Thursday, April 8, 2010

N.Y. Beat 25th Anniversary Celebration Kicks Off This Saturday April 10, 2010 In New York City

The reunion to celebrate the release of the iconic ska compilation N.Y. Beat!: Hit & Run is upon us. If you were in one of the bands, or went to ska shows at CBGB's, The Continental or Danceteria back in the 80's or are a fan of American ska, then you may want to to come by the Dusk Lounge in New York City this Saturday April 10, 2010 at 8 pm. The bar (which is owned by A-Kings/Thick As Thieves bass player Sid Reitzfeld) should be filled with members from almost all of the bands featured on the album. Fans, family and friends are all welcome to join the festivities as well. The night will feature Steve Shafer (The Duff Guide To Ska) spinning all three waves of ska, reggae and rocksteady as well as lots of old pictures from back in the day.

The reunion came about as a result of profiles and interviews I posted over the last year about bands and musicians who were an integral part of the 1980's NYC ska scene. As I met and spoke with more and more people who played in the bands featured on the N.Y. Beat! compilation, they were excited about the idea of coming together to celebrate the social and musical movement they collectively created.

As background, 'NY Beat: Hit and Run' was the very first compilation of U.S. ska ever. Released by Moon Records in 1985-86, it captures a snapshot in time of a vibrant New York ska scene that was notable for its musicianship but also its cultural diversity and its relative youth (most band members average age was 17-20 years old). While the music on the record is more influenced by the British 2-Tone movement than the later bands that would drive the third-wave revival, its a diverse mix of ska, reggae, pop, punk, funk, rock and soul. Artists include A-Kings, Beat Brigade, The Boilers, City Beat, Cryin' Out Loud, The Daybreakers, Floorkiss, The Press, The Scene, Second Step, The Toasters, Too True and Urban Blight. Amazingly, many of the musicians who started and played in these bands are still actively playing and performing.

The original issue of the comp was celebrated with a big show at Danceteria in 1986 featuring all the major bands who were part of the NYC ska scene at the time. In many ways it was the high point for the NYC ska scene which really exploded both in the New York City area and outside the northeast, particularly in California. I was at the launch party show, and it inspired me to pick up the bass guitar and start my own ska band Bigger Thomas.

There is a NY Beat! Facebook page dedicated to the reunion and it has quickly gained fans (400+ and counting) and become a way for band members and fans to reconnect. There are also pictures, interviews, articles, video and live shows posted on the page which speak to the power of the NYC ska scene to connect and bring together a diverse scene of musicians and fans who helped make ska the sound of New York in the 80's and early 90's. Feel free to visit the page and add your own two cents, upload a picture or share a memory.

If you happen to be in New York City this Saturday April 10th and want to celebrate with us, please come by Dusk Lounge. Hope to see you there.

1 comment:

Joe Scholes said...

So many exciting Ska-related things going on in your city these days. Your posts make sure that the excitement can be felt everywhere. They are very much appreciated. I wonder how you are able to deliver this quantity and quality.