I saw and heard so much good new music in 2017, I didn’t think I’d be telling you a band that was formed in 1981 could rock my world, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do. The Uptones @ Ashkenaz in Berkeley, CA. put on the best show I saw this year. I loved the collective effort of the musicians. I also love great sonics, and every member of the band had a great sound! The blend and natural chemistry between the players made the overall sound larger than life.
The songs were unique. They ranged from the political (some of the songs written in the 1980s seem even more relevant today) to a wonderful song linking pelicans and mankind’s evolution, and also some ska classics. The political songs that stood out for me were “Radiation Boy,” a comic-book tale of nuclear disaster, and “Burning Sky,” a social comment about the horrors of bullying the world.
There are three very different vocalists in the band – Eric Din, Moose Lethridge and The Rev. Paul Jackson, all of whom composed most of the group’s originals. Horn players Jeanne Geiger, Adam Beach and Jay Sanders each played scorching solos, and their section work was beyond tight. The ska classics “Skanking Fool” and “Too Much Pressure” fully delivered the Two-Tone feel which The Uptones originally embraced as high schoolers, with the bass and drum powerhouse of Bennie Wood and Mikey Stevens basically making it impossible not to dance.
This show fulfilled my Five Questions of Rock!
Can the band play their instruments?
Can the singers sing?
Are the songs good?
Am I having fun?
Is the band having fun?
I was so disappointed when the set was over, encore and all. But I had Fun Fun Fun!
Breezy and deep, this book has all the elements of a satisfying read. I vividly remember the era, and have met many of the characters the author describes. Just like the first time I saw This Is Spinal Tap and I cringed instead of laughing at myself, Howard’s characters are that real and I can truly identify with the his depiction of the period. I highly recommend to any music fan.
As someone who remembers this era, the songs in the movie were the soundtrack of our lives. For one man to make such a large contribution to my soul in such a short time is truly remarkable. The movie made me realize how radio and jukeboxes (the new technology) were responsible for my early music upbringing. Plus I thought of how much money I spent on jukeboxes that never made its way to Bert. There is much to enjoy and think about in this film.
Please help me repay my cultural debt to a great record man and extraordinary songwriter. GO TO SEE THIS FILM.
This 46 year old song may finally find its moment in the sun. Originally recorded and written by the Count Five, “Psychotic Reaction” is considered by many to be the ultimate Garage Rock song.
The song started as an instrumental, and after many performances, the song got lyrics before it was recorded. “Psychotic Reaction” has already been recorded by Television, The Vibrators, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Cramps and The Residents, to name a few. I think this version by The Fashion Slaves is the best version yet. I think The Fashion Slaves vocalist, Emily Jayne really nailed it, and the guitar playing is stellar. I don’t miss the harmonica, which was a key ingredient in the original version.