Folklife Ska & Reggae

Hey, let’s see if I can keep y’all in the loop on a weekly basis! Here’s some quick updates on what shows we have this week, and any other news I see fit:

Seattle Shows

May 26th (Friday)
Mural Amphiteatre (Seattle Center) All Ages FREE
FolkLife Ska Showcase featuring
The Georgetown Orbits (Set starts at 5:25 PM)
The Skablins (Set starts at 4:40 PM)

May 29th (Monday)
Mural Amphiteatre (Seattle Center) All Ages FREE
FolkLife Reggae Rising Party featuring
Clinton Fearon & Boogie Brown Band (Set starts at 8:15 PM)
Kore Ionz (Set starts at 7:30 PM)
Two Story Zori (Set starts at 6:45 PM)
Playerz of Instruments (Set starts at 6:00 PM)

Okay folks, so the big happenings this weekend in the Emerald City is going to be at Folklife, the free, extremely local semi-Bumbershoot/Sasquatch alternative*. Friday, you have the Skablins kicking it off at 4:40 playing their blend of Ska, and for the uninitiated, I’d call them Second and a Half Wave Ska. Definitely some Two-Tone, definitely some Ska/Punk and honestly, Gordy’s approach to vocals reminds a bit of Danny Elfman at times. Fun group that definitely fills out a stage and a great opportunity to check them out if you have ever wondered about the kind of Skank Inducing Shenanigans that go down at their headquarters at Mirkwood.

Then, The Georgetown Orbits hit the stage with their blend of Ska/Reggae/Rocksteady with a bit of Soul/Jazz/Funk to boot! I hear they are working on their fourth album and as usual, if you want to see the group with the longest tenure of rockin the sounds of Jamaica’s Golden Era in Seattle, this is your chance. As a side note, The Ska Mission is totally stoked to have them on bill for the “Ska Reggae Etc Showcase” on July 14th with Easy Big Fella, Monkey, Fairhaven, Franks’N’Deans and DJ SoulShot at the High Dive in Fremont

Moving on to Monday, its Reggae Reggae Reggae with Playerz of Instruments kicking it off. Admittedly, I’m not familiar and not able to find any recordings, so it’s a chance for me to hear something completely new.

I love Two Story Zori, having seen them open for a king of guitar, Ernest Ranglin, and last year, when they played a free show at St. Edwards Park. Good flowing, 808 Island influenced Reggae that mixes catchy originals with some creative takes on Top 40 hits. They have a full time Uke player and excellent vocal harmonies.

Next, you have Kore Ionz, whose single “First Avenue,” gets stuck in my head from time to time with the perfect vocals and sweet horn blends. Very chill, has something of a Big Mountain feel to it.

This leads up to the hardest working man in Seattle Reggae, Mr. Clinton Fearon. Since playing in his first band, The Brothers, when he was 16, to his time in the Gladiators and then relocating to Seattle in the late 80s, Mr. Fearon has been singing, playing, writing and rocking for 50 years now. He’s put out 12 albums since 1994, with the latest, “Good Morning,” coming out last fall and he’s continually playing with his group, Boogie Brown Band, or finding places around town to play his acoustic and usually, he’s doing it for free. This Man is a treasure to our great music community and if you do nothing else this weekend, go see him Monday Night!

*At least for people that wish those shows had more Ska/Reggae ;P

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Whats the Happs?

So, it’s been a while since I’ve run things down on what’s happening in the PNW Ska/Reggae Scene. Here’s some news and tidbits:

-The Sentiments had a highly successful mini-tour with The Slackers and wowed audiences in Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria and of course their hometown, Portland. Don’t forget, they dropped their album, “Hi-Fi”, on December 1st and you can get yourself a copy HERE.

-Speaking of tours, It Gets Worse completed their jaunt down the west coast, hitting up venues in Medford, Orange County, Los Angeles, Tempe, Tucson, Flagstaff and Oakland. Sounds like they did the PNW proud with some great crowds and now they have returned home to get this album out that they keep teasing me with, hopefully ;). They have a pre New Years Eve show next Friday (30th) at Barboza with Gully and Tacoma Reggae Dudes, Echoshot. Then, they will be supporting the Devil’s Three Way Tour that features Voodoo Glow Skulls, Buck-O-Nine and The Porkers at El Corazon on January 10th and IGW has tickets, so if you need them still, hit those dudes up. Also, a side note on that Corazon gig: the show is being opened by a young Ska group known as Simple Minded Symphony, I recommend you check em out.

-Oh and dare I say more your news? The Bandulus, those glorious rockers of Bridge City, are hitting the road with the LA homies, The Steady 45s, for a trip through California, Arizona and all the way to the Dulu birthplace, Austin, TX. This journey ends up in Portland at the Fixin’ To on March 4th and also has a date in Eugene at Old Nick’s Pub on March 3rd, for my PNW contingent, but keep an eye for my postings and repostings of the full itinerary. Also, i hear Dulu Record #3 and #4 are in different stages of completion, so someday hopefully not too far from now, we get ourselves some new tunes to drink and dance to my friends 🙂

-But the tour news ain’t over yet. Our Eastern WA/Spokaner buddies, Ragtag Romantics, are going on some insane quest of 120 gigs that starts in March and ends in July, I believe. They are going along with Deschamp, an awesome solo artist with a new album for y’all to check out. We are working on a Seattle date, stay tuned for that.

-The Georgetown Orbits have some big 2017 plans and they start with the first Ska Mission supported show of the year: The GTOs alongside Easy Big Fella and Skablins will be hitting the High Dive in Fremont on the 13th of January. Then, I’m hearing rumblings of recordings from the Orbs and maybe some out of area shows. One can only hope 🙂

-As for my glorious self, (This is the part where most of y’all can click out of the window), I survived another online semester of second bachelor degree quest and am trying to figure out the next steps along with RC and Justin. I want the Mission to keep growing and for Ska/Reggae music to seem ubiquitous in the region, especially with all the talent from here and all the talent that wants to come here.

We are currently working on the lineup for the next Ska Fest installment and should have some groups to announce soon. Honestly, this may be the biggest one yet, depending on how the machinations in place turn out. I would love for this to become an even bigger event on a cultural and artistic standpoint, so we will be looking into some potential extra events and yea, I’m  using a lot of vague speak in this post, but I promise all will be revealed when ALL is confirmed.

Finally, I will have my albums of 2016 list up before the New Year, so check back for that if you like and some show updates on the show lists as well. Cheers and love to you and yours!

-Stuck