The Slackers/Mephiskapheles/The West Kensingtons – North Star Bar – Philadelphia, PA – 12/12/14

Last month I photographed Skanksgiving in New Jersey.  A holiday ska show celebrating Thanksgiving.  This month I photographed The Slackers holiday show in Philadelphia.  Even though this show, and tour, didn’t feature a clever name it didn’t stop the three bands from putting on a skaliday show.  Alright, that name was pushing it, I don’t think any band played a holiday song.  The point is all three bands on the Philadelphia show put on a sweaty, amazing show.  There was more dancing than the Skanksgiving show for sure.

The opening band was a new band from the Philadelphia area called the West Kensingtons.  I haven’t gotten to posting it, but I actually did this band’s promotional shots.  Something I’ve never done, but I think they came out alright.  This was my first time actually seeing the West Kensingtons perform on stage.  I must say for a band that is only a few years old, I’d think this band has been around for at least 5 years.  I’m not just saying this because I know the band, I really mean it.  The majority of their songs are instrumental, but sometimes it is nice to listen to the music and let it do the talking.  The West Kensingstons can be compared to others like Westbound Train, Eastern Standard Time, and of course The Slackers.  It’d be nice to see this band pick up some steam in 2015, but only time will tell.  Best part is you can judge for yourself.  Head over to their site and download some free music!

The second band was the ever entertaining Mephiskapheles.  Running through a 17 song set, just like Skanksgiving, the crowd went crazy for Mephiskapheles.  Rest has done this band good.  Andre is a great front man to watch.  His persona on stage is like no other.  Sometimes I think he is just going to bring the stage down with his jumping and stomping.  The rest of the band is no different.  Dave, the guitarist, looks like he would be in a metal band while playing and the brass and rhythm section sound like they were classical trained.  I’ve said it before, even though Mephiskapheles’ music is about Satan and may seem like a joke, don’t underestimate this band.  They know what they are doing.

The Slackers closed the night and this time Vic Ruggiero was back in action.  The Slackers actually played a little bit quieter than usual, if that is possible to say.  Drummer Ara Babajian played without cymbals and a towel over the snare drum, which actually didn’t hurt the performance.  As always The Slackers sounded great.  However, these shows had something special; Jesse Wagner of the Aggrolites joined on vocals on some Slackers songs and played some Aggrolites songs.  The Aggrolites were my gateway band into this rocksteady/reggae music and finally seeing Aggrolites songs live again was a treat.  This combination is something us east coasters shouldn’t miss.  All three bands should be on each date, but unforuntely the rest of the shows won’t have The West Kensingtons.  Regardless be prepared to dance if you attend the last shows.

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