The Ska Flames @ Shibuya Club Quattro (Aug. 22nd, 2015)

Ska Flames still blazing hot after 30 years
Live Report : “Ska Flames still blazing hot after 30 years” @ Shibuya Club Quattro 2015.07.22

Ska Flames

Few bands make it to their 30th anniversary, so when one does you know it’s something special. Furthermore, when said band throws an anniversary party complete with loads of special guests, it’s not something to be missed. The Ska Flames, the original Japanese ska, roots, rocksteady band, know how to put on a party and this special anniversary show just took things to the next level. They’ve been playing smallish venues as of late and it was of no surprise this show at Shibuya’s club Quattro sold out well in advance.

The almost 3 hour set featured friends and guests to join and honor The Ska Flames in celebrating the sound of original ska music in Japan for 30 years. Guests included King Nabe, Ego-Wrappin’, Rankin Taxi, Ayukawa Makoto and Kiyoshi Matsutakeya. However, the truly special guest of the night was London’s own Gaz Mayall. Gaz produced the Ska Flames first album and continues to host one of London’s longest running club nights, the storied, Gaz’s Rockin’ Blues (which has recently surpassed 35 years).

Ska FlamesThe Flames set was basically divided into 2 parts, the first featured the Flames themselves laying down their hits such as “Cool Smoke”, “Rip Van Winkle”, “I Won’t Never Let You Go” and more. They sounded as on-point as ever and looked the part, with front man Hirokazu Ise taking center stage as usual in his trademark yukata and wooden cane. You could tell the Flames still love to play and represent the original Jamaican sound just as much now as ever. Everyone was laughing, dancing and having a great time up on stage which infected the couple thousand deep in the audience with a mad case of Ska Fever.

Ska Flames The second half of the their set got things amped up even more. All the guests came up on stage in turn to jam out a couple tracks with the Flames. “A Love Song”, featuring Ego Wrappin’ got a huge reaction, as did “Johnny B. Goode” featuring Ayukawa Makoto on guitar. However, the place was really electric when Gaz took to the mic for a couple tunes, he then came back for the smash closer, “Tokyo Shot”. The Flames stepped out for a couple minutes only to be welcomed back for an encore of “Bartender” featuring all their guests up on stage with them. It was crowed, hot and sweaty, both on stage and in the audience, the ska sound was alive and well. The Ska Flames were burning brighter than ever. Just as London has Gaz to keep the ska, rocksteady tradition going, we are lucky to have the Ska Flames here in Japan; here’s to another 30 years!

–>Photo Report

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Photos:
Laura Cooper
laura@smashingmag.net
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Laura Cooper's Works

Text:
James Mallion
james@smashingmag.net

James Mallion's Works

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