by WestCoast Weasel WestCoast Weasel
February 6, 2010

January 29, 2010
The Shark Club
Vancouver, B.C

A full-on ska show sounded like a nostalgic, yet appealing way to round off the week when I decided to hit up Ska Spectacular at The Shark Club.  Not having been to a dedicated ska show in years and not once to the venue had me both intrigued and excited.

I figured the bar would be set one of two places: a rundown, scummy watering hole that’d appeal more to the punk rock side of the ska scene (and the surrounding stadium neighborhood) or an elegant, classy lounge that’d be more fitting to the well-dressed, well-kempt side of said genre.  This time I was pleased that it was the latter.  The very stylish, sporty joint made the first act’s (The Valuables) dresses, cardigans, three piece suits and vests all the more appropriate.

The funky, punchy seven-piece outfit offered a likeable, tight set that included extended organ and lead guitar solos alike.  The dueling male and female vocals between Corey and Michelle offered an appealing contrast—although Corey’s were more to my liking.  It was their powerful horn section that held my attention best.  To sweeten the pot, someone in the crowd had a very familiar body spray or perfume that made the start of my evening furthermore enjoyable.  It was one of those scents that bring you right back to a place in time.  You know… one of those summers back in 2005 when you lived with your best friend and feel in love with that pink haired girl.  One of those scents.

Making a new friend between sets kept the spirit alive during the lengthy intermission.  I was verbally introduced to Vancouver’s newest radio station, The Shore 104, a station comprised of roots, rock and rhythm.  It is there where she heard our headliner being played.  The next act was from her hometown of Nanaimo where she’d only seen them play once before, but had mixed feelings regarding their performance.

The Kiltlifters (whom I knew from their name alone had a sense of humor) came out looking more like a group of ragtag, beer drinking boobs than their predecessor.   Donning ball caps and sport shirts/jerseys set their style.  Their casual ska-meets-punk-rock sound was immediately familiar.  border: 0pt none; display: inline; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;Borrowing styles from Mad Caddies as well as Sublime (who they covered mid-set with “Smoke Two Joints”) delivered an edgier, more fun and yet much looser set.  Matthew’s air guitar on his saxophone provided noteworthy entertainment, whereas the juvenile stage banter… not so much.

Twisted Armstrong’s fantastic, dirty and bluesy leads offered a slightly more focused contrast than the influences from where they drew.  “Message in a Bottle” by The Police played just before they concluded their lengthy set with “Pass The Popcorn,” a song about Canadian hockey.

The Kiltlifters – “Keep It On The Down Low” (music video)

Sound-checking various instruments and mics gave the impression that Rude City Riot were here to take the night home.  Style-wise I couldn’t have been more charmed.  They were all matching (minus cheesy checkers, stripes or suits) in button up black shirts and pants.  The teddy bear-like lead signer Dustin stood tall, short sleeved with a black, pro-fit cap adding just enough casual to their conformed style.

From the first note, the five Riot boys immediately had “main-event” written all over them.  Being the first act of the night without a keyboard or organ—the duties were left in the hands of the guitar, percussion and horn sections.  They ripped through tunes “Buddhists Don’t Care” and a favorite in the making, “Imposter Man” before an original band member by the name of Richard joined them onstage for “I Wanna Chase You Down,” a song he originally helped pen.  Flavio’s heavy toms were heard during its street style, anthemic chorus.

“Power Ska” was the self-proclaimed genre printed on the back of the shirts they were pushing, with all proceeds going to Haiti relief.  The term is quite fitting since I didn’t hear quite enough snot to coin them ska-punk, though more than enough soul as their reggae influences but just enough gruff to give them that edge.  It’s no small wonder why they have quite the buzz surrounding them.  Dustin and his crew ended the evening with their catchy, kick-ass single about their hometown “Victoria” with a quick encore cover of The Clash’s “Police On My Back,” displaying perfectly both sounds of influence and most notably—a sound of their own.

…Weasel Was Here

FREE Rude City Riot MP3’s

Don’t Go Away
25 Years
Shots and Pills

Visit these artists online:

The Valuables –
The Kiltlifters –
Rude City Riot –


One Response to “Renegade Rock Review Vol. 13 – Ska Spectacular (Rude City Riot, The Kiltlifters & The Valuables)”

  1. The headliners seem pretty decent , Victoria is great and a highly entertaining video.I shall check them out

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