The Toasters Are Set To Burn In Frontroom Show
By by SHERNG-LEE HUANG, Arts Editor
Before No Doubt, before Sublime, before the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, there were the Toasters. Although their record sales hardly qualify them as mainstream, the Toasters have been a crucial influence on the ska scene for the past two decades. Tonight they bring their legendary live show to the Frontroom.

The Toasters formed in New York City in 1982, centered around British frontman Rob "Bucket" Hingley. Named after the art of "toasting" (a form of Jamaican rap), the Toasters were one of the first American bands to play traditional ska music.

Through exhaustive touring and a series of albums including 1987's classic "Skaboom!," the band established themselves as the premier American ska band. They also made an invaluable contribution to the scene through their independent label, Moon Ska Records NYC. Moon Ska has supported both American and British ska bands, including Hepcat and Bad Manners.

Ska, as a musical genre, originated in Jamaica during the '60s. Its essential component is a guitar/horn line that falls on the "upstroke" of the beat. You could call it "fast reggae," although that is misleading because ska actually pre-dates reggae.

A ska revival began in late '70s England when "two-tone" bands like the English Beat and the Specials took the Jamaican sound and made it their own by adding elements of rock and R&B to the mix. Soon after, bands like the Toasters carried on the movement in the States. But it wasn't until the '90s that the music really exploded in America.

The Toasters have made their reputation through their rollicking concerts. If you've never experienced live ska before, a Toasters performance is a great place to start.

Issue 02, Submitted 2000-09-13 15:59:01