SKAMANIA! Presents: The Ska and Rocksteady Clash of The Century Part 1 – featuring The Steady 45s – at Los Globos – Los Angeles, CA – February 1, 2014

February 1, 2014

February 1st 2014, SKAMANIA! Made its return with “The Ska & Rocksteady Clash Of The Century Part 1”.  With a tradsition rooted deep within the heart of Jamaica, the Selector Sound Clash pits ska/rocksteady dj’s against one another in a battle royal, where only the best vinyl will do, as those in attendance would be the judges not only with their applause but with their feet as well. 

“What was on the line Aside from the bragging right?” Glad you asked, the coveted Treasure Isle/ Studio One Trophy and a crisp $300 bucks. Now with that cleared up let us introduce the evenings Selectors: 

Gabby Loks, Ian Olivera (Banana Sound System), Brian Spanky Kingston, Elizabeth MixItUpzine, Charles Smith (DJ Double Barrel), Arrow Sound (Supa Kay), and Ashwut Zound Zystem

With the match ups decided by a draw from a hat and the rules clearly stated in advance, the trophy awaited its new home. Friends, family and Los Angeles regulars packed the cozy downstairs bar room of the Los Globo’s nightclub. As DJ’s went heads up and chin down into their cherished crates and suit cases of pure Jamaican rarities, each intent on stealing the crowed and knocking out their opponent with one drop of the needle. Battles early on raged back and forth as no Selector intended on leaving without giving it their best wax.

No matter the rarity or popularity of the tune, the victor, would be decided by those in attendance and the choices always proved tough. The three round battles broke down as such: Gabby Loks vs. Elizabeth - Spanky vs. Arrow Sound - Ian vs. Charles Smith, with Gabby, Spanky and Charles advancing to the next round to meet Ashwut Zound Zystem (who advanced from a previous elimination process).

With the second round pairing Gabby vs. Charles ‘Double Barrel’ Smith and Spanky vs. Ashwut, the selections only got better as Spanky and Charles Smith both made spirited efforts only to bow out gracefully, paving the way for the nights main event Gabby Loks vs. Ashwut Zound Zystem.

After the dust had settled and the records stopped spinning the winner was. Both! YES after two attempts to gauge a clear winner the audience seemed to be at a tie and how could you blame them? With Ashwut Zound Zystem digging deep into the collection and Gabby Loks countering with gems like The Maytals ‘Don’t Trouble Trouble’ Keith & Ken ‘I Don’t Love You Anymore’ and Ken Lazarus ‘Soul Time’ the decision was up in the air, and with the rules clearly stating fan applause decided the winner, the two competitors were declared co-champions. And so they went, to revel in their hard earned victories as The Steady 45’s and The SKAMANIA All-Stars helped round off the night in the next room over.


After an early evening of DJ battles subsided the live acts took to the stage, with the now SKAMANIA regulars, The Steady 45’s, hit the stage first with what could easily be one of the strongest horn lines and precise sets touring the west coast. Mixing a catalog of original tunes with classic Jamaican tracks the seamless transition from tune to tune flowed just as perfectly as it did in the neighboring room for the Sound Clash. With their status and popularity on a sharp rise, The Steady 45’s have all the tools to play these high caliber events and play them extremely well.  It was only fitting, on a night of tradition and remembrance, The SKAMANIA! All-Stars pay tribute to founding member of the iconic Skatalites Roland Alphonso. In a strictly instrumental get down drinks were not the only things being poured, sweat and emotion poured out from those dancing the night away.

Nothing new to Jamaica, a gathering of the local top-flight musicians to jam or create was commonplace, naturally producing some of the best dance scorchers to ever leave the island. A similar gathering is happening deep within the Los Angeles ska scene, and was on display for the evening’s conclusion. Summoning members from local bands (The Delirians, The Steady’45s, Pachamama) and SKAMANIA! Veteran’s to forge the SKAMANIA! All-Stars.

And just like past appearances under the los Globo’s lights, these young men brought the furry. Re animating the already treasured catalog of the great Roland Alphonso, The SKAMANIA! All-stars, jammed out over fifteen choice tunes ranging from ‘Soul Fingers’ ‘Saucyhorn’ ‘Bango Tango’ ‘Stream of Life’ and wrapping the night up with the beloved ‘Streets of Gold’.  These young but thriving bands have released and produced some of the best ska/rocksteady in recent months, and came together to form a dizzying musical onslaught only SKAMANIA! would provide. Tired dancing legs, some sweet ska vinyl and a new SAKAMANIA! Sound Clash Co-Champions. All we need now is the climactic sequel.

With the weather in L.A. now reaching its normal chilly temperatures the heat was brought by SKAMANIA! Once again..

 More photos of the show can be seen HERE       

-Gio Van Dam-
Big Wheel Staff Reporter



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