Date: August 1st 2003
Venue: Da Funky Phish
Friday marked a big day for the NY ska scene – The Scofflaws (www.scofflaws.com) have risen from the ashes. They had not released an album since “Record of Convictions” played a show in close to a year. And I don’t think anyone was too upset over it – the band was full of up and coming musicians that really had not matured yet.
Their talented trombonist, Buford O’Sullivan (now with the Toasters) had left and they had not filled his shoes. And their new, unrecorded material was sub-par. However, much like Axl kept hold of the brand name Guns ‘N Roses for future use, the original singer/saxaphonist, Richard “Sammy” Brooks held on to the legendary “Scofflaws.” Brooks reappeared on the stage at a smoke-free (too wierd) Funky Phish (www.dafunkyphish.com) with an old friend – original saxaphonist Paul Gebhardt (most recently seen playing with The Victor Rice Octet). The rest of the guys I didn’t recognize, but they were all 45+, easily double the age of most of the recently departed players.
I’m guessing several of them are long time jazz musicians because the whole set was very mellow and jazzy. They played classics like Shot in the Dark, Grazing in the Grass, Nude Beach, Frank’s Place, Back Door Open, etc. All of them very low-key, by Scofflaws standards. But that’s not to say Sammy didn’t yell and scream a little when he got the chance. They stayed away from their louder closers like Spider on My Bed and Boots, and played a jazzed up version of Paul Getty (1st album) while burning dollar bills to end the set. They got a pretty good reception, as this was the best they had sounded in years – luckily the finicky sound system at the Phish held out. They weren’t that tight, but this was only their 1st publicized gig together, so I’d very much like to see them in a few months. Perhaps they will return as one of Craig’s house bands at the Phish.