Whether You Have a Date, Ska Prom Will Go On

Skalloween, Ska Prom, Ska-turday, Skanksgiving. For at least the duration of its third wave, the upbeat-heavy, horn-driven sound of ska has enjoyed giving its own spin to holidays and special occasions. This Sunday, after a three-year hiatus, Ska Prom returns to Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale.

Headlined by rising Las Vegas ska-punk upstarts Be Like Max, the show is a co-production of local ska DJs Beat Betty and Full Stop, and online radio station KUKQ Phoenix. But what is Ska Prom, you ask?

In the words of Steven DeRosia, also known as DJ Full Stop, it's an opportunity for rudeboys, mods, skinheads, and punks to embrace their fashion to the fullest. Whether that includes your best vest, suit, boots and braces, or Fred Perry shirt is up to you.

"It's just a regular show," DeRosia says. "But we encourage people to dress up a little bit, treat it like it was prom. Obviously it won't be as lame as most people's proms probably were. ... It doesn't have to be a tuxedo or anything fancy like that. Just spruce it up, make it whatever you want it to be."

With ska fans' well-known (and decades-old) penchant for natty attire, such a request shouldn't be a problem.

Though this year's event marks the first time DeRosia and his cohort, Katie Lawrence (neé DJ Beat Betty), have put together the show, Ska Prom has served as a regular tradition in the Arizona ska scene, including 2009's edition with Warsaw Poland Brothers at Martini Ranch, and 2011's show with British two-tone ska legends Bad Manners at the Sail Inn.

After helping promote the 2009 edition, DeRosia became more involved in the 2011 show, "making ballots [for the king and queen and other contests], and working really hard to get everything done. I just had so much fun doing it and it seemed like everyone liked having an excuse to get dressed up and come out. So, we figured why not keep them going!"

With that spirit in mind, DeRosia and Lawrence approached KUKQ, where Lawrence hosts Thursday night's Rocksteady Wax show, and the two sometimes guest-host the daily SkaPunk Sack Lunch.

In determining a bill, DeRosia and Lawrence sought out a band that "we know and love, but that the Arizona ska community might not know yet."

While DJing in-between sets for legendary east coast ska band The Pietasters at a gig in Las Vegas, the two saw the upstarts in Be Like Max and were hooked. Following a conversation and mutual excitement, the ska-punk band was booked.

Alongside Be Like Max at the show will be Phoenix-based two-tone ska favorites Liam & the Ladies, back from their first tour and with a new record in tow, and the acoustic Sara McAllister Duo, with nonstop music coming from Beat Betty and Full Stop between sets.

In addition to music, the DJs have secured giveaways from Colorado's Ska Brewing Company, and tickets to upcoming ska shows, which will be awarded through a dance contest, and the crowning of prom king and queen.

Ska Prom 2014 takes place this Sunday, July 6, at Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale, Tickets are $5 at the door, and more information is available at the event's Facebook page.

Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.

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Connor Descheemaker