful of horns and a cute girl here and there… that equates to Big D and the Kids Table performing at Tremont Music Hall. It is a good investment of a cover charge, I promise.
Big D and the Kids Table w/ Have Nots, a set on Flickr.