Less Than Jake @ (Skanksgiving 2013) Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ

Live Reviews | Nov 11th, 2013

Date: November 9th 2013
Opening Bands: Big D and the Kids Table, Mustard Plug, Red City Radio, Survay Says, Backyard Superheroes

Starland Ballroom usually holds big ska shows around this time of year and this was part 1 of 2 for the weekend. The first “Skanksgiving” show consisted of Less than Jake, Big D and the Kids Table, Mustard Plug, Red City Radio, Survay Says!, Backyard Superheroes and two other local bands.

Since there was 8 bands, I didn’t want to get there right when the show started so I apologize to the bands that opened. I just wasn’t going to sit through 8 bands and then want to leave right when Less Than Jake came on. I arrived at the packed club right when Backyard Superheroes (http://backyardsuperheroes.bandcamp.com/) were going on. They were a fun energetic ska band from New Jersey. I enjoyed their set but can’t really tell you what they played.

After that band, another NJ band Survay Says! came on. They were another band with a lot of energy on stage, and were particularly fun to photograph. Survay Says! and Red City Radio were touring with Big D and the Kids Table so that tour pretty much combined with Less Than Jake and the locals. I never heard of the band before but I’ll be checking out their music in the future. Red City Radio were up next and switched things up since they weren’t a ska band. It didn’t stop the crowd from crowd surfing and moshing, at least from my point of view.

Mustard Plug was third from last, but I thought they should have had Big D’s slot and played an hour. Essentially, I went to this show to see Mustard Plug and Less Than Jake. The last time I saw them was 4 years ago at Starland Ballroom for the Ska is Dead tour. The band has a new album coming out, via Kickstarter and plan to release that soon. They premiered a new song which sounded good, I just don’t remember the name of it. They played songs like “Go,” “Hit Me! Hit Me!,” “Life’s Too Short,” “Throw a Bomb,” and the always amusing, “Mr Smiley.” I was bummed about not getting a shot of Dave dribbling out of his mouth with a knife, but didn’t want the security guards yelling at me again.

They ended up covering Rancid’s “Roots Radicals,” which I haven’t heard them play before. Towards the end of the awesome set, they played “Mendoza,” “Brain on Ska” and of course finished the set with “Beer Song.” It’s been too long since last seeing Mustard Plug and wish they played longer. Big D and the Kids Table ended up playing 2nd to last and had an hour set. I could see why they were chosen for that slot since the crowd loved their set. I’ve never really gotten into Big D’s music for whatever reason, but they always put on a great show when I do see them live.

Big D’s singer David mentioned how great the bouncers have been at Starland Ballroom. I particularly noticed how friendly they were towards crowd surfers and in most cases, with photographers. If a crowd surfer was coming towards my way while I was shooting, the bouncers would tap me on the shoulder to either move or watch out. I even got to sit right at the edge of the pit after the 3 songs. Just some places aren’t like that. I just wish I wasn’t yelled at for taking photos after the 3 songs outside of the pit. Kids can take pictures with their crappy cell phones but someone who is accredited to be there, can’t. Doesn’t make sense to me at all and wish that would change. Anyway, Big D played for an hour and definitely got the crowd ready for Less Than Jake.

Less Than Jake is another band I’ve been a fan of for over 17 years and haven’t seen them in 4 years or so. Nothing has really changed except they have a new album out called See The Light on Fat Wreck Chords and they are still an amazing live band to see! They still have confetti and other fun things during their show, and their fans are still just as crazy as they are. I saw a kid dressed up in banana costume, a kid with a giant fucked-up afro, a guy in full stormtrooper costume and other odd things you might see as a LTJ show.

They started things off with “Good Enough,” which happens to be the first track of their new album as well. They played a lot of great tunes like “Sugar In Your Gas Tank,” “Last One Out of Liberty City,” “History of a Boring Town,” “Happyman,” and one of my favorites “The Science of Selling Yourself Short.” Apparently the later is the song that everyone comes to see them play. After that, they played the song I (and everybody in NJ) was hoping they would play, “Never Going Back to New Jersey.” It’s funny watching the band lip-sync to the intro and dance around like idiots on stage. They finished the set with “All My Best Friends are Metalheads” and came back to play “Johnny Quest Thinks Were Sellouts.” They were originally suppose to play “Rest of My Life” in the encore but that was scrapped for some reason. I was hoping to hear that one, even though everyone hates that album. I left after Johnny Quest but I believe they played “Gainesville Rock City” and “Plastic Cup Politics.”

I saw a lot of bands that night but it was well worth it. I could have seen LTJ at Highline Ballroom but really wanted to see other ska bands too. Plus Highline Ballroom doesn’t have a photo pit and I didn’t want to get crushed trying to take a photo. Be sure to get Less Than Jake’s newest album now and be sure to get Mustard Plug’s new album when it’s released!

Backyard Superheroes:

Survay Says!:

Red City Radio:

Mustard Plug:

Big D and the Kids Table:

Less Than Jake:


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