On stage in 1995 The Mighty Mighty Bosstones paid tribute to The Toasters by stating that if it wasn’t for The Toasters they would not be there. The Toasters were at the forefront of the third wave ska scene which spawned such acts as Reel Big Fish, Goldfinger, Less Than Jake and No Doubt amongst others. Still going strong after thirty years of touring they were tonight playing The Borderline in London.
The Toasters only had one support act tonight; this was London ska band The Kubricks. I knew absolutely nothing about this band before I walked down The Borderline’s steps but my gosh I was in for a treat. I absolutely loved The Kubricks. They played a style of ska clearly influenced by legendary bands like The Specials and Madness but there was a fresh modern twist on it. As you would expect from a ska band the music was fun and bouncy and the band really seemed to enjoy playing their songs, which made the crowd react positively. They threw in two crowd pleasing covers of Outkasts Hey Yah and Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance as well as some brilliant original songs of their own, my favourite being Skallywags. The Kubricks are definitely a band on the rise; see them as soon as you can.
After The Kubricks finished their highly entertaining set it was time for New York’s via seemingly everywhere else The Toasters. There aren’t many gigs I go to these days where I feel like a youngster but this was one of them, it dawned on me that The Toasters are actually older than I am having formed in 1981. It’s crazy to me that they have been going for so long because the music doesn't sound dated in the slightest.
Opening with the song Dog Eat Dog from the 2002 album Enemy of the System The Toasters had The Borderline skanking almost immediately. Although the songs are not really known amongst most pop music fans, to people who love ska music they are true classics. Whether it’s the up-tempo Eat Side Beat or Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down or the slower numbers like Run Rudy Run or Decision At Midnight every song is loved and sung along to with a huge amount of joy and massive smiles. Front man Robert “Bucket” Hingley looked as if he was having the best time playing his songs and I have decided he may well be the coolest man on the planet. Something I think makes a band fantastic live is when they can turn a song you thought was okay to being brilliant when you hear it live. This happened to me a lot at this gig, and I love The Toasters songs anyway but hearing them played live was something else.
Here’s to hoping The Toasters can play for many more years to come.
Now Listening to Express Yourself Clearly by Joey Terrifying