Skalapalooza 2012 (Pilfers, Edna’s Goldfish, Spring Heeled Jack) @ Gramercy Theatre, NYC

Live Reviews | Oct 23rd, 2012

Date: October 21st 2012
Bands: Across The Aisle, Sammy Kay and the Fast Four, Edna’s Goldfish, Spring Heeled Jack, Pilfers

Matt Flood and Asbestos Records gathered up some of the most beloved 90’s ska bands for a mini-tour in the East Coast. It started off in Philly, then headed to DC and then round 1 of shows ended in New York City at Gramercy Theatre Sunday night. The show was sold out so anyone that says ska is dead should just shut up hahaha. You’ll be able to see the rest of the tour this week (Stanhope NJ on Thursday, New Haven, Ct Friday, Providence RI on Saturday and Boston on Sunday).

There were 5 bands total on the bill, which proved to be too much for a Sunday night show. If anything, the show should have started around 5pm so that way the headliners (Pilfers that night) could go on at a decent time. Pilfers started around 11-11:30 which is usually when shows end! So I’m glad I took off the next day but a lot of people had to work Monday. Many cases of the Mondays that day!

Across The Aisle opened the show around 7:30pm and played for a half hour. I never heard of their music before but gave an energetic performance. The band featured a female singer, horn section and few others. They were okay and had their moments but honestly, I really just wanted to hear from the other bands.

Sammy Kay and The Fast Four (or in this case) The Snails played next and brought their Jamaican Ska/ Skinhead reggae to the show. It was a nice change of pace. Sammy Kay is leaving to the West Coast this week so this show was a bit of a going away party. I really dug their sound, even though Sammy said he was a bit nervous and was forgetting words haha. At one point they covered an Op Ivy song but couldn’t really tell you what else they played.

Reunited Spring Heeled Jack (USA) came on next. I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw Spring Heeled Jack play. I only saw them like 2 or 3 times (I remember New England Ska Fest and Pietasters/SHJ in Scranton) so it might have been one of those shows. The reunited SHJ featured Mike on vocals, Ronnie on guitar/vocals, Nick Bacon on keys, Howard “Corky” Evans on drums but not sure who was playing bass. There was no horns for this tour and the original idea for SHJ was going to be just acoustic. They wanted to do something a little bit different and plugged in instead.

Their set was great, although it was a bit short. I would have liked to have heard “Running Man” and “Pay Some Dues.” From what I can remember, they played songs like “Mass Appeal Madness,” “Beggin,” “Addicted,” and “Waiting, Watching.” I particularly liked hearing “Waiting, Watching.” At one point, they were looking for Coolie Ranx to do “Man of Tomorrow” but I don’t think he was around at the time. They seemed caught off guard with how short the set was but finished off nicely with “Jolene.” It was nice to see some of the band members back and doing some reunion shows, and hope they continue to play after this tour. Maybe do another run with the horn section if those guys can break away from their other bands.

Edna’s Goldfish reunited for one night and it seemed like the majority of people were there to see them play again. I haven’t seen them in probably 12 years or so? I forget the last show I saw them at but I’m sure it was either at The Wetlands or Skater’s World, where I saw them so many times it’s hard to remember how many times I saw EG. Seeing Edna’s Goldfish again brought back a lot of memories. Seeing them play at Skater’s World, playing the arcade with the band and the one time Brian Diaz came up to NJ to hang out on our Ska Punk And Other Junk radio show at Ramapo College. Even though no one barely listened to that show except a couple of people including my Grandparents haha.

The band has gone on to other things but I’m trying to think of why they don’t continue to just do more reunion shows. Hell, if the Pogues can find time to reunite and play shows every once and awhile I think a bunch of guys from Long Island can find time.

The band basically wanted to do the show because it was the 15th anniversary of their first release Before You Knew Better, which Asbestos Records released on vinyl (! EG played a lot of tracks off that like “I’m Your Density,” “Eventually, Anyway,” “Just Less,” “Sunrise to Sunset,” “Story,” and “If You Want It.” Brian said they rarely played “If You Want It” back in the day but played it that night. During “Purple,” Coolie Ranx came out and sang a little and danced in the background. All of the guys were clearly having a good time, and just taking in the moment of everyone singing along and dancing one more time. Just like in the past, Dave danced more than playing trumpet. He even admitted to not knowing how to play trumpet haha.

They played a lot from Elements of Transition like “Avoiding The Swerve,” “Everyone I Know Is from Lindenhurst,” “Invincible,” “Get To You” and of course “Veronica Sawyer.” They were joking saying just goes to show you even though you can get a music video on MTV, you can still fail haha. It was great seeing Edna’s Goldfish again and hope they decide to play more than every 3 years.

At this point in the show, it was around 11-11:15 or so when the Pilfers came on. A lot of people left after Edna’s Goldfish, either because they just came to see them or it was so damn late. I stuck around for most of the set of the Pilfers, because how can you leave before they even get on! That’s just silly. Pilfers started with “Chawalaleng,” and I believe played “Lay” 2nd or 3rd? With my increasing age, it’s hard to remember which songs they played or which order so bare with me.

Pilfers always bring an energetic set and continue to be one of my favorite live bands. Everyone’s jumping around, going into the crowd, getting the crowd to chant simple shit. Their shows are a lot of fun! They played tracks like “Show No Fear,” “Mr .Exploita,” “Hypnotized,” “What’s New,” and “Jolly Jolly Jolly.”

They played some new songs as well!! There has been talks of them working on new material for some time but we actually got to hear some this time. No idea what the songs were called but they seemed a little reggae-ish/rocksteady to me. I’m looking forward to hearing more!

My wife had to go to work Monday morning whereas I took off, but I still had to leave early. I left after “Generation,” which has always been one of my favorites from the band. I was told after that they played “Climbing,” “Why” and “Shits Up In The Air.” So I didn’t miss too much but it still sucks.

Definitely try to make it to the shows this week if you can, you won’t be disappointed!

See all my photos at and see all of Matt’s photos at his Flickr page.

Across The Aisle

Sammy Kay and the Fast Four / Snails

Spring Heeled Jack

Edna’s Goldfish



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