Title: The Toasters
The Toasters have been around for over thirty-five years. They are an American second wave ska band. Second wave ska, otherwise known as two-tone, also featured bands like The Specials and Madness. The Toasters nowadays are kind of like Guns and Roses in that there is only guy left in the band carrying on the name.
I think that I’ve written about this before, but the economics of live performance for middling bands kind of fascinates me. Five bands are on the bill. The leader of The Toasters, Bucket Hingley, lives in Spain. I just took a look at their tour schedule. They’re doing a show every night for the next several weeks. They are driving all around the western part of the United States (Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Oklahoma). They then have a break for a couple of weeks, do one gig in Costa Rica (?!), take another couple of weeks break, and then off to do a little tour in Germany.
In Seattle, they played at the Funhouse, which can accommodate a couple of hundred people at most. They’re playing a gig in Wenatchee at a place called Wally’s House Of Booze (no, I am not making that up). My ticket cost $12.
My question is, how is this even close to financially viable? You have to pay your openers something, I’d think. Maybe you get a piece of the bar. And yes, there is a merch table. But still, Bucket Hingley has to be in his sixties (he has the Hemingway look going for him). Does he have a pile of money socked away? Is he doing this just for fun? Does this somehow pay for his life in Spain? Or is he basically a beach bum in Spain and lives in a shack and doesn’t need money?
Be that as it may, I learned a valuable lesson at the show. Be very wary of attending all ages shows at the Funhouse. The Funhouse is a pretty tiny room. They have a bar in the back. Therefore, to accommodate all ages, they basically have to bifurcate what is already a tiny room. So, if you actually wanted to have a drink, you’d have to fight your way through the people crowding the stage, get your ID checked by someone guarding the bar entrance, and then fight your way to the bar. If you wanted to go and watch the stage, you either had to guzzle your drink and fight through the crowd again to get back to the main area or try to scrunch around and see some small part of the stage from the back of the bar. There was no access to the bathroom from the bar area. So, if nature called, you had to fight your way through the bar and then fight your way through the crowd in front of the stage. The layout of the Funhouse is just not conducive to accommodating all ages.
The music itself was good. I arrived late and only heard a couple of the bands. If I had to classify them, 2KLIX would probably fall under predominantly thrash. They had high energy and good sound.
The Toaster were pretty much as expected. After that long on the road, you pretty much know what you’re going to get, and they didn’t disappoint. The audience was dancing and shouting along. Good times were had by one and all.