– It’s good to get out every now and again. There’s a host of people I just don’t see anymore, and it seems like some friendships have been “collateral damage” in my effort to reforge myself as a worthwhile member of society. Events like this used to be my excuse to act like an ass, but you can’t blame the ska for that. The ska is unimpeachable, and dressing smart and dancing stupid is still one of my favorite things in the world. But anyway, it was good to see some folks I haven’t talked to in a long while.
I have been curious about Checkered Beat ever since I got back from England. I wanted to check out their August show, but wasn’t able to get out. It’s been since Ruskabank that there’s been a local ska band that I’ve been excited about. The Sex Police out of Kansas City were good, but just never inspired me to dance, and that’s critical. Or maybe I was just much more in love with the brew whenever I saw them, and it’s not their issue but mine. But anyway, I had some reservations when Checkered Beat took the stage. Back in the 90s I think we were all a little burned from the huge cash-in of high school band geeks suddenly discovering a cool genre that they could play, and flooding venues and record stores with really, really third rate music. And cover bands. Cover bands playing “ska’d up version” of other songs sort of became a genre in itself, and one that I don’t mind having died out.
But as Checkered Beat played on they got better and better, and by the time they closed out with a version of “Ghost Town” I was just floored. And I do mean “version”, because all of a sudden, during one of the musical breaks, the lead singer dropped a dancehall style toast, and I decided right then and there that I was a fan.
The Toasters themselves rocked so hard that I was too busy dancing to take a picture. I danced my ass off, and that’s a positive thing indeed. But here is a picture of what remains of the old scene in Lawrence: an old tour sticker that’s survived in that bathroom through probably a dozen different name changes for the bar itself. I really need to go dancing more often. And did I mention that the Toasters rocked so hard I was too busy dancing to take a picture, or anything else? Because the Toasters rocked.