SKAmania Holiday Extravaganza Featuring Pat Kelly and The Clarendonians – The Delirians – Chris Murray – and The Steady 45s – at Los Globos – Los Angeles, CA
December 7, 2013
Saturday December 7th 2013, the anticipation had reached a fever pitch as the return and arrival of two beloved entities converged upon Los Angeles. First the long awaited return of SKAmania!
One of LA’s more cherished regular events, whose tenure atop the Los Angeles Ska/Reggae scene has brought some of the more memorable LA performances as well as rare appearances, ranging from The Pioneers, The Skatalites, Ken Boothe and Eric ‘Monty’ Morris to name only a handful. And with its return to prominence, has brought with it the first Los Angeles appearance of The Clarendonians. As has become the norm with all SKAmania events, the line-up boasted top-level talent from beginning to end.
As early arrivals found out, the standard had been set high from the first song. Kicking off the night was The Steady 45’s who’s masterfully crafted harmonies and heavier than lead horn section had the second floor of the Silver lake nightclub bouncing and swaying. Immediately patrons flocked to the front of the stage to dance in a circle or pair off with their well dressed partners dawning tonic suits and Fred Perry dresses. With their steady rise over the last year we’ve seen The Steady 45’s grace a number of wonderful marquee’s, and rightly so. Traditionalists basked in their well-tuned performance as they maneuver from original scorchers to Jamaican relics such as the Ken Boothe classic ‘Artibela’.
After a wonderful 45 minute set The Steady 45’s made way for Acoustic Legend Chris Murray providing back up for yet another 45-minute gem. In true Chris Murray fashion his set ranged from past to present encompassing the entire spectrum of his acoustic and studio works. Those like myself foolish enough to wonder off for a Heineken Sponsored beer failed to remember no Chris Murray Set is ever the same, as he launched into the fan favorite ‘Love Flame’ causing some to abandon hope in drinking, as the dance floor only further tightened in a sea of skanking and singing fans. Only a few days removed from a recent east coast trip Chris Murray’s smooth voice and slick guitar work was as dominant and perfect as ever, LA fans have come to remember it from the one time weekly reggae showcase Blue Beat lounge. After Chris Murray’s set their was a small and well needed break for fans and especially the bands, some members even pulling quadruple duty for the night, had the opportunity to recover and brace themselves for the final stretch of joy and dancing.
It was now time for The Delirians to claim dominion over the old stomping grounds, the Los Globos Stage. Poised to overtake the Los Angeles Ska/Reggae community once again, the young men from East LA had a daunting yet easily surmountable task ahead of them as they performed their own set as well as supplying the perfect pairing of high quality musicianship the catalog’s of Pat Kelly and The Clarendonians deserve. Fans have no doubt come to endear themselves to the Delirians and their music, chanting and singing in unison, shoulders rubbing and dancers jockeying for position along the front of the stage. All the while grooving to old favorites and being treated to new songs including the just unveiled “Come And See”. The first third of The Delirians night progressed seamlessly as they took a step back to welcome the Clarendonians to Los Angeles for the first time.
Celebrating 50 years of Clarendonians music, the Clarendonians were welcomed to Los Angeles with a conquering hero’s ovation. Some waited a lifetime for the opportunity to see these remarkable men, some with closed eyes clutching drinks and singing to their hearts content. The emotion and energy was overpowering and present, even as Peter Austin dropped to his knees, tears of joy and humility streamed from his eyes even recalling songs inspired by heartbreak. The moment was definetly not lost on The Clarendonians or those in attendance as every song was sung with such passion even playing old time classics ‘Darling Forever’ ‘Shoo Bee Doo Bee’ ‘Bye Bye Bye’ and ‘Rudy Bam Bam’. With the once in a lifetime performance now in the books and in the hearts and memories of SKAmania loyalists, they now turned their attention to welcoming back a one, Pat Kelly.
No stranger to LA or SKAmania those not new to the scene knew what kind of clout and ability Pat Kelly brings to his performances. Adorned in a beautiful white suit he shimmered just as brightly. Bathed in the red and yellow glow of the Los Globos lights drinks were tossed while the now maximums capacity venue cheered on in joy for timeless classics ‘Talk About Love’ ‘Whiter Shade Of Pale’ ‘How Long Will It Take’ and my personal favorite ‘ I Wish It Would Rain’.
Never a disappointment he performed at the highest caliber even treating the fans to an encore and more of his trademark voice. The memorable holiday extravaganza went off without a hitch as friends embraced and share in a collective happiness only SKAmania could provide. The time had come to wonder home partake in a few dozen street tacos and begin the countdown until the next SKAmania masterpiece.
-Gio Van Dam-
Big Wheel Staff Reporter
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