Date: February 20th 2004
Venue: Da Funky Phish
Yes, the Scofflaws (www.scofflaws.com). After a long hiatus following their last reformation, the boys from Huntington, NY are back. A brief history (as I can recall) – The Scofflaws (originally the New Bohemians, but that’s another story) were formed on Long Island and released their 1st album in 1991.
They released 3 others in the 90’s while going through the “normal” periodic lineup changes, typical of any band. Since the 4th album (Record of Convictions) they lost several of their longtime bandmembers (see www.royalroost.com) and have disappeared off the scene twice for extended periods. Both times they were written off as dead.
The band is still fronted by Richard “Sammy” Brooks, the longtime singer/sax player. He has assembled a few guys from the Bluebeats and a longtime Scofflaw sax player who converted to baritone sax.
They played one set at Dafunky Phish (www.dafunkyphish.com) including a bunch of oldies – Nude Beach, a revamped Back Door Open (please change it back), Grazin’ in the Grass, Bernie’s Tune, and Ska-la-Carte. There was also some post Record of Convictions material that I don’t really care for – Frank’s Place, Love Situation and a few others. True to form, Sammy talked about pot during every song, even the instrumentals.
They started off a little rough, but played a little tighter on some of the classics. 2 or 3 people actually started dancing. But I guess, this was not a big ska crowd – there were mostly punk bands on the bill that night.
They closed with a Shot in the Dark off their first album and got a good round of applause from the crowd. No encore as there was another band playing next. Not bad for their 1st live performance together. I’ll also give them a few extra points since the sound system at the Phish can be a handicap. Look for a better performance at the Knitting Factory (www.knittingfactory.com) on 2/28 after a few more rehearsals. They are opening for the Skatalites.