The Aggrolites at Sail Inn Last Night

The Aggrolites

November 12, 2010

Sail Inn

Despite the chilly autumn air outside, the Aggrolites warmed up the Sail Inn with the sounds of summer last night.

It was one of those shows where everyone checked their worries at the curb, knowing the Aggrolites' feel-good vibe would make caring about anything else simply impossible. The show got off to a loud start with guitarist Brian Dixon shouting, "We are the Aggrolites!" and jammed out right away with "Funky Fire," which could be heard all the way from Mill Avenue.

The smile that lead singer Jesse Wagner couldn't wipe off his face was contagious, as was the band's music. Their songs are easy to catch onto even if you're not familiar with them at all, and even people who didn't know the lyrics seemed to have caught on quickly and found themselves singing along. Needless to say, the crowd couldn't help but lose themselves in the groove.

I've never seen such a tame ska crowd in my life. Sure, there was a little skanking here and there, but those kids restrained their inner animal and seemed content with enjoying a more laidback night.

At one point in the set, the Aggrolites had a sea of 20 fans act as backup dancers and allowed some kids to let loose on stage with the band for half a song. Their moves and the volume with which they sang with the band they love clearly showed the enthusiasm of the Aggro fan community.

The band played a seamless set with nearly no breaks in between songs, just smooth-sailing transitions almost the whole way through. Dixon oozed with personality and worked the whole stage no matter the tempo of the song. Everyone really dug Roger Rivas' organ solos, as well as bassist Jeff Roffredo's playful attitude toward the crowd. Aggro threw in some Latin flavor before going right into "Love Isn't Love." A string of danceable, carefree songs included "Hot Stop," "Precious and Few," and "Someday."

The crowd swayed to a sound that was like a combination of a white Ziggy Marley, the sexiness of 311's "Amber," and the joy of Jimmy Cliff, getting gradually more lost in the music as the great gig went on. Anyone who came out was there for a purely good time. Damn, it was some good shit.

Critic's notebook:

Last night: The Aggrolites at the Sail Inn.

Personal bias: I've known about the Aggrolites for less than two months, and I was hooked in no time.

The crowd: Everyone was in their twenties and thirties, for the most part. A few chicks wore homemade hoodies with patches they sewed on themselves, while guys wore newspaper boy hats, suspenders, and fedoras galore. Plenty of people sported buttons that rep their favorite ska bands. And yes, the token white guy with dreads wearing a drug rug was there, although I'm shocked I didn't see more of "that guy."

Overheard: "'Banana!' Play 'Banana!'"