The Slackers - Crescent Ballroom - 3/27/14

Categories: Last Night

Garyn Klasek
The Slackers onstage at Crescent Ballroom on Thursday night.

The crowd grew surprisingly large, energetic and loud as the renowned NYC-based sextet were about to perform, as is to be expected for a band with as big a following as theirs. As is the norm for a ska show, once the music started, everyone was dancing like crazy and got into the groove.

Even Disco Dave Hillyard, their saxophone player, took the lead on a Slackers' version of "The Fool," a tune that originated with his side project The Rocksteady Seven, much to the surprise and delight of myself and many other ska freaks. As he's wont to do, Hillyard busted out killer jazz chops on his horn.

Alongside him was Glen Pine, who never fails to bring his explosive vocals and trombone stylings, and Marcus Geard, who dropped brutal bass lines to keep us people moving. Their drummer, Ara Babajian, threw down mad beats, reverberating throughout the Crescent's concert hall.

And "Agent" Jay Nugent, as would be expected from a veteran and master guitarist, kept the crowd skanking and went off on his amazing jazzy solos. Multi-talented keyboardist, harmonica player and vocalist Vic Ruggiero also wowed the crowd, as always, leading the band with his dreamy voice, ivory tickling, and harmonica shredding.

I was stoked to hear The Slackers play "Sarah" off of their first album and even newer material like "Old Dog." They also played Glen's first song with the band, "Mountainside," and a crowd favorite, "Wasted Days."

At one point, about ten women made their way to the stage to dance with them. They even took a request from local ska fan and friend of theirs, Katey Trowbridge of The Rebel Set, who asked them to play "Peculiar." It didn't take long before Katey and her friends made it onstage to tear it up with The Slackers.

Overall, their performance was definitely one for the books, especially for a 20-year-old band.

Critic's Notebook:

Last Night: The Slackers at Crescent Ballroom

Personal Bias: I used to collect all of The Slackers' albums when I first got into them. Good or alright, I've caught every show of theirs out here since high school.

The Crowd: As always for a ska show, there were rudies, punks, skins, hipsters, rockabilly fans, rockers, and mods.

Fast Fact: Drummer Ara Bajian used to play with Leftover Crack before playing with The Slackers.

Overheard: "There's going to be a drag show at Crescent tonight as well. This is going to be fun!"

One More Thing: If you dig The Slackers, definitely check out Vic Ruggiero's blues-y solo project if you haven't.

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Location Info

Crescent Ballroom

308 N. 2nd Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Music

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