Skavoovie & The Epitones – Review

Skavoovie & The Epitones

An Overview of the Boston Ska Scene
by Skadude

When people think of Boston music, it’s usually the J. Geils Band, The Cars, or Aerosmith that spring to mind. What many people aren’t aware of is that Boston is home to the most prolific ska scene in the nation today. Sure, California has a great scene, but the state is huge! New York City has a big scene, but Boston still has a much higher ska-per-capita ratio. We can boast several nationally known ska bands that have helped put Boston Ska on the map. Our biggest ska export: the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, who just released their sixth full-length CD, Let’s Face It. People who don’t know what ska is (see sidebar), or for that matter, don’t consider the Bosstones ska, now hear the word ska thrown around thanks to their hit song “The Impressions That I Get” getting splashed all over radio and MTV. For those with an interest in or some knowledge of ska, you know that Boston is home to Bim Skala Bim, The Allstonians, Skavoovie & The Epitones, and Thumper. These bands have had an enormous impact in the ska community that reaches far beyond route 128. Each band sports at least one full-length CD (Bim has seven) and has scored no fewer than eight appearances on national ska compilations.

For best results, experience ska live! The most challenging part of recording ska is capturing the energy, excitement, fun, and karma that can only be experienced at a live show. Luckily for all the fans, Skavoovie spent four months last year on the road and this year they expect to spend six months touring the States. Bim has been to Europe three times, and Thumper just recently returned from a three-week tour of the Eastern US with another planned for June. As many will tell you, the live show is what makes a good ska band great. So let’s take a look at several Boston bands, their backgrounds and immediate future in Boston Ska.

Skavoovie & The Epitones
This Newton-based band has been storming all over the United States ever since their 1995 debut, Fat Footin’. With half the ten-member band on brass, they provide an unmatched super-phat horn sound. Their early promise was recognized quickly by critics and fans alike. In 1995, The Epitones were named one of Boston’s ten best bands by a leading newspaper and followed that up in ’96 with a take-no-prisoners trip into the semi-finals at the WBCN Rock & Roll Rumble (the first time any ska band made it past the preliminaries). While awaiting the early May release of their highly anticipated follow-up album, Ripe (also on Moon Ska), Skavoovie has been treating their fans to tasty new songs that kick serious skASS! Still very much young at heart, their playfulness and humor materialize in songs that pay tribute to favorite pastimes. “Aquaman” and “Japanese Robot Skank” are inspired by cartoons and television, while “Frogspirit,” “Plague,” and “Phobus” force listeners to puzzle over what could’ve inspired these gems. With almost half of the songs instrumentals, their soulful riffs and horn-driven, silky sway make it easy to get lost in the groove. Be sure to catch Skavoovie & The Epitones’ record release party at The Paradise on Commonwealth Ave. in Boston on Saturday, May 24th with The Amazing Royal Crowns and The Planet Smashers (from Montreal).

Want to learn more about Boston ska? Visit and sign up for the Boston Ska Emailing list (or send an email to The emailing list is sent out weekly with the latest information about what Boston’s ska bands are doing, as well as what shows will be heading toward Boston.