Ahh, ska: that offbeat-obsessed, R‘n’B/calypso collision from 1950s Jamaica that became a soundtrack for Britain’s mods in the ’60s; enjoyed a revival in that country in the late ’70s (The Specials, Madness, English Beat etc.); and then reappeared in a lo-cal SoCal incarnation in the 1990s (Save Ferris, The Aquabats, Goldfinger et al). While only Anaheim’s No Doubt remain commercially successful from the area ska scene of 15 years ago, the free-wheelin‘, Caribbean-flavored genre still makes sense in sunny California. Bringing together more than two dozen, mostly local skank-able acts, Ska In The Park is testament to the style’s enduring appeal, yet the fact that it’s being held in an American Legion post only underlines this music’s chiefly underground status. No one else but gnarled hometown veterans Voodoo Glow Skulls should headline such an event in Riverside. Though they’ve never enjoyed the platinum discs of former stage-mates like The Offspring and 311, it shouldn’t be forgotten that VGS have sold over a million records over a 20-year, 8-album career and were once big Warped Tour draws. Their punky, bilingual and horns-augmented take on ska most recently found release on 2007’s Southern California Street Music. Other Ska In The Park highlights include the cartoonish, well-put-together anthems of OC’s Suburban Legends; the laid-back yet accomplished “skawaiian” stylings of San Diego’s Ricerokit; Riverside’s proudly rootsy Debonairs; and the inevitable pun-name on the bill, Lake Elsinore’s light-hearted Skamikaze!
Ska in the Park, Sat. June 27 at Fairmount Park, American Legion Riverside Post 79, 2979 Dexter Dr., featuring Voodoo Glow Skulls, Suburban Legends and more. www.myspace.com/skainthepark. Doors open 11AM. $20 at the door.