Union Transfer

1026 SPRING GARDEN STREET, PHILADELPHIA, PA 19123 Ι 215-232-2100

The Slackers, The Pietasters

The Slackers

The Pietasters

The Snails, The Philly Reggae Girls (DJs)

Thu, December 15, 2011

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

Union Transfer

Philadelphia, PA

$15.00

This event is all ages

The Slackers
The Slackers
The Slackers are a classic American band that is equal parts grit and grace. Their slow rise against the odds is a story of perseverance and a belief in their musical vision, what Vic likes to call, "Jamaican Rock N Roll." While they have been influenced, and even personally taught by Jamaican Ska/Reggae originators, like the Skatalites and the Upsetters (Original backing band for the Wailers), th...e band sees its music as an extension of the traditions of the United States. This band is equally appreciative of old Blues, Country, 60s Soul, Rock, and Rn'B as it is of Reggae, Rocksteady, Dub, and Ska. It is as if the Rolling Stones or the Yardbirds had grown up on Bob Marley as well as Muddy Waters.

Smashing the stereotypes of "Ska" as happy, uptempo, and shallow music, the Slackers play with an aggressive edge and their songs veer in themes from the personal to the political. They can out jam any hippie band and outwrite most singer songwriters. From their 1996 release, Better Late Than Never through to 2010 with The Great Rocksteady Swindle, they have established themselves as America's premiere interpreters and innovators of Jamaican music and a pretty good rock band to boot.
The Great Rocksteady Swindle (release date 4/20/10) is a songwriting tour de force with all band members contributing to its gutsy muscular sound. "Mr. Tragedy" references the Specials while "Boll Weevil" references Sam Sham & the Pharaohs. "Cheated" seethes with bitterness while "Thank You" offers the possibility of hope. As the band has matured you can't even tell anymore where the rock begins and the reggae ends, its become The Slackers.

The band basically divides its recorded output into 2 categories. First of are their "albums", which are as Dave says with just a hint of his typical sarcasm, "these are our 'works' where we try to take over the universe." This steady stream includes Better Late Than Never (1996), Red Light (1997), The Question (1998), Wasted Days (2001), Close My Eyes (2003), Peculiar (2006), and Self Medication (2008). Back in 1996, the NY Times declared the Slackers to be part of "the sound of New York", a mantle they haven't given up since. Alternative Nation stated that their music is "protest music made for dim, sweaty basements, The Slackers would sound at home supporting Rancid as well as some grizzled New Orleans electric blues trio." The LA Weekly wrote about, "their unfettered energy, unerring skankability, and playful anger."

Not content with letting the record industry dictate their output schedule, the band has also put out numerous eclectic and whimsical albums following their different interests of the moment. Slackers & Friends (2002) saw the band performing with some of their idols like The Congos, Glen Adams of the Upsetters, Cornell Campbell, and Doreen Schaeffer. International War Criminal EP (2004) was a bitter broadside against the Bush Administration. Afternoon in Dub (2005) is pure reggae bliss. Boss Harmony Sessions (2007) was a collaboration with DJ Boss Harmony who arranged and refiltered tracks in unorthodox ways. Lost & Found (2009) is a compilation of forgotten tracks, alternate versions, and remakes from the bands recording vaults.
The band has also put out 3 live albums; Live At Ernestos (2000), Upsetting Ernestos (2005), Slack In Japan (2005), and 2 DVDs; The Slackers: A Documentary (2007) and Live at the Flamingo Cantina (2009).
More recently, the band has started releasing their live concerts through www.whatevski.org and has plans for releasing more compilations digitally.

This focus on the live show is not surprising because the Slackers have a good part of their existence on the road. Since 1997, the band has been doing around 110 shows a year. This includes some 20 major North American tours, 14 European tours, 3 Japanese tours and 2 Brazilian tours. They have played in 42 different US states, 6 Canadian provinces, 22 European countries, 5 Latin American nations, Turkey, Japan, and South Korea. They have appeared on the stages of the Warped Tour (1998), the Lowlands Festival (1999), Pukkelpop (1999, 2004), CMJ (2000), Montreal Jazz Festival (2000), the Bourges Festival (2001), the Dour Festival (2002, 2007), Deconstruction Tour (2004), Augustboller (2005), Streetbeat Festival (2005), Popkomm (1999,2006), Summerjam (2007), Mighty Sounds (2007), Ilosaarirock (2007) and Glastonbury (2008).

They have opened for Rancid (1999,2003, 2006), Hepcat (1999), Joe Strummer (2002, 2003), Flogging Molly (2002), Jimmy Cliff (2002), the Beat (2002), Pennywise (2004), Toots & the Maytals (2005), The Pogues (2006), and John Spencer's Heavy Traffic (2007). They have sold out numerous headlining gigs including such venues as Bowery Ballroom (nyc), Slims (San Francisco, 3 times), Lee's Palace (Toronto, 2 times), The Garage (London), CBGBs (NYC, 2 nights in a row in 2006), Troubadour (LA, 3 times in 2006), the Knitting Factory (NYC, 5 times), the Melkweg (A-dam), SESC Pompeia (Sao Paolo, 2 nights in 2006), and the Loft (Tokyo).
Hopefully, if you have read this far, you are starting to get the point that the Slackers are a phenomenon. A worldwide phenomenon. An underground band with a cult following, they can fill venues everywhere!
The band has come a long way from their little dirty rehearsal studio on e.3rd street on the lower east side.
The Pietasters
The Pietasters
The seed was planted in 1990. A bunch of friends started a band with no pretensions: the idea was to make music for house parties, not to make a career out of music. These guys and a girl grew up in and around Washington, D.C. The scene was small and all the Punks, Skins, and Mods intermixed in those days. You were as likely to see a Mod at a Scream show as you were to see a Punk at a Toasters show. This varied influence is what informed the covers that the Pietasters played and the originals they wrote trying to emulate their favorite bands. From Two-Tone Ska, to Jamaican crooners like Alton Ellis, to Stax, Motown, harDCore, and British Punk, the Pietasters played what they liked to play and the house partiers appreciated the mix and crammed into basements and living rooms for sweaty all night keg drinking and dancing.

Playing on weekends and during the summer they slowly expanded their touring area, made new friends, and gained the notice of music fans up and down the east coast. The influence of D.C.’s DIY punk scene informed the band of how you should tour, on your own terms. After releasing a self-titled album in 1993 they hit the road in an old school bus and headed west. Relentless touring through the early 90s got them friends all over the U.S.A. MOON Records took notice and the band released two albums, Oolooloo, and Strapped LIVE, on that storied label during the magic days of third wave ska alongside bands like Hepcat, The Slackers, Toasters, etc.

In 1997 Hellcat/Epitaph signed the band to a two album deal. Willis, and Awesome Mix Tape #6 followed. Both albums benefited from the direction of legendary producer Brett Gurewitz. At the same time ska blew up. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, No Doubt, and Sublime ruled the airwaves. The Pietasters were lucky enough to tour extensively with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The Plaid Boys from Boston introduced the Pietasters to Europe and beyond as well as taking them on tours of the US and Canada. From this point on, the Pietasters were established as one of the best live shows money can buy. From the circus that is the Warped tour (US/Canada/Europe) to a once in a lifetime support slot with Joe Strummer, the Pietasters crisscrossed the world, leaving the dance floor covered in blood, sweat and beer.

After the 2002 release of Turbo on Fueled by Raman the Pietasters' hard work was rewarded with more good luck. In 2003 the Pietasters were chosen to back James Brown at the WHFS Holiday Nutcracker Ball at Washington, D.C.’s MCI Center (now Verizon Center). This was no support slot: this was the Pietasters playing as Mr. Brown’s band for the night. This was the start of a friendship with the Godfather of Soul that lasted until his passing.

All of these influences, events, and memories were distilled in the band’s 2007 release All Day. The album showcases how the band grew from playing sweaty house parties to sweaty nightclubs to sharing the stage with some of the world’s best musical talents. While playing live they can’t get away with not including most of Oolooloo in the set, but they try to slip in as many cuts from All Day as they can. The Pietasters continue to deliver a world-class performance of their style of Ska, Rock and Soul - sing along songs and dance-through-your-socks rhythms played by friends who remain true to their roots. A new album is in the works and they can’t wait to get back to a club near you.
The Snails
The Snails
It’s hard to definitively nail down a genre when asked what style of music is that of The Snails, but their goals and passion come from a clear love of the music that has influenced them as a band. From the music of The Clash, early ska, and old reggae favorites like Toots and the Maytals comes The Snails’ motivation to keep authentic music around, that is, emotional music which carries a genuine message to its listeners. Their influences are extremely important in keeping their music and goals alive. The band’s lyrics are written by Todd Fausnacht whose inspiration clearly originates from personal experiences, political and social controversies, and the wisdom of Joe Strummer. At a Snails show, it’s easy to feel the elements of punk, ska, rockabilly, reggae, 50’s rock and roll, and even a dash of old-time country folk music making it effortless to break out in skanking, moshing, and 50’s swing and twist. However you want to move, the feel-good, and not to mention educational, tunes will get you going, and standing still is not an option. “Ska and soul with a side of rock and roll!” is what The Snails always say.
The Philly Reggae Girls (DJs)
The Philly Reggae Girls (DJs)
DJ Version Girl and DJ CarryUs (Philly Reggae Girls) met in 2004. Not content to just sit on the sidelines watching others play music - and stacked with a ton of reggae vinyl, the two decided to form a female DJ duo playing Jamaican music from the old to the new. They run everything from ska to dub, but their love lies in vintage dancehall. While many reggae DJs are switching to MP3, the girls continue to spin almost exclusively vinyl. They are constantly adding to their collections to find those rare gems and soon to be classics.

The Philly Reggae Girls have played almost every major club in the Philly area and have enjoyed opening for nationally known ska & reggae bands. DJ Version Girl volunteers as the DJ instructor for Girls Rock Philly Camp. You can always catch the girls checking on the Phillies score as they set up their gear.
Venue Information:
Union Transfer
1026 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19123