Less Than Jake to Play Losing Streak in its Entirety Live: Has the 'Whole Album Live' Thing Jumped The Shark?

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Less Than Jake, the Florida ska-punk outfit you may remember from such hits as "Johnny Quest Thinks We're Sellouts," "History of a Boring Town" and "Johnny Quest Thinks We're Sellouts" will play their 1996 major label debut Losing Streak live in its entirety at a Riot Fest in Chicago next month.

Even if you're not a fan of ska-punk at all (guilty!) you probably remember this record as the one you heard just after No Doubt stopped being at all ska (and got good) and just before that Mighty Mighty Bosstones single ("The Impression That I Get," which you may remember as "Knock On Wood") hit the charts, forever defining the genre.

ANYWAY, the point here is not to provide an exhaustive history of the third wave of ska (though I probably did a decent job of it) but to point out that this "play the whole record live" thing is headed in a dangerous direction. I hate to use the phrase "jump the shark" because that expression itself jumped the shark back when Ally McBeal was jamming to Vonda Shepard, but that's pretty much exactly what I mean. Luckily, I doubt anyone who's read this many words into a post about Less Than Jake will be offended.

Sure, Jimmy Eat World's Clarity x 10 tour was awesome last year, the upcoming Weezer Blue Album/Pinkerton tour should be great. Even the Pixies Doolittle tour, which I was very skeptical of, seems to have been a hit.

But now that we've gotten to the point where Less Than Jake is reviving a record with the major distinction of having reached #18 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart and causing an extremely minor controversy when MTV refused to air a "dope promoting" music video? How far are we from an anniversary tour for My Own Prison?

Too close for my comfort, at least.

LTJ's show is a one-off at a punk fest so it's sort of low profile and probably tens of fun for the legion of "superloyal fans" the press release announcing this show assures us they have. In that way, it's kinda cool, I guess. And if you buy a ticket to a festival headlined by Bad Religion, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Circle Jerks, Anti-Flag, Bouncing Souls, and The Toasters, you deserve this.

But let's stop it here.
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Connor
Connor

Oh Martin, must you hate on ska at EVERY opportunity? I understand that you don't like it, but does dismissing an entire genre as worthless really enhance your power as a music writer?

Anyway, I really really like the "entire album" shows and tours. It gives the bands a chance to show their fans that they still care about them, and that they value their likes and dislikes.

Phoenix New Times
Phoenix New Times

In fairness, I only dismiss third wave ska, which is almost all terrible. I listened to Desmond Dekker while I wrote this.

J-Dog
J-Dog

Personally as a fan of LTJ, I think it's great. I don't find it gimmicky, a nostalgia trip or cash-in one bit. They've always been good to their fans, and it seems proper because it's at the biggest punk/ska fest in the US.

Phoenix New Times
Phoenix New Times

Good points. I'm sure there are bands I feel the same way about... It's gimmicky, though and sort of a quick cash-in. You can only get away with it once or twice, I would think. But maybe with the tough economy some bands need to do what they can to sell tickets and make it through.

jeremx
jeremx

it's less than jake.. who will be shooting rolls of toilet paper off the end of a leaf blower into the crowd at same time their setting off confetti canons and throwing less than jake trading cards and drink stirrers out. so for this band, i think it fits for the diehard fans. the last time ltj was in town i wasn't able to go. i think that if a band that i was kind of on the fence about was coming through town but i knew they were going to be playing my favorite album of theirs, i might be more apt to attend. like if the toadies came through and just played "rubberneck" in it's entirety. or if when helmet was just here.. if they were just going to play "betty," i might have gone. maybe that's kind of lame to suggest to a band that you don't want to hear any of the new stuff they may be working on but with some bands, there might simply be a short time that i was into them or an album of theirs that i felt was decidedly more significant than anything else they put out. but it can definitely be cool to hear the live version of an album you listened to 113 times in the order the songs were recorded. even if/especially if it was a decade ago.

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