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Skanks For The Memories: A Look At The Arizona's Ska Scene Past and Present

The featured story in this week's music section detailed the growing success of local ska band 2 Tone Lizard Kings. While my piece mainly focused on 2TLK, the six-year-old ensemble is only one of seven different ska acts that are actively performing in Arizona (which, as I mentioned in my screed, equals - if not outright exceeds - the number of bands that were in existence during ska's big heyday of 1995 to 1998).
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I'm not shy in admitting that the Lizard King's feature serves as a love letter of sorts to Arizona's ska scene and its history, as does this blog. As a compliment to the story, here some glimpses both audio and visual at some of the ska groups (both past and present) that have called Arizona home.


Kongo Shock
Years active: 1994-1998

This seven-member ska act has the distinction of being the first-ever ska band I ever saw perform live (more specifically opening for Skankin' Pickle along with Plinko in 1994). During their four years of existence, the band produced two albums (1995's Dick Triple Flip and 1997's Get on the Bus) and hosted a regular ska night at the old Boston's.

Dave's Big Deluxe
Years active: 1991-1999

Hailing from Tucson, this energetic sixsome rocked venues throughout Arizona and was described by a former New Times scribe as "the only known two-tone sextet ever to be named after a hamburger."

PRESENT: Liam and the Ladies

Fronted by Sweets 'n' Beats co-owner Liam Murtaugh, this eight-member outfit rocks more of a traditional two-tone sound.

Sara McAllister

This local solo songstress who offers more of a vintage ska sound mixed with laidback rocksteady rhythms and folkish stylings.

Abraham Drinkin'

As you can witness in the above video, this fivesome packs plenty of power, a groovy horn section, and plenty of wacky-ass fun.

Three Point Turn

Tuscon ska fans enjoy the fast-paced and frentic mix of two-tone and third wave that this foursome has performed at such Old Pueblo venues as Skrappies, The Rock, and the Hotel Congress.

The Braskies

Hailing from the dusty town of Cottonwood, regularly travel all over Arizona to offer music fans their blend of reggae, dancehall, and ska-punk.

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