Matamoska, Narcoleptic Youth, South Central Skankers, & More Kick Off Cinco De Mayo Weekend in Orange County

Posted: May 7, 2013 in Events, Music, Orange County, Punk Rock, Ska
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When most Americans like to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with lots of drinking and Mariachi music, they stray away from the traditional purpose of Cinco de Mayo, and instead celebrate it the American way. Historians will tell anyone that properly celebrating Cinco de Mayo involves listening to ska music, particularly the Latin-influenced kind. Since Cinco de Mayo fell on a weekend this year, many local bands took it upon themselves to play Cinco de Mayo tribute shows, starting with Friday the 3rd. Down in Orange County, eight local ska and punk rock bands played a small all-ages Cinco de Mayo show last Friday night, resulting in a long six-hour show filled with music and very small down time. To fit all eight bands in the allotted time, the venue gave bands no more than 15 minutes to set up following the previous band. Consider this, and that the venue allowed no in-and-outs, plus no food or drinks available (contrary to the advertisement), meant many tired fans by the end of the night. Admission started at $10, but at some point, admission had increased, as one fellow later in the night admitted to paying $12 to enter.

Local band PSA kicked off the night with their ska-core set. This group of kids has yet to create any sort of foundation, as they carry no official recordings or merchandise. At the moment, they only play small gigs locally. They sound most like very old Falling Sickness with their quick riffs and ska-like chords. This early in the night, no more than 20 people had shown up; however, a few crowd members displayed significant enthusiasm, meaning PSA brought their close friends in, which I later found out got in free.

Damaged came on next, replacing Niño Zombi on the lineup. Imagine some very offensive backyard punk rock music, and you have Damaged. This local punk rock band from La Habra did not hesitate to piss off the crowd with all the F-bombs thrown around the entire set. They purposely wanted to anger everyone to stir up the pit this early. Although they succeeded in generating a pit, the pit contained no more than four boys circling around acting tough. Damaged took an extra five minutes to set up, and ended their set after 20 minutes. This gave the next band five free minutes to set up for their set.

Once Damaged ended their set early and left their mark on the crowd, Corrupted Youth started their set right on time. A street punk band from Los Angeles, these guys do more than just play shows – they organize shows too. They also play some good fast hardcore punk music, resembling The Casualties in their music. Although they still took breaks between songs, their gaps did not last as long as the previous bands, who felt the need to talk between songs. Corrupted Youth just took a quick breather before entering the next song. This 30-minute set of carnage set off the night, as the pit started going hard from this point on.

Not A Chance played next with their ska-core set. Their music carries the fast element of Falling Sickness, but they sound more like older Against All Authority. Having just seen them less than a month ago, I already had high expectations for them, and this set did not disappoint. The energy never faded, and they stringed together all their songs as best as they could, minimizing down time. They play a handful of original songs, and they also cover Bloodhound Gang and Ol’ Dirty Bastard at one point in their set. I can see Not A Chance going far – they just need their big break.

The night truly picked up when the next band entered the stage. Does the face look familiar? Original punk rock fans will recognize the lead vocalist as Mike Virus from The Virus and Cheap Sex. He now heads another band called Evacuate, which carries similar hardcore and street punk music that Mike sang for in his previous bands. For a moment, I wondered why they chose to play this small show, and why they did not headline this show. Regardless, after having thought I would never see Cheap Sex again, I rejoiced by joining in with the pit, which had escalated significantly by now. Evacuate played a 45-minute set, well over their allotted time slot, but who cares when everyone had fun?

South Central Skankers, the first of the night’s three headliners, took to the stage next. One of the true Latin-based ska bands, South Central Skankers played one of the smoothest sets I had ever heard. True to their name, they got the entire room skanking in a wide circle. During their set, they threw out free CD’s and t-shirts as well. They really know how to take care of their fans, and played the right songs to get them moving, including a sing-along song. Most of the crowd had attended this show just for South Central Skankers, evident by the thinner crowd presence for the next bands.

The second headliner marked the final hardcore/street punk band of the night. Narcoleptic Youth drew out all the punk fans in the crowd, who in turn essentially pushed all the ska people aside so they could mosh in the pit. They did not fail to meet expectations – just some good old street punk would get anyone up on their feet and moving. Thankfully, most of the night’s crowd attended the show for South Central Skankers, and most of them left after that set. This cleared out lots of room in front of the stage, allowing for a wider pit. As I had not seen these guys since last year, I most looked forward to watching Narcoleptic Youth on this night.

Last but not least, Matamoska filled up the stage. Another Latin-based Californian ska band, Matamoska bases their style around the punk rock side rather than the smoother side, creating a Latin ska-punk sound for their band. Matamoska often plays with South Central Skankers, as Matamoska’s keyboardist also played for the South Central Skankers set. In return, some of South Central Skankers’ brass players came out to play with Matamoska during one of their songs. Crossovers never get old, and this act added some extra fun to a long and tiring night.

Ska shows occurred all Cinco de Mayo weekend all over Southern California. Although I could not attend them all, I certainly hope you did to check out the ska scene here in California. Shows will keep coming too, so always check back weekly to discover a show near you!

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Comments
  1. […] Matamoska, Narcoleptic Youth, South Central Skankers, & More Kick Off Cinco De Mayo Weekend in O… […]

  2. […] them again for the second day in a row, South Central Skankers entered the stage third for the night. Compared to the previous night, they […]

  3. […] of Corrupted Youth strongly resembles The Casualties with the way their vocalist screams. Since the last time I saw them, their sound had not progressed at all; however, compared to the last show I saw them at, their […]

  4. […] Orange County skacore band, Not A Chance, came up next. Since the last show I saw them at last year, their sound has not altered much – they still sound like the early […]

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