The Toasters – at Pearl Street – Review

The Toasters

at Pearl Street
by Melissa Vaughn

Picture this: Friday the 13th. Three girls on a happy ska adventure. Upon reaching our destination, we thought we had reached the ultimate in elation. Could I dare call it euphoria? The anxious anticipation of our entrance was enhanced by the couple ahead of us in line. They had licenses from Wyoming. This was significant. We were sure of it. Had they travelled across the continent just to enjoy the show? If they had, we knew that this band was not just everyday household appliances. They were Toasters.

We viewed the club, got our bearings and now it was time to prepare the camera. We snapped shots of random freaks and the occasional band member sighting. One particular freak sticks out in my mind. We could have used all the film on him alone. We saw him standing in the corner assuming various positions. Some resembled Yoga. Some resembled vogueing. Was it Yougeing or Voga?

The opening band, Knuckle Sandwich, did less than hold our interests. We kept ourselves entertained by taking candid photos of the Toasters band members. The first one we spotted was Sledge (trumpet). As always, he was at the bar surrounded by women. His only distraction was a double shot of Goldschlager. We turned to see Fred Reiter (saxophone) having an intimate moment with a scantily clad mannequin. He noticed our stares and proceeded to become more graphic with the mannequin. Cheering him on was the drummer, also avoiding the opening band. Nearby we photographed Buck (guitar, vocals) who was behind the ska paraphernalia stand and he convinced us to buy t-shirts.

The agony of the opening band ended. We found the perfect spot to enjoy The Toasters and the people around us. They began to play and, of course, the stage performance was incredible. Everyone skanked happily together. The atmosphere added to the already great show. The usual, unwanted, violent guests were not present. There was more freedom to dance without the worry of being elbowed, kicked, punched, etc. It was a toss up who was more enthusiastic – the band or the crowd.

Singer Cooly tried to teach proper skanking techniques by yelling, “Step, step, step” to the beat. Sledge dirty-skanked with any female nearby. The other horn players jumped up and down and skanked all around. Everyone was happy, including the couple from Wyoming! Imagine that! My celestial state was interrupted by an out-of-date older couple doing the two-step and chanting “Ska.” That bothered me; questions deluged my mind – what were they doing here? Who were they? Do they have a clue?

Just when we thought our celebration had ended, there was an encore – a happy encore. As the horn players skanked their way to the back of the audience, the crowd rushed the stage. The audience became the performers and the performers became part of the audience. This was the pinnacle of happiness! Happy! Happy! Ska! Ska!

Sorry, Dad, the photos didn’t develop.