You always know when there’s a decent night ahead in Drummonds, the crowd get in early, there’s a buzz about the place as well as many familiar faces. Tonight is Skalloween 5, my third I think, and we have Target 5 making their live debut and the tried and tested third generation ska masters, aka-SKA. It’s also Halloween weekend (the clue is in the title) so there’s 99p blood everywhere with spray on hair colour and fishnet stockings a-plenty, and that’s just the blokes.
First up are Target 5, a mod revival band who feature some members of aka-SKA who are already established as our favourite local ska cover band. They kick -off with The Gift (The Jam), Dance Master (Secret Affair), Maybe Tomorrow (The Chords) and Eton Rifles (The Jam). It’s a solid start as Drummonds fills up and the mod-heads amongst the crowd start to get their toe tapping into the rhythm with the songs that haven’t been played live in Aberdeen for a long time (not to my knowledge anyway, and certainly not all in the same night).
Da-a-a-ance (The Lambrettas), Glory Boys (Secret Affair), Jimmy (Purple Hearts), the unforgettable My World (Secret Affair) and Angry Voices (The Circles) finally see some proper dance floor action, which increases from then on right to the end of the night.
Moving swiftly on and the band seem to have settled down and we get Saturdays Kids (The Jam), Time For Action (Secret Affair), So Far Away (The Chords), Opening Up (The Circles) and finishing with a mini-encore and a Jam double header of In The City and Strange Town. A great finish rewarded with a busy dancefloor.
Overall the paying punters seem happy, a flashback to some classic mod songs, played by people who clearly enjoy this kind of sound. In my opinion the overall sound mix was a bit bass heavy throughout, you know, in this type of song its the guitars that lead the way, the bass should just add to the flavour and not really be that obvious, when I think it was (on the night). I asked three different learned friends on the night and they said `nah, its okay`, `shut up` and `its fine` so it was obviously just me. Nothing to worry about there then!
Great start, and we hope to se a lot more of Target 5 in the coming months.
Time for the main event and what a performance it turns out to be. I’ve seen aka-SKA a number of times now and this is probably the best yet. The band are all dressed up with Halloween in mind from bloody doctors to Frankenstein himself, I really don’t know how they manage to cram all nine members onto that small stage in Drummonds. What they carve up is a 30 (thirty!) song set that bounces from start to finish and no real letting up in between either. The Specials, Madness, Bad Manners, The Selecter, The Beat are all covered as well as Dexy’s Geno and UB40’s Red Red Wine.
They finish off with the singalong Enjoy Yourself, Concrete Jungle and customary Skinhead Symphony to a packed and heaving dancefloor. It’s a great end to a really enjoyable evening. Credit to everyone who played tonight, especially to those who put in a double shift including vocalist Stephen Rafferty. Already looking forward to next year. Still Burning.
All pics by Still Burning.