When I first started going to shows 3rd wave ska from NY and NJ was still popular with the skins and rudies. These shows were hours long and everyone skanked traditionally.
It’s strange to think of a relatively huge east coast Oi!/Ska scene now. At that time sub-culture style, rules and traditions were adhered to rigidly. Example: People would lecture you about how to tie your shoes and with what laces. Quiz you about bands-Had to make sure you weren’t a clockwork skinhead or whatever litmus test was going around that season. Teach you to skank. Make you a mixtape of some impossible to get records.
1st Wave Desmond Dekker era-Jamaica
2nd Wave Madness/Specials/ era-UK
3rd Wave- Toasters, Bigger Thomas, NY Citizens, Bad Manners, etc etc era – NYC
Some of the first shows I went to were Moon Records showcases with the Toasters and NY Citizens. It was a fairly traditional ska scene and is probaby what got me interested in reggae, before I heard the Bad Brains.
The Toasters were the heads of the nyc ska scene. I think this is their stand out song, or East Side Beat.
I like this one better for the lyrics.
“Danceteria, is where you could find her!
At CBGB’s she could be seen
Or at any club you’ve ever been
And I wonder what became of her
She lived so hard in the club world
Well I guess we’ll never know”
This music was fairly mainstream palatable and popular. This is a screenshot of a video of them on USA network, on New Year’s Eve in 1992 at the Palladium. The special was called USA Up All Night New Year’s Eve Ska Party. I wasn’t into this stuff at that point-hardcore was to powerful for me to chill and listen to ska, and the whole thing with dressing up in suits and drinking beer wasn’t for me. I knew some people who told me about it. Check out the crowd, maybe some of you older Generation X people know somebody in there. Here’s the link to the video on facebook:
The NY Citizens played a lot locally and were more of a rock, new wave, dance thing then a pure ska thing.
Their promo picture on the album in the youtube video above makes them look like a 1990 hardcore band and I’m really digging the one guy’s Cape May sweatshirt.
I think they were one of those bands that was expected to blow up and then fizzled and faded.
Some other stand out tracks that I recall were Helltown, Lemon Jelly, and National Front (an obviously anti-racist song).
Some of it’s on youtube, but no full album or ep. This song Helltown has the word “homos” in it. That’s not cool, but in 1990 it was common. No offense to gay friends.
Off track slightly:
Since we’re delving into strange ska influenced dance music from 1990 NYC here’s Urban Blight featuring the OG NYC graff writer TEAM, PS 41, a burn LS t-shirt, a Stay High character and more, plus that dude from Law and Order.
(Is this really 1990 and not later? I remember that Burn shirt coming out later on. The Burn shirt I had was a white short sleeve with the logo going vertically I think. I have the shirt on in my sophomore HS yearbook picture, I’ll have to check at my Mom’s. I had a fresh shaved dome, and the shirt was worn over a thin, green hoodie, which was style I saw I thought was awesome.)
(((If this is your picture sorry for the no credit. I took it off a Ukranian straight edge blog. Maybe it’s Ken Salerno or BJ Pappas Either way respect due unknown photog on the stage. Also check me out getting a GIS jersey in this post, I always try to include at least one bike thing in these long posts.)))
((I got it at a show that was billed as Burn, Rest in Pieces, and Sick of It All. I thought it was 1990, but maybe 1991. Rest in Pieces cancelled and maybe Discipline played? It was violent as hell and Randy Now kept getting on the PA saying stuff like “If there is one more fight we’re shutting it down.” I can’t remember if I liked Burn or SOIA more. I remember Chaka came out in this sick track suit and went fucking nuts and I was blown away. [Might be the show above.] That whole show I was blown away. So intense.))
Live Urban Blight set from 1986 when they were still leaning further in the ska direction:
Moving On: 1990 Urban Blight fits into the BAD II department.
Another band I really like:
P.S. I’m so uninterested in any of the “ska-punk” that came after this. Gar-baj, no style, no tradition, no points. Duck music.