As impish as its moniker, ska wisenheimers in Some Ska Band hit the Record Archive’s backroom lounge this week like a chainless wrecking ball.
The place was packed as the band navigated its narrative nice and raunchy with sweet swagger and sway. From influences culled from the ska new wave ’80s handshake like Madness to the deep dish reggae gotcha of old-school progenitors like the Skatalites. It was fantastic. It was flippy. It was far out.
I haven’t seen Texas guitar player Anson Funderburgh since he played with harmonicat Sam Meyers some 30-odd years ago at the Red Creek. That’s how long I’ve been getting down around the scene here.
Little known fact: Funderburgh played in a band with Mike Judge—the creator of “King of the Hill” and “Beavis and Butthead”—with his snicker and blond pompadour. It is rumored that the Texas twang master and the cartoon appendage are one and the same. Just like it’s told around campfires that Mr. Green Jeans is Frank Zappa’s dad. Don’t believe me? Look it up. Or better yet, dig on Funderburgh the next time he barrels through town; this time, he eviscerated his Strat before a faithful Abilene gathering.
I swear when I looked over by the coat check, I saw a sad-looking character leaning up against the wall, nursing a long neck. He just stood there tall and lonesome with tears in his eyes and sportin’ green trousers. He was muttering something about 30 years, as he shook his head.
Chris “Hollywood” English
I don’t think Rochester singer-drummer Chris “Hollywood” English really knows just how good he is. His new single, “It’s Alright,” may shed some light on the humility and the deficit between the fans that know his worth and the artist who graces us from the ether of blessed inspiration.
First, let’s take a hold of the root of the situation—the man’s voice. His pipes ring out and get wrung out not unlike the Rev. Al Green; no small feat there, I tell you. It’ll give your chills the chills, it’ll give your goosebumps, goosebumps.
No matter what band he fronts or what band he keeps time in, it all comes down to a thing of utter beauty. As far as “It’s Alright,” it’s a killer diller from the punch of the horns to the steel’s cry and squeal. Prepare to drop your jaw like a cash register drawer. It’s that good. And so is Hollywood.
They’ve plenty for you, from these dark rockers that wield an electric guitar like a battering ram while fans scream out preambles to classify their kind of metal. Sometimes that can be taken more as a warning, especially when a band like Midnight comes to town and slices it up the middle between rock, metal and punk. It was like cruise night with the Ramones and Motorhead.
But we’re talkin’ Midnight here. From Cleveland.
These heavy hitters came to Photo City in Rochester last weekend with a new album, “Rebirth by Blasphemy,” with them and wearing lovely matching CIA interrogation hoods. This may not have been your thing, what with the speed, volume and vocals sung as if being wheezed and squeezed from a dying man’s throat, but I urge you to check out Ohio’s Midnight the next time they come around. There’s just enough rock ’n’ roll in the doom and gloom to make it work, to make you dig deep.
Here’s a comprehensive list of live shows in and around Rochester: Get Your Gig On