Local Wire

Ska Brawl 2006

Despite its combative-sounding moniker, the Ska Brawl tour won't consist of skank-happy rude boys battling in a clash of brass knuckles and brass instruments. Nor will it feature local upstart ska bands like The Dietrichs or the eight-member ensemble Captain Squeegee & The Soap Suds taking out veteran Third Wave superstars The Toasters or Boston's Westbound Train. Truth is, these four bands are pretty happy sharing the same bill. "This is our fourth time playing with The Toasters, and it's still cool 'cause they're legends and have such a tight, brassy sound," explains Austen Mack, vocalist/guitarist for Captain Squeegee. "Plus you're guaranteed a good turnout since the older crowd always shows up." Mack says each band offers its own distinctive take on the jumpy, Jamaican-born genre, such as his group's "mixed meter calculated dissonance," which has recently been influenced by everything from Igor Stravinsky to jazz. "We were influenced big time in the beginning by The Toasters and the Third Wave sound, but we were a bunch of goofy high school kids back then," Mack admits. "I think it's just a maturing of tastes, and now we're trying our own thing." Skanks for the memories.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.