Sonoma County boasts some ska-rrific, ska-ntastic ska bands, and there are two new cd's on the shelves this week to prove it.
Local Rudeboys Blindspot will release their first full-length CD "ACCELERATION ZERO," with a five-band party and show Saturday at the Phoenix Theatre in Petaluma.
Achilles Poloynis of Blindspot said while they've definately been labeled a ska band, like Tin Circus, they play a more blended, rather than straight-up ska.
"Blindspot plays more ska than anything else," he said. "But I wouldn't call us traditional ska. We throw in so many other influences-metal, jazz, punk, R&B. The music's diverse, just like our band."
Ska is first and foremost a dance music, to which Blindspt stays true. It's usually light and bouncy, horn-influenced and originally was a grandparent to reggae.
It came from early '60's Jamacia with the purpose of shaking the butts of working and middle class people, a way for them to have fun in the face of oppression. Ska (named for a sound that a guitar makes) then drifted to the United Kingdom in the late '70's and finally, out to the rest of the world.
Many bands of the latest '90's ska revival, like Tin Circus and Blindspot, have added to the more traditional ska sound, which is a ska beat on the drums and bass, rhythm guitar and lots of horns.
When pressed for a description of their brand of ska, Poloynis said,"For and easy way out, I'd call it rock and reggae with horns...But there's so many influences, it's hard to narrow it down."
Poloynis said lyrics for their songs are written primarily by vocalist David Hall, but the music is written by Blindspot at large; Hall, Poloynis, Jeff Underwood(trumpet), Kim Abrams(sax), Zack Proteau(Bass), Jay Cosper(guitar) and Nate Fadelli(drums).
"Somebody may bring in a song, but even if it's all written out, it gets so changed, and gets so many new things added to it. I think it makes for well-rounded songs."
Most of Hall's lyrics tned to be about injustices of some sort, whether the political type, or relationships...mostly the "picked on little guy," laughs Poloynis.
"They all have some sort of commentary, some good message," he said. "From what I gather, he tries to make the songs possibly from anyone's point of view, so that everyone can relate to them. If not everyone, most people."
"As with any band, the CD's not an exact representation of a live show, because it doesn't put in play the energy and people dancing," Poloynis said. "But it's a good other side of things. If you're not at a show, and you want to listen to the melody, it's got a good groove."
Poloynis said hehe believed Blindspot, like many ska bands was primarily geared toward doing live shows.
"There's more energy to it," he said. "The crowd is dancing, so we're feeding off the crowd and they're feeding off of us. As cheesy as it sounds, that's what makes it all worth it."
And it must be worth is, because Blindspot has been playing live around Sonoma County for about 5 years now, with meager support from the local music scene.
"The city of Santa Rosa doesn't help matter much," Underwood said. "There's no place ot play," Poloynis agreed. "There's not enough good all-ages clubs around here. I have a bad feeling about telling a fan who just wants to come in and dance that he can't get in...And the clubs and bands don't work together very much. There're just individual portions of the music scene battling for supremacy. Hopefully that'll change."
All ages will be welcomed to the Blindspot CD release part at the Pheonix Theatre, and the band insisted show admission be at $6, even though the line-up suggests a more expensive show.
"This is my dream bill," Poloynis said. "These are all my favorite bands in the area. Each of these bands deserves to be headlining."
The line-up features Blindspot, of course; Slow Gherkin, a ska band from Santa Cruz; The Siren Six, a ska outfit from L.A.; The Blockheads, a Santa Rosa pop-punk group; and Little Tin Frog, a self-proclaimed geek-rock band, also from Santa Rosa.
"It's going to be a great show," said Underwood. "For anyone who's lugging away in school and work, this is a time when on one has to care about anything around them, they can just go and dance and have fun."
"Oh, yeah-it's gonna be fun lovin'," said Underwood. And that's what ska's all about.