The ska scene has been dormant for awhile now with no sign of a revival in sight. For today’s ska fans, throwing on your chucks and dancing along to speed-heavy punk anthems with brass filled breakdowns is merely a memory. Unfortunately for the artists, unless you’re Real Big Fish, most bands from the genre have faded away after a 2-3 album expiration date, rarely playing anything outside of Warped Tour. Then there are bands like Less Than Jake, who have stayed relevant without adjusting their sound for sales. Releasing their first album, Pezcore, in 1995, the Florida-based ska band is here twenty years later and still sold out both back-to-back shows this weekend at The Foundry. In the world of ska this is huge because fans aren’t used to going to sold out shows. “This is a show for the true fans!” exclaimed front man, Chris Demakes, as they open up the set with “Automatic” the first song from their acclaimed album, Losing Streak, released 19 years ago. It wasn’t until the fourth song, “Sugar in Your Gas Tank,” that everyone began to realize that they are actually playing Losing Streak in it’s entirety from beginning to end, filling the crowd with a burst of nostalgia and excitement. With each song building more anticipation for the next, longtime trombone and sax players, Buddy Schaub and Peter Wasilewski, took turns highlighting their range with so many climactic brass moments leaving the crowd thinking any song could potentially be the last, with total satisfaction. Chris Demakes is a funny guy and loves to give the crowd a hard time for living in the era that we do. He took time to tease a girl for texting while standing in the front row. After ending the Losing Streak set uninterrupted with the final song, Lock Down, the band brought everyone back to the present for the encore and finished it off with a few songs from their most recent album, “See The Light,” including “Good Enough” and “Look What Happened.” Although ska may never make a triumphant comeback any time soon, Less Than Jake is here to stay as they continue to give the same unyielding performances they have for 20 years, probably not in the same venues as before, but for the same fans.
Photos & Words By Ben Wong