The skanking was strong Thursday night as House of TARG celebrated its one-year anniversary weekend with a night of ska delivered by Suits ‘n Toques and Black Mask Brigade.
Black Mask Bridage pause to take a shot in honour of House of TARG’s oen year anniversary. Photo: Eric Scharf
The show was kicked off by the three-piece Black Mask Brigade. They are a little on the heavier side of the ska spectrum, with strong street punk influences. The lead singer and guitarist set the tone for the set very early one, “Today is a celebration, happy one-year TARG… I am also drunk.” A few songs later, the set featured a pause for the band to do shots and toast House of TARG. Black Mask Brigade played mostly originals, including “Red Streets” and their kick ass closer “Death at the Disco,” but they also found some time to throw in a couple of covers. The crowd, myself included, was super into their rendition of the Rancid classic “Old Friend“.
Suits ‘n Toques getting people dancing at House of TARG’s one-year anniversary. Photo: Eric Scharf
With it getting pretty late, 11:45 p.m. to be specific, and Suits ‘n Toques still not on stage yet it was time for the third Thursday of the month tradition, free hotdogs and veggie dogs. Now with everyone hankering for a late night snack fulfilled, it was time to dance it off. The local six-piece ska band knows how to get people moving. The band played a great mix of old of tracks and new songs off their upcoming album, set to be released May 15. It was excellent to hear them sand which new song “California Chrome” (video below) between older tracks like “Jenga” and “Let Loose”. While the crowd was loving it and dancing up a storm, not everyone was all smiles. The saxophone player, Andrew Scott, recently took a nasty spill on his BMX mangling his front teeth and forcing him to play through some immense pain. I always knew rude dudes were tough cats, good job man.
Suits ‘n Toques also found time for some really awesome covers including one of the all time great street punk ska songs Streetlight Manifesto’s “Moment of Silence/Violence” and the super fun and catchy “Beer” by Reel Big Fish. They sent us off into the very early morning with their song about very late nights that go well into the morning “3:03”. Lastly a shout out to lead singer and trombone player, Chris Ferrante, for rocking a The Flatliners shirt. Remember when they were ska? I sure as hell do.
Suits ‘n Toques passing the mic to JS to sing along at House of TARG’s one-year anniversary. Photo: Eric Scharf
I love the Heartbreakers EP by former Ottawa band, Brights. Though short in length, it packs in a ton of great melodies that brought me back to many of the bands that first got me into music.
In particular, the tracks “Home” and “Five Year Plan” really stuck out to me. Every time I heard Home,” I could picture a crowd of friends, family and fans gathering around the band to sing along in those memorable “Whoa-oh-oh’s!” that dominate the chorus and outro. It was feel-good music with lyrics that resonated with me. To be honest, the lyrics hold true today, for anybody searching for a bit more meaning in their mid-20s and beyond.
“Five Year Plan” also hit home with a super-catchy, singalong chorus. It touched on the issues faced by those commencing adulthood, and to me, sounded like it focused on the responsibilities and challenges associated with “growing up.” After a beautiful guitar solo, gang vocals round out the song at the 3:25 mark.
The three other tracks (“Operate Me,” We Are Getting Restless,” and “Heartbreakers“) were also strong pop-punk songs that hit an emotional note with honest lyrics and catchy guitar hooks.
From what I understand, members of this band are still playing and writing in bands such as The Gallop, Stay Classy, Sound of Lions and more. If I’m lucky, maybe we’ll see a 10-year Brights reunion show in 2018 (fingers crossed!). Whenever I want to have a nostalgia trip, I throw on Heartbreakers. Solid, all-around!