Who’s that all a-dressed up in black ‘n’ white? Who’s a-gonna shake their bum tonight? Well, fork me for a priestess, it’s the Ska Vengers! My old mum loves them ‘cos they keep their hair tidy and their socks clean; me, I love ’em because I’m just a right-thinking guy. I couldn’t say no to that great, groovy riot (legs!) if I tried.
Pay attention, indie children: the grapevine’s been abuzz with snottery about these slick Delhi lads and lasses lately. “Downhill from the Jass B’stards“, “too cabaret”, “publicity stunt” etc.. Not right at all: this is the real macaroonies, the honkiest tonk. If you like your music jumpy and your sugar sweet, then here’s a party for you; slumming it out on the sofa with your Woody Allen biography will never be as fun.
I held the spy’s post at this show, by the PA, to the side of the stage. On the left half of my screen, the Ska Vengers in profile; on the right, a liberal smithering of Bangalore’s fittest & shiniest. Over the hour, the ‘Vengers swung, crackled and popped to my left, like a single pulsing creature with many different heads. To my right, the crowd were slowly, systematically wrenched from their lazy apathy into no-holds-barred hopping and spinning: it’s a sight to behold, the ‘Vengers working this transformation from their posts, and guess what? They’ll make the haughtiest snob in you drop his pants and break out into joyous epilepsy: heaven knows, there’s a lot to be a snob about in this country, but bedroom-pop nose-in-the-air humphing about expensive big-city hair-downs doesn’t survive the grand jerk of that rhythm section and the honk of brass.
Three Ska Venging things:
1. There’s always somebody to watch for. Tired of banging to the groove-monster on the kit? Look for the keys merchant, there he is making odd electronic noises. Or the pogoing bass-player over there, slinking up and and down the long neck. Live music’s as much about what you see as what you hear. The Ska Vengers have that one worked out.
2. There’s always something to listen for. Whoopie, a wah-snap from the rhythm guitar. Or a blare from over at the brass stand, just in time to kick the whole deal up a notch. Tight as the farmer’s favourite goat, they are; some of the best hard musicmanship around.
3. Give one of the frontmen a song to sing, and the other gets to work mobilising the crowds and generally keeping things going. There are no breaks. Nobody gets to take a breath. One for the textbooks.
At this point, I would like to, with enoughmuch fanfare heretoforeby unknown in these provinces, on behalf of this city and myself, hand this formal token of our appreciation to Papa Ska Venger & Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy Ska Vengers, Snappy Ska Venger at the microphone, and the pretty little Ska Venger on the oboe. It was a most amusing evening for one; the town and oneself are grateful.
The Right Hon. Lt. Np. Ll. Moop, esq.
P.S. oh. god. those. legs.