The Riverside was alive and kicking as Cool Beans bought the cream of modern-ska to the heart of Sheffield.
The Sheffield venue prides itself on being one of the liveliest in the city and tonight was no exception.
Support from the Carl Newton and the Unscene provided some easy listening as Sheffield’s mod ska population flooded the bar – there was no lack of Dr Martens, and trilbies a plenty – but this was no cliché, this was genuine meeting of the like minded over the love of dub, ska and skanking.
The evening’s proceedings really got into full swing when Leeds outfit the Indecision took to the stage, despite only just fitting, the eight piece kicked off by inviting the now packed out Riverside to get up and dance.
A fitting way to get started, the Indecision triumph old-school Rocksteady vibes and up-tempo, good old-fashioned ska.
From happiness to heartache, the Indecision took us on a happy-go-lucky journey of the triumphs and troubles of love and life.
Sheffield’s very own Smiling Ivy get up next. After missing their set at Y Not Festival, Far Out were particularly excited about seeing them.
Hailing from Steel City, Smiling Ivy bring a more contemporary approach to the dub party.
Boasting outlandish punk rock lyrics fused with ska and reggae rhythms and percussion, Smiling Ivy wasted no time getting stuck in at the Riverside, singer Dan Hobson’s t-shirt lasting only a matter minutes, before he ripped it off as he bounded about the stage.
Smiling Ivy’s lyrical vernacular is themed predominantly around drugs, sex and all things debaucherous. This is a band who don’t shy away from exposing the taboo realities of our modern day society.
‘Let Loose’ was a guitar led explosion – that name drops celebrity ‘creatures of the night’ who’ve been at one point scandalised by the media for dabbling in the old Persian rugs in their spare time.
‘Phenomenon’ is a super upbeat number that questions our country’s obsession with reality TV – ‘I walked into the Big Brother house with an IED tied round my waist/BOOM my mind’s all over place’ sings Hobson and most of the audience join in.
There’s no concern that these guys are just trying to be controversial for the sake of it as they ridicule some of our country’s more questionable cultural traits – despite some of the darker undertones that surround some of Smiling Ivy’s songs, catchy sax work, funky bass lines, infectious guitar riffs and tight percussion ensure they’re the full package, as well as giving the crowd something to get down and move their feet to.
So on to the main event – New York City’s very own the Toasters. Hailed as one of the original ska bands and pioneers of the third wave of ska – these old timers were greeted like the underground legends they are.
Although born in England, frontman Robert ‘Bucket’ Hingley stands up like a true Yank, songs like ‘Enemy of the State’ that speaks out against the US Government make this clear.
What’s also clear is that our friends from across the pond respected the city they were visiting, with the drummer donning a Sheffield Wednesday top behind the kit.
The Toasters do exactly what they say on the tin, they’re an absolute master class in elastic bass lines, off beat guitars, horns and brass.
The king pins of ska did not disappoint, by the end of their set rowdy onlookers were skanking about furiously, bouncing around the Riverside.
Cool Beans pride themselves on embracing musical diversity, showcasing up and coming talent and having a good time, all boxes were ticked here in stellar fashion.
Will De Nardo