Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Plan was to spend some time in Switzerland. This, of course, meant crossing the border.

So, we made it to Switzerland. A few days ago we played a big indoor festival called "Ska-Fest". We were excited about this for two reasons:

1. We were playing with TALCO, an incredibly good Italian folk-punk band with horns and violins and all kinds of awesome, and
2. We had a golden opportunity to make fun of ska music.

You see people, ska is generally terrible music. The reason is is terrible is that it sucks and we hate it. The reason there are so very many ska bands in every single city in the world is because most children are forced to play some kind of horn instrument in high school band. Then, as adults, legions of these musicians get a little baked while listening to Sublime and realize that they might get laid if they join a band. The songwriting and stage performance seems to be of secondary importance.

So, meeting Talco was something else. They blew everyone else off the stage...

...went backstage and were promptly annihilated by an Albertan drinking game taught to them by a certain Canadian punk band. Not only were they incredible guys, they also had that distinctly Italian inability to resist peer pressure. The result? Two soused folkpunk bands shouting, throwing things and generally terrorizing the rest of the (ahem, ska) bands.

Now, The Dreadnoughts generally do not believe in being poseurs. That is to say, we sing about getting drunk and going on adventures and doing utterly stupid things, and we do all of those things. We like to play big festivals with other so-called "party" bands, because we get to see if they, you know, actually put their cider where their mouth is, actually walk the walk.

Suffice to say, at this festival, we emerged as the undisputed champtions of The Walk. We destroyed the stage, we lit things on fire, we ran screaming through the halls, we valiantly leapt to defend the honour of damsels in distress, we poured obscene amounts of beer into our gullets, and most importantly, at the end of the night, one of us had to be carried out of the venue by Squid Vicious and the president of our record label.


And ska music? Well, ska music got the full treatment. We'd just finished "Ivanhoe" for around 200 moshers, and I got on the mic:

"Hey, do you guys like ska music?" The crowd roared their assent, throwing their hands in the air.

"Why?" I countered. "Ska music is terrible."

(Some laughter, a few scattered boos.)

"No, some of you seem to think I'm joking. Ska is terrible. It's all exactly the same. You only like it because you're white and that means it's the only music that you can dance to."

(Here, we all parodied that ridiculous "skanking" dance that ska fans do).

The boos became much louder. "OH!" I shouted. "Can't handle the truth, eh? Hey guys, wanna do a ska song for them?"

We broke into an easy two-chord ska breakdown, complete with our best trombone imitations into the microphones. The crowd began to dance wildly, and we soon ground the song to a halt. "wHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?" I shouted. "Didn't you SEE HOW EASY THAT WAS? JESUS!!!"

Anyway, Martin, our aforementioned label president, told me the next day that this was the best thing he'd ever seen and that he was sick to death of ska music. This is rather unfortunate for him, as he does happen to run the biggest ska label in Switzerland. Hmmm.

Also we went to Belgium. For some reason.


  1. Heads Or Caribou. Spread it around the world! That game is going to be the calling card of Alberta one day.