A sought-after venue for a ska band to play a show is Durango’s own Ska Brewery.
It’s a glorious ask to be invited to perform at a brewery named after the style of music your band plays; it’s also a selective offer because the brewery is first and foremost, a place that makes beer.
Sure, it hosts shows, and it’s hosted some big ones in its annual anniversary parties that happen every September, but it remains brewery first, and venue perhaps third or fourth in the line of offerings.
It’s a proposition New York City-based ska band The Slackers have been dreaming of for years. The Slackers have finally received and said yes to that invitation, as they will perform at Ska on Sunday. Opening for The Slackers is Florida-based reggae and soul band The Freecoasters.
The Slackers are stoked to knock a show at Ska Brewing off its venue wish list.
If you go
WHAT: The Slackers and The Freecoasters at Ska Brewing.
WHEN: 6 p.m. Sunday.
WHERE: Ska Brewing, 225 Girard St.
TICKETS: $20 at www.skabrewing.com. Ages 16 and older.
MORE INFORMATION: Visit www.skabrewing.com or call 259-5792.
“It’s been something we’ve wanted to do for seemingly ever,” said Slackers’ trombone player and vocalist Glen Pine. “Finally, we got the invite, so we’re thrilled.”
As a band, The Slackers is moving into its fourth decade. Purveyors of the rich history of the genre, musically it is part of the exploration of all eras of ska, mostly chasing the reggae and soulful roots of the genre’s infancy. It’s a genre loaded with history, and as a band The Slackers does what it can to honor not only the sound, but the people who put this style of music on the map.
“The band was originally trying to do the two-tone music inspired by the English ska and reggae stuff like The Specials, The Selecter, Madness. Then quickly the band decided to get really into the old Studio One and all the Jamaican stuff. Stuff on Trojan Records. And the band was like ‘this is our mission; we want to try and play this music,’” Pine said. “It’s incredible. There’s a deep reservoir of music and art and that became the mission statement of the band. Let’s try and emulate the folks that invented this music, like The Skatalites, Toots and the Maytals and Jimmy Cliff to name a few. Then Lee Scratch Perry with the reggae and dub stuff. It’s been an adventure in trying to play this music. It’s been an amazing experience.”
For Pine, it was also the unearthing of a style of music where he could play his saxophone in a rock-club setting, while also being part of a tight-knit, and under-the-radar music community.
“The idea that you can play music that people can dance to, and as a horn player, that’s fantastic. These amazing folks come out to these shows and have fun together and it’s really peaceful and fun. You can come with open arms in the scene,” he said. “When you discover Ska music you say, ‘this is some of the greatest music ever.’ It’s a devoted and incredibly loyal fan base of people that love this music.”
There’s also the beer aspect. Anyone familiar with the story of Ska Brewing knows that its founders brewed beer to a soundtrack of punk rock and ska. It’s a match made in music, brewery and barroom heaven, and one that fits quite well into The Slackers’ mission.
“That’s a love affair in itself,” Pine said. “Not only do those folks love beer, but they love ska music, and you know, when we can fuse our two loves into one thing, it’s quite cool.”
Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.