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The Slackers
with King Django, Westbound Train, and Conscious Youth
January 4, 2002
The Knitting Factory - New York, NY

Alex Rud
Staff Writer
The Slackers (picture from Slackers Homepage)
Tonight was officially my first show of the year-and what a great way to kick of the new year than to party down with the Slackers, the one and only King Django, and the rest of the bands.

The first band, Conscious Youth, completely threw me off by the name. I was getting ready to see a nice reggae band, but instead, I got to hear one of the worst bands of the night.

Conscious Youth's sound can be described as the aborted child of Operation Ivy and Sublime-the mix did not flow with me really well, since I'm not a big fan of either band. What was worse than the sound, was the fact that they just didn't seem to enjoy themselves. When a band looks bored on stage, there is no way the audience would approve of them. At one point, the guitar player sat down in a chair-way to get the crowd into it, slick. Next time they should smoke less pot (or more).

Westbound Train got things on the right track (get it). I have seen these guys open up for the Slackers before-and remembering good things about them-I was looking forward to seeing them again.

Westbound Train is a very tight unit that plays a cross between reggae, rocksteady, and ska. Some songs were very skank-worthy, while other songs had a nice melody which made you all nice and fuzzy inside.

What I like best about Westbound Train is their singer. Not only does the singer have a great voice, but he is so energetic, and he always tries to get the crowd into it. It's always nice to see a band that has a good comunication with the crowd. The crowd reacted well to the band and showed it's support by dancing along, cheering, and clapping.

The ol' mighty King Django came next. King Django always brings the party to where it is at. The band was probably tighter than any other time I've seen them.

Everytime I see this band, they always make me feel good. KJ's band tore through some of their usuals like: "LKO," "Reason," "Chace Pum Pum," during which 2 lovely ladies came up on stage to dance-the ladies didn't see it coming, but Jeff (King Django) showed them some moves of his own, and boy were they up for it.

What I like about KJ's set, is that he always whips out a few songs from his previous bands. "Nex Finger" and "This Is NYC" belonged to Skinnerbox-while "Grand Masters" and "Tired of Struggling" belonged to the Stubborn All-Stars.

The end of the set was pretty funny. As Django's band was finishing up a cover of "I Got To Know," Django decided to spit fire one more time to dazzle the crowd. He accidentaly lit this kid's hair on fire. I felt really bad for the kid, but since nothing happened to him, it was pretty damn funny-next time cut down on the gel, hippy!

The Slackers came next. The place had already became packed tighter than a can of sardines-which is what I had inticipated all along. The Slackers are the only real ska band that draw such a diverse crowd. There were skinheads, rudeboys, punks, mods, crusties (yeah, it's bad), and I think I saw a few hippies somewhere.

The Slackers always get the crowd worked up. For the next 2 hours people were just dancing, laughing, and celebrating the fact that they are seeing this band-I'm glad that after a tough year, people can atleast put their troubles behind and enjoy the ska sounds that the Slackers brought.

The band was, as usual, dressed up in matching outfits. This time the uniform resembled some kind of a japanise monk or ninja, but I could be wrong. As usual, Vic Regguero had to stand out from the band by wearing something different-this time he was dressed up as a French artist.

As for the tunes, Slackers played too many great ones to name. In 2 hours of live music, a band tends to play a shit load of songs-yes, even if the songs are 5 or more minutes each.

The show was something I needed. The show was so great that I forgot about all my troubles. "When I say 'Rock,' you say 'steady.'"

Alex Rud is a Staff Columnist. Contact him at arud@rockzone.com.

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