The Happiest Place in the World is…Any Ska Concert


Show: Seattle Ska Fest

Venue: The Highline

Is there any happier music than ska? No matter what kind of day you had, if you go to a live show featuring ska bands, you’ll leave smiling.

The Highline hosted an annual ska festival. Considering the fact that there were seven bands on the bill and the tickets were $9, I was not expecting Reel Big Fish. However, I expected to have fun and I was not disappointed. Also, given that the average ska band size is usually around 10 and that the Highline is a small club that probably has maybe a couple of hundred for capacity, I’m guessing that this was a labor of love and not a huge payday for anyone.

Unfortunately, I was only able to hear one act. I got a late start, made even later by lovely Apple Maps, who deposited me a mile away from the actual club. I’d thought that, after a couple of bad years, that Apple Maps had largely resolved its mapping problems, since its sole purpose is, after all, to provide a map and instructions to an address.  Be that as it may, I used it as an opportunity to ride the new Broadway trolley, which worked nicely.

The band that I heard was Skablins. They were probably around 10 people on stage, including a trumpet, a trombone, two saxophones, two guitarists, a keyboardist, a drummer, and of course, the singer. Although there was barely room on the stage to move, they did jump around and the singer was drenched in sweat by the time it was done.

The crowd was completely into it. People were pogo’ing, people were skanking, people were doing that circle dance thing. The Highline is on the second floor, and all of the jumping made the floor shake and shiver noticeably.

Ska’s been around so long that it was certainly an all ages crowd. I saw couples in their 50’s skanking right next to another couple in their 20’s jumping.  Even in the band, the trombonist looked to be in his 20’s while right next to him the trumpeter appeared to be pretty deep into his 50’s. Everyone was smiling and having fun.

I wished that I had gotten there earlier and that I didn’t have to get up early the next morning. I would have liked to have seen another act or two.  Be that as it may, as always, I left smiling and with laughter in my heart. It was a great way to start a weekend.



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