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Beat Street
By Todd S. Inoue

[whitespace] Ska Good, Racism Bad:
The Ska Against Racism tour pulls into Palo Alto with Blue Meanies, MU33O and more

MONTE SERENO'S Mike Park thought his return to the stage should coincide with a theme. Throwing out the "Tour de Taco Bravo" or "Powered by Tung Kee Tour," a bit of brainstorming erupted and the Ska Against Racism tour was born. The megashow pops into the Edge on April 1.

"I wanted to do the music that I've been able to have some success with and use it as a springboard to combat racism," Park explains.

The show is a spectacular meeting of third-wave ska acts. The Blue Meanies and MU330 (starring Gerry Lundquist) are road-tested monsters with a penchant for jumpy proto-punk ska. Kemuri is Japan's most popular ska-punk act. Five Iron Frenzy--Christian-ska's high-powered representative--makes its secular tour debut. The Toasters represent NYC ska guard to the fullest, and Less Than Jake are the mightiest ska punks. Mike opens all the shows with a short set of songs culled from Skankin' Pickle, the Bruce Lee Band and the Chinkees. The Edge stage ought to be reinforced with superglue with all the jumping that will be going on.

Ska Against Racism will tour the United States for a month. At all the shows, groups like Anti-Racist Action, Museum of Tolerance and Artists for a Hate-Free America will pass out information and petitions.

"I don't know if I'm setting a precedent," says Park. "But if we can make an impression on kids, as well as give them a good show and help out these anti-racist groups, our job is done."

Daydream Nation

Dub Nation's dream was to celebrate its CD-release (Let The Truth Be Known) by headlining the Fillmore on a Saturday night. They got super close. The band is still headlining the Fillmore on Saturday (March 28), but the CDs are two weeks from being ready. "You can't force these things, otherwise the creativity suffers," says bassist Frank Caruso. "It could come out in time for the show, but we'd be rushing things."

Still, the band is stoked about playing the venerable F-I-L and is busy chasing the butterflies building up inside their guts. "Either you go down in flames or you come out and everyone's smiling," Caruso says. Don't sweat it, fellas. Slackmob and Native Elements open the show. Dub Nation appears the next day--Sunday (March 29)--at the Agenda and at the South First Music Experience #4 on April 9.

Call the Daughter

Back when I was reporting on Pizzicato Five's exploits, the same company that helped break P5 in the states sent me two tapes--one audio, one video--of a Tokyo space rock band they were hot on called Buffalo Daughter. The titles of the songs gave little clue to the contents ("Health or Die," "Daisy"), and others were just numeric ("57," "303"), but I was hooked. The video showed a guitarist, a Moog keyboardist and a shaggy turntablist performing in what looked like a hotel lobby. The sound shredded bits of Spaceman 3, Beach Boys and Sun Ra into an enjoyable and unpredictable mix. After a successful debut (Captain Vapour Athletes), the crew is back with a funky record on Grand Royal called New Rock. The trio plays a local show at the Cactus Club on Sunday (March 29).

Hey You!

It's the only nostalgia tour I'm excited about. Madness will do a Bay Area date on April 29 at the Henry J. Kaiser auditorium. Also on the bill is Blink 182, the Dance Hall Crashers, the Aquabats and Royal Crown Revue. Whew! I hope the dancing kid, Eric, is limbering up for a long night. ... Earthwise Productions landed Kristen Hersh for a Cubberly Community Theater show on April 16. ... Hobo Junction (featuring Saafir, Poke Martian, Eye Cue and the rest) joins Ahmad ("Back in the Day") for a show at the Cactus on April 12. ... Rumor is that the Fleidh Festival (which has previously attracted the likes of Van Morrison and Sinead O'Connor) will happen at Spartan Stadium this summer.

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From the March 26-April 1, 1998 issue of Metro.

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