Boston, Mass. ska group Big D and the Kids Table played April 5 at Eclectic on the Wesleyan University campus in Middletown, Conn. Supporting were fellow punk bands Radio Raheem, Smackin’ Isaiah and Folly.
If you have not heard of Eclectic at Wesleyan it’s understandable. An old frat house on the campus, it looks like something out of a college flick like “PCU” or “Animal House.” Although none of the bands that played are superstars by any stretch, Big D and Folly both have significant fan bases.
Radio Raheem played first that night; the audience could be counted on two hands. By the time they finished their first three songs, the crowd had grown considerably.
Raheem is a hardcore punk/ska band and they were most notable for their differing tempos and rhythms as well as melodies. The vocals were completely drowned out by the various instruments, but this is a common trademark of many hardcore bands.
After a short turnaround Smackin’ Isaiah hit the stage. Wait, they did not hit the stage because there was no stage to hit. Let me remind you that Eclectic is a frat house. This means there was no stage and the speakers were located atop chairs turned on their sides. Even though the chairs looked comfortable, they did not look like they would be good speaker stands. Throughout the show, the speakers were swaying back and forth.
Eclectic’s acoustics are hideous. It sounded as if the bands were playing in an empty swimming pool. The entire house was made of wood and looked as if it was from the 19th Century. There was nothing to absorb the vibrations from the instruments.
Smackin’ Isaiah played on and once again the instruments drowned out the vocals. The person working the mixer had no idea what to do about it. Isaiah finished with “Sendoff” off of their latest release, “The Champagne of Bands-we know sexy.”
Next to play was Folly, another ska band from New Jersey. Folly can be described in three words: loud, loud and, well, loud. They played songs from their latest album “For My Friends.”
Lead singer Jon Tummillo was amazing and the crowd went crazy. At this point, the crowd was the largest it would get with about 50 people. Arms were flailing, legs were kicking and bodies were falling. Everybody seemed to be enjoying the moment as Isaiah played, ending their set with “Broken.”
Last up was Big D and the Kids Table. The seven-piece band took minimal time setting up. Despite horrible acoustics, Big D managed to get the mixer set up right and the vocals could be heard clearly without a problem.
The horn section, including trombone, saxophone and trumpet sounded crisp and bombastic. They played an hour-long set filled with songs off of their several CD’s.
Among the crowd favorites were “Conserve,” “Stupid Mind” and “She Won’t Ever Figure It Out.” They also played a slew of new material off their forthcoming album, including “L.A.X.”
If you’ve never been to a Big D show, or any punk or ska show for that matter, I suggest you go. Even if you are not into the music the crowd is amusing to watch.
If you are one of the many that have never heard of Big D, give them a listen. Download some songs off their website, www.bigdandthekidstable.com. Four dollars was well spent for this excellent ska show.