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MUSIC: Less Than Jake Skanks Up The Met

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

 

Hitting The Met as part of their 20th Anniversary Tour, Less Than Jake blows off the doors.

This Monday, ska-punk giants Less Than Jake rocked The Met as part of the band's 20th Anniversary Tour that has been celebrating the band's formation back in 1992 on the campus of The University of Florida. Honestly, since I've known and sporadically listened to the quintet from Gainsville, Florida since high school, I was expecting there to be nothing but teenage girls all hopped up on candy and soda to be in attendance. Strangely though, it wasn't the case as the audience was a who's who of local figures who have been vital to the Providence music/bar scene for years.

There was the comical and musical genius of Hank Sinatra, Jr. pounding beers back all night like they were water, former Masamune bassist Zach Lacasse up at the front of the stage singing every lyric at the top of his lungs, the owner of Nolan's Corner Pub on 529 Atwells Avenue Brendan McCaughey relaxing with a cigarette, and bassist and vocalist from The Down And Outs' Jayson Migz promoting his band's show at The Met this Thursday with ska legends Bad Larry and also giving away the new Down And Outs EP, You've Probably Downloaded This EP, for free. Overall it was a great night, and even the opening acts did their best to make it a special one indeed.

Mrs. Skannotto

First up were Rochester ska band Mrs. Skannotto, a very unique name for a band with an infectious ska sound that made you want to dance. Touring the Northeast extensively since 1998, the rude boys from a place known as "The Flower City" had the crowd in a frenzy right when they were passing through the doors from the back deck of The Met. With the laid-back persona of lead singer Joe Harmon and a great horn section featuring the trumpet of Justin Lloyd and trombone of Evan Dobbins, Mrs. Skannotto set the tone for an evening full of fans kicking their feet up in the air, skanking like there's no tomorrow and getting a little crazy in the mosh pit.

Junior Battles

Toronto's Junior Battles followed, a pop-punk band that sounds like a cross between the early-90s post-hardcore sounds of Sunny Day Real Estate and early pop rhythms of Blink-182 (when they were actually good and didn't write sappy songs about not getting the right amount of cheese on your homefries for breakfast). In the middle of their feverish set, the guys from The Queen City thanked America for their 30 packs of Natty Lite and then resumed blowing minds all over the floor to little awestruck bits and pieces. A spectacular performance from a band that I'm considering giving more of their music a listen, it's always satisfying when a band you hardly knew of can make a great impression on you through playing live.

A Wilhelm Scream

The third band on stage were New Bedford's hardcore punks A Wilhelm Scream and their loud, ferocious sound that brought chills down my spine and gave the audience a jolt of raging adrenaline, having me convinced that their amps and mics were going to spontaneously burst into flames. Hypersonic fast guitars, deafening drums and Nuno Periera's screeching voice brought the people to life, a huge mosh pit encircled the center of the room with bodies flying in every direction. The sheer intensity of A Wilhelm Scream had my jaw dropping by the time they stopped playing, if I had a dollar for every time I said "holy s**t!" while seeing their theatrics and stage presence I would have had close to $100,000. A dynamic way to get everybody pumped up to see Less Than Jake's convulsing brand of ska-punk that's unlike anyone else.

Less Than Jake

At this point, the audience was so amplified that it lost all patience with close to 150 people closing in on the stage, anticipating the musical brilliance of Less Than Jake. Joined by Spring Heeled Jack and Mighty Mighty Bosstones trombone player Chris Rhodes, Less Than Jake started their set off with "Gainsville Rock City", "Johnny Quest Thinks We're Sellouts", "Look What Happened" and "The New Auld Lang Syne". In the middle of their set, lead singer and guitarist Chris Demakes and other lead singer and bassist Roger Manganelli brought up a teenager in a green jumpsuit and black goggles and had a short interview with him concerning the 2012 Presidential Election along with other various topics. When Demakes asked him, "If you were 18 years old, who would you vote for in the 2012 election?" The kid said, "Nobody." Demakes then called him a "virgin anarchist" and a "horrible American" in a jokingly sarcastic tone.

Less Than Jake resumed with "Help Save The Youth Of America From Exploding", "A Still Life Franchise", "The Science of Selling Yourself Short", "Escape From The A-Bomb House", "Conviction Notice", "Motown Never Sounded So Good", "How's My Driving, Doug Hastings?", "All My Best Friends Are Metalheads", "Goodbye Mr. Personality" and "The Ghosts of Me and You", that had the entire audience pogo up and down like a bunch of jumping beans at Cinco De Mayo. After the end of their set, the crowd would not stop clapping and chanting "Less Than Jake!!!! Less Than Jake!!!", the band the reemerged onstage and performed a trifecta of "Last One Out Of Liberty City", "History Of A Boring Town" and "Plastic Cup Politics". Another memorable night at The Met; to find out the next time your favorite band is coming through, log on to www.themetri.com for everything you need to know.

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