The Supervillains @ Mr. Smalls Theatre, Millvale, PA

Live Reviews | Oct 13th, 2007

Opening Bands: Slightly Stoopid, Inner Circle
Date: October 9, 2007

Sometimes, my luck never seems to change. I bought tickets to this show for one reason and one reason only…Fishbone was supposed to be playing. Well I found out that the dates that Fishbone were playing were totally different then what was listed on both their website and on Mr. Smalls website AFTER tickets went on sale. Every time I really want to see a band that I never saw before, I can never catch them the first time they come back here because the show is always cancelled. It happened with Rancid, it happened with Social Distortion and now it happened with Fishbone.

Now, I really like the Supervillains and had never seen them live but I was pissed because I felt ripped off and was thinking of selling my ticket. I went so far as to post it on Craig’s List. About a week later I received an e-mail from the place that I bought my ticket with a change in the line up. Inner Circle had been added in place of Fishbone. Not quite the trade off that I was looking for but I felt that it was well worth it now to attend the show.

Slightly Stoopid was the headlining band on this tour but since I wasn’t there to see them anyway, I’m going to start with the last band first. I’m not a big fan of Slightly Stoopid but I can listen to their earlier stuff as well as some of their Sublime-reggae stuff. The reason that I don’t like them that much is the reason why I left the show early knowing that I’m not going to miss much…that reason is the white boy with his hat sideways hip-hop that they like to play. I don’t enjoy rap very much and I hate it even more when it comes from So-Cal white boy surfers. They did sound good for the first hour when they would mix it up between fast punk rock, ska and Sublime reggae. Then things turned to shit with the rap crap. With a point to the door to my sister in law and a nod of the head, we were out the door.

We will now travel back in time to the band that played before Slighty Stoopid. You may recognize them from the theme song to everyone’s favorite reality TV show about the fuzz, COPS. Or you may have heard “Sweat (A La La La La Long)”, their biggest radio hit from the 90’s. I have heard a couple of Inner Circle songs other than those two and I thought that they were pretty good but I never did pick up any of their albums. All that I have to say is that I have been missing out on a damn good reggae band. I had thought that they were more mainstream reggae/dancehall than what they sounded like in person. Every member of the band had that wild, old school rastafari look and sound that makes reggae so unique and interesting. They had that early reggae sound with the big drums, powerful basslines, and the chuck-a chuck-a guitar but weren’t afraid to mix things ups with a little ska and some dancehall. Kris Bentley, the lead singer had a stage presence that was very powerful and full of energy. The rest of the band seemed to draw from his enthusiasm, which in turn fed the dance happy crowd. There may not have been a mellow mood during their turn on stage, but it did feel like I was hanging on the shores of Runaway Bay all over again. Closing their set with the unabridged version of “Bad Boys”, I was reminded again how much I love reggae and how much more I love it live. Inner Circle pumped the ragga-juice back into my veins with their island sound the world around.

Continuing on our reverse journey of this particular concert, we will now end with the opening band on the night, the Supervillains. The thing that I like the most about the Supervillains is that they’re not afraid to wear their ska on their sleeve. They could have made it big in the mid nineties with the ska/punk that is very much reminiscent of bands like Slapstick or early Less Than Jake. To me, it’s refreshing to see a band that isn’t afraid to play what they want to play when everyone in the scene thinks that every ska band should sound like the Slackers. With only about a half hour to play, the Supervillains put forth one hell of a set list. Their latest album, “Grow Yer Own” is by far their best effort to date and most of the songs that they played were off of it. “Resin”, “Little Girl”, and my personal favorite “Ex-Girlfriend” showed up as well as some older songs like “Robots In Hell” and “Oi’s To the Hood”. About as quick as they appeared on stage, they were gone.

Our most excellent journey has come to a conclusion. I’m still disappointed that I didn’t get to see Fishbone this time (those bastards had better make true on their promise to come back to the east coast), but the addition of Inner Circle and a chance to see the Supervillains more than made up for it. I would love to see a Supervillains headlining gig and I would most definitely see Inner Circle again so overall, the show turned out much better than I had expected. Even though Slightly Stoopid pretty much sucked, I’m glad that I was able to provide booze money for the Supervillains and weed money for all the bands on the bill. Enjoy it fellas!

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