By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night
Venue: O2 Forum-Kentish Town, London-February 7, 2020
Probably for the last 2 ½ years, I have been a hardcore follower and supporter of the Brit ska band Buster Shuffle. Rock At Night interviewed lead singer Jet Baker in December 2017 and their last album I’ll Take What I Want is one of my favorite CDs, the “go-to” for playing on long driving trips. Buster’s Shuffle music is upbeat, smart, and catchy!
I planned my recent London trip around the band’s appearance at the O2 Forum Kentish Town. Buster Shuffle was touring the UK in support of Californian ska band The Interrupters. On February 7th, the “bucket list” was finally satisfied! As Jet and the band emerged, flashing colored lights and a foggy haze permeated the stage, which was decorated with plants, a lamp on top of a black and white upright piano, and posters of dogs wearing nobleman attire. Jet plunked the keys James Stickley (guitar) jumped around on the stage. Terry Mascali (drums) and Gravy (bass) kept the ska rhythm going, as the band started with “Devon” and moved into “The Estate”.
Before I knew it, the first three songs were finished, and I departed to the side of the venue. Many people were skanking and dancing in the audience, including yours truly, while holding my camera. People were mouthing the lyrics to “You Fall to Pieces” and “Brothers and Sisters”. Other highlights of the 30 minute set included “Our Night Out” and one of my favs “I Don’t Trust a Word You Say!”
Baker asked the band if the audience would show up if they played a headliner as people clapped and nodded. Buster Shuffle left the stage with the band wanting more!
The next performing band was reggae ska band The Skints, who put on a really energetic show. Lead singer Marcia Richards was very impressive as she sang, played the keys, but switched to flute, electric guitar, and sax with total ease. Their music appeals to both pop and ska lovers alike.
The venue was totally packed to the gills by the time The Interrupters emerged on stage. The audience was totally frenetic and moving as a single unit, as lead singer Aimee, reached out to touch hands with the audience. She is such a charismatic front woman, and had the audience eating out of her hand, as they sang in unison “Take Back the Power.” The audience was crowd surfing, slam dancing, and going mental! I saw The Interrupters at the Vans Warped Tour in 2016 and 2018 and never experienced such a frenzy! Old male punk rockers and 20-somethings with pink hair and tats all reveled together as generation differences meant little.
Overall, it was a memorable night of skanking fun! Ska is stronger than ever in the Millennium, and new generations are keeping it well alive.