Ska is a style more often associated with Jamaica than the US. But the Toasters are living proof that Ska is alive and well in North America. They are without doubt the longest running Ska band outside of the Caribean, they have been around for over 25 years.

Toasters Live was recorded in 2002 at CBGB in New York, CBGB is part club, part record label, part rock subculture, and part of modern music history. The founder of CBGB was the inimitable Hilly Kristal who alas passed away in August of 2007. CBGB was an iconic and sadly missed New York landmark. The club closed in 2006, but the hot rumor is that once a new location is found, it will be like a Phoenix and rise from the ashes.

OK, enough of the history lesson, lets talk about the Toasters. As Ska goes, I really don’t see it. Ska is rough and ready with a reggae undertone. I don’t see it in this CD. What I do see though is some great high energy music. Highly listenable and infectious, listen to one track, and you have to listen to the next one. There are shades of Ska, but they are overshadowed by the obvious musical abilities. I guess the analogy I would use would be that they are like a Punk Rock group that are classically trained musicians! Great music, try it out.

Toasters – live is available through MVD, and a portion of every CD sold will be donated to the  Hilly Kristal Foundation Musicians And Artists.

Simon Barrett

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