When: Thu., May 21, 10 p.m. 2015
ska, reggae, rhythm, blues, 10 p.m.
The Slackers formed in New York City nearly 25 years ago, playing mostly tough Manhattan audiences in small clubs. “People are famously critical and don’t just support you ’cause you are ‘local.’ It took us years to work our way up to filling medium-sized clubs,” says saxophonist Dave Hillyard. The six-piece, comprising Vic Ruggiero (vocals, keys), Glen Pine (trombone, vocals), Jayson Nugent (guitar), Marcus Geard (bass), Ara Babajian (drums), and Hillyard, make ska/rocksteady music mixed with rock ‘n’ roll, blues, R&B, and Latin-American rhythms. For Hillyard, ska was the first style of music that excited him. He says, “I got obsessed with a lot of the U.K. ska music from the 1980s when I was 13 years old, and that made me want to play along with it.” Hillyard’s introduction to British and Jamaican ska was like a gateway drug to more music. American jazz, R&B, and blues now also define the Slackers’ sound. These days, the band has a strong fanbase around the world, from Latin and North American to Europe to Japan — as they’ve been dedicated to playing over 100 shows a year since 1997. The band recently released the boogaloo party tune “Diskambobulated,” which will be available at their merch table this Thursday. —Kelly Rae Smith THURSDAY