Coming soon is the rest of the History of Skatownjay and Ska Town Presents.........
24th & 25th JULY
25th & 26th JULY
Ska Jam is a Ska, Reggae, Dub and Rocksteady compilation from bands around the world. The brainwave of Keith Finch (JA-13) and Jason Watkins (Skatownjay) is to bring you an International compilation that takes Ska to a brand new level.
JA-13, Skatownjay and Jamdown / Abood present “Ska-Jam”
JA-‐13 productions, joined by Skatownjay, have joined forces again with Jamdown / Abood to launch a new label SKA-‐JAM to release a series of
new International Ska music collections, featuring some celebrated Jamaican and English artistes from the original Ska movement, right up to the new and exciting current wave of new Ska artistes from all corners of the world.
Jamdown / Abood are responsible for many of the international reggae and dancehall hits over the last two decades. Successful projects dating back to Eek A Mouse, Black Uhuru, Junior Reid (including his legendary hit One Blood), Wee Papa Girls, Daddy Freddy, Louchie Lou & Michie One, Tenor Fly, Chakademus & Pliers / 'Tease Me', to name just a few, right thru to the acclaimed and highly successful Coolie Dance which yielded numerous major global hits (Nina Sky / 'Move Ya Body', Lil Jon & Pitbull / 'Culo', Vegas / 'Pull Up' and so on), Bounty Killer (countless hits including worldwide smash with No Doubt -‐ 'Hey Baby'), FYA, Smujji, 2 Play (both Top 10 hits -‐ So Confused, It Can't Be Right), So Solid Crew hit single titles, Sean Paul hit titles include We Be Burning, Matterhorn's huge hit 'Dutty Wine'....current hits include the Neyo & Movado single 'I know u Want Me', 'Rum & Red Bull (Beenie Man & Fambo).....The roster includes over 60 of the top names out of Jamaica as well as some leading signed writers on the publishing side from the US urban world -‐ these includes writers behind hits from artists such as 2Pac, Snoop, T.I., Lil Kim, Busta Rhymes, Angie Stone, John Legend, Damian Marley, Pendulum, Jadakiss.....plus recent publishing signings Daz Dillinger, Kurupt, Warren G and Randy Jackson (writer of numerous Jackson Five and Michael Jackson hit titles).
JA13 initially secured its place in ska & rock steady history with the hugely acclaimed and iconic album Heroes Of Kingston which featured the original legends of the genre -‐ Derrick Morgan, Alton Ellis, Dennis Alcapone, Rico Rodriguez, Dave Barker (Dave & Ansell Collins), BB Seaton (Gaylads etc), Winston 'Mr Fix It' Francis. Rico Rodriguez's classic album 'Wareika Vibes' was also a JA13 production -‐ the title track became and has remained an absolute classic! JA13 also enjoyed worldwide pop chart & mainstream success with the UK pop reggae act FYA (had global chart hits with 'Must Be Love' and 'Too Hot' -‐ licensed to EMI for Japan where album went gold and to Def Jam for rest of the world).
Other JA13 credits include numerous international TV and Film synch’s, Arsenal TV, Mighty Diamonds, and even the Air Jamaica playlist! And currently the recent hit 'Barmitzvah Riddim' out of Jamaica which features current hit singles from numerous of the top current dancehall artists such as Bounty Killer, Elephant Man, Vegas and so on.....They are just finishing an album with Madness sax player Lee Thompson and various contemporary established musicians, which will feature in this project.
Skatownjay has been promoting Ska for nearly 10 years, working individually and co-promoting shows across the UK. He has promoted various bands - Bad Manners, The Selecter right thru to the current wave of Ska, from putting on debut gigs, farewell gigs, festivals and tours, Skatownjay has certainly done the rounds in keeping the Ska scene alive n kicking. He also has a massive interest in the European ska scene and has attended endless gigs and festivals overseas in support of the Ska scene, making lots of friends and contacts along the way, whilst building a massive collection of European ska CD's. His knowledge of the current international Ska scene has become invaluable to Ska Jam.
SKA-‐JAM will launch with 'SKA-‐JAM Presents -‐ Volume 1' which features:
‘King of Ska” – Derrick Morgan [JA]
“Legs Eleven” – Lee Thompson [UK]
“Our Train” -‐ Smooth Beans [Spain]
“Bloody Beautiful” -‐ The Hotknives [UK]
“I don’t wanna go home” – The Valkyrians [Finland]
“Run and Hide” – Dr Woggle and the Radio [Germany]
“Mentally Ska’d“ – 1 Stop experience [UK]
“Taxman Ska” – Babylove and the van Dangos [Denmark]
“Wreckin’ Ball” – The Brothers Ignatius [UK]
“Jack the Lad“ -- Too Many Crooks [UK]
“Three sides to a story” – The Dance Brigade [UK]
“Blow the whole thing up” – Smoke like a fish [UK]
“Hossana” – The Cabrians [Spain]
“Hava Nigila” – The Dance Brigade [UK]
“Solid Ground” – The Splitters [UK]
“The Count” – Rico Rodriguez [JA]
This first album will be out May 2012, distributed globally by The Orchard and available on ITUNES/Amazon and all digital download retail outlets.
28th JANUARY & 25th FEBRUARY
Ska Town took some time out to go to gigs in the UK and Germany, and to see where i wanted to go from here in the promoting business. I made a lot of friends in Germany and seeing Ska gigs in another country really opened my eyes up to what the UK was missing out on.
16th & 17th JULY
A very hot weekend in Southend saw Ska Town delivery it's first Essex Ska Festival, and what an experience it was. Two days of sun, sea, sand and thunderous Ska, from what can be described as an amazing line up of top Ska bands. More to follow.................
29th APRIL, 30th APRIL, 1st MAY
Ska Town took to the road with three top class ska bands for the very first "In Ya Face" mini ska tour. After a 4 hour car journey we finally arrived at Latham Park, Newtown, Powys, the starting point of the tour. Splitters opened the night with an awesome set that set the pace for the rest of the evening, i seriously recommend their new release "Good Time Trouble". Next up was Rough Kutz, a band of which i've only ever seen a couple of times but a band i'll certainly put on more often in the future. They hammered out some top notch skanking songs that got the crowd jumping and increased the pace of the evening. Headlining the opening night was Smoke Like A Fish, playing in front of their home crowd, they didn't disappoint. A tremendous set that even saw Percy hand over the drumsticks to Tran's son for the first encore song. Despite the crowd being a bit low, a great night was had by all. The first night was over but an overnight stop at S.L.A.F HQ for Tran's birthday was very eventful. When we first arrived at HQ i noticed the lack of street lighting, probably due to the fact that HQ is a farm house down some dirt track in the middle of bloody nowhere, the moment i stepped out of the car i just knew it was going to be a visit to remember, cow shit on my bloody DM's, Wigs for everyone, an orange coat for Pete Davis, a strange German lady that wanted everyone to know when her birthday was and Woosie's strange collection of bedtime items. Sleep was scarce, and those that did, commented on the fact i was still in the same spot, still watching the S.L.A.F dvd when they finally awoke, insomnia, what a wonderful thing.
Day two of the tour saw us heading out of the valleys, with a 2 hour drive to The Talbot, Stoke-on-trent. We arrived nice and early to lend a helping hand to the bands and also welcome The Big, who were to join us for one night only as part of their own tour. The venue filled up quickly and The Big opened the night with their fast paced catalogue of ska that got the crowd moving, a great set and really pleased they could join us. Smoke Like A Fish and Splitters followed with yet another outstanding set from both bands, it was getting bloody hot in the venue and boiling point was finally reached when Rough Kutz took to the stage and delivered a truly amazing set. The whole place was rocking and it was a shame the night had to end. We sat in the bar until about 4am chatting about the last two nights and possible future jaunts we could undertake. The time came when we had to leave and set off for the final night of the tour.
Day three, we set off for Leicester at 4am straight from leaving The Talbot, on route the weather started taking a turn for the worse, it had been good to us up till now, Splitters "Good Time Trouble" was banging out on the car stereo and then without any warning, all the sky lit up, lightening constantly flashed through the sky for about 20 minutes, it was getting quite eerie, then rain, and i mean rain. Not just a shower, but a torrential downpour that somehow blended in to the music filling the car, that's what i call bloody weird. We arrived in Leicester at about 5.30am and grabbed about 3 hours sleep, parked up in an industrial estate. The day passed by and we turned up at The Musician to see the bands in for the final time. This was probably the best night of the whole tour, the venue was near rammed and the bands never failed the audience one bit. Rough Kutz opened the night at some blistering pace, Smoke Like A Fish followed on and increased the tempo, leaving Splitters at the mercy of their home crowd, and christ did they deliver. A sensational 1st tour had finally come to an end and i personally can't wait to do it all over again.
A very special thanks to SPLITTERS, ROUGH KUTZ and SMOKE LIKE A FISH for their unwavering commitment and hospitality they showed, and to their wives and partners for their patience over the past three days. Thanks to everyone at Latham Park, Bill at The Talbot and Nicola and Wayne at The Musician for their hospitality, we'll be back !!! To Neil for all the support and driving over the three days. To all the fans that turned up over the 3 days and finally to my wife and children for their understanding in my life.
A cold Saturday night down by the seaside, with the threatening snow ready to drop, Ska Town delivered it's own remedy to fight off the chill. "Skank the seafront" is exactly what we did, from the first band to the last. First up on the stage were The CRACKED ACTORS from Birmingham, one word, AWESOME, and trust me the journey they made was well worth it, these guys really packed a punch. With a musical sphere which catered for all from Ska - Punk - Biker, they are a very lively, energetic and fun band to watch and listen to. Next up was ORANGE STREET who were brilliant, from the music right down to the tonic suits and wrap round glasses. An excellent covers set that kept the crowd on their toes. Southend's very own The BIG took to the stage and skanked Big style, a slightly different set from what we've all become used to, due to a couple of missing band members, but none the less, brilliant. We still hadn't finished and the temperature was already at boiling point, sod the chill this is SKA. Last up was the band that have really made a name for themselves, MORE SPECIALS, a truly unbelievable set that entertained so much even the audience joined in on stage. Each and every band were applauded for their part, in what was a truly HOT SKANKING NIGHT, and were invited back onto stage to perform with More Specials on their last song "Enjoy Yourself". The stage was completely packed, from bands to the audience, it was like a trip back in time, a really great evening that i will find hard to better this year, but i will try.
Ska Town and Jets "Carry on Ska" teamed up on 28th January @ Esquires in Bedford for the first of hopefully many gigs together, what with Jet being a very good friend and his vast experience spanning ten years in the business, this was the perfect start to the year for Ska Town. It was a storming night, The PRESSURE TONES opened the evening with a blistering set that became a truly hard act to follow, i seriously recommend you buy their first CD "Pressurized" it's awesome. Next up was SMOKE LIKE A FISH who really went for the kill, the fast paced 2tone sound got the crowd jumping with a great set that even saw Dylan reach for the trumpet, a brilliant evening of Ska was truly capped when REBELATION took to the stage, surrounded by thunderous feedback from the deafening PA system on their opening song, they quickly got into their stride and delivered the awesome sounds of Ska, Rocksteady and Dub-Reggae in just one set, the collective styles of music that REBELATION possess is a real credit to the hard work the entire band put in. A tremendous night seemed to be had by all and it was a pleasure working alongside Jet whom back in November was considering retirement, retirement my arse, let there be SKA.
Ska Town ended 2004 with a joint promotion @ CHINNERY'S, Southend on 20th December. Ed from The BIG and ourselves hosted the Winter Ska Party and what a cracking night it was. Local youngsters CISCO IN THE AQUARIUM opened the night with some really good ass kicking ska, a very talented group with lots of charisma. The SUPATONES were next up with a great set that showed why they are appreciated and loved abroad as well as in the UK. By now the crowd were really going for it and the headline act didn't let them down. The BIG took to the stage and completely owned it. They were without a shadow of doubt, AWESOME !!! A stunning night of entertainment that just lacked the snow.
21st November @ The CAMDEN UNDERWORLD, this was supposed to have been our 1st Anniversary Ska Festival, but due to very poor advance sales on the tickets the decision was made to pull the plug on the evening with about a week remaining. Apologies to everyone that was planning to turn up for the show and everyone that bought an advance ticket will still be compensated as promised.
The SELECTER was next up on the 21st August @ CHINNERY'S, Southend. A fair size crowd turned up for what was also Carnival night in the seaside town, The PRESSURE TONES opened up the night with a fast paced ska set and really set the tempo for the evening, The BIG delivered a really good set to their local crowd and not to be outshone 2TONIC blasted away through some covers from the 2Tone days with a little extra from some original material. The SELECTER took to the stage with an addition to their line up, Arthur "GAPS" Hendrickson, back from the wilderness to add that touch of class to the tracks we still can't stop dancing to. A really good night with lots of memories.
Ska Town loaned it's services to 1st4UKARTISTS on June 18th @ THE FAT SURFER CLUB in Grays, Essex for the BAD MANNERS gig, of which was recorded for their LIVE ! DVD. This was a huge success and gave us some great feedback to further our profile, a packed out venue was treated to a stunning set. A release date for the DVD has been penned for February 05, so not long now !!!
It wasn't until the end of May that Ska Town resurfaced with another live set, very low key and local to myself. SELECTER ACOUSTIC@ The HALF MOON, Bishop's Stortford. A really entertaining night with music and stories from the 2 Tone days.
Ska Town kicked off the new year in great style, 31st January @ CHINNERY'S, Southend. BAD MANNERS headlined the bill in what was a complete sell out. SMOKE LIKE A FISH set an incredible pace for Manners to follow, and like true professionals they didn't disappoint. Around 40 people were turned away at the door, and if you were one of those 40 please accept my apologies.
The following day Ska Town head northbound to The JAILHOUSE, Coventry and not without yet more problems. LAUREL AITKEN was due to headline a four band showpiece but for some strange reason a Saturday night in Coventry was the last place that people wanted to venture to. With only 8 (EIGHT) tickets sold in advance I spoke with Laurel and agreed by mutual consent that he pulled out of the gig. The night still went ahead but on a smaller scale, SPLITTERS opened the night and set an awesome pace for the others. Next up was SMOKE LIKE A FISH, what can I say. They couldn't make the previous night and spent that entire night rehearsing with a new drummer to be ready for Coventry. They were absolutely brilliant and despite a really good set from KINGSIZE the night belonged to SMOKE.
The 21st November @ CHINNERY'S, Southend-on-sea, with The SELECTER, slightly better than what I originally set my sights on. You would have thought that after the earlier set back I could have started from scratch without anymore setbacks, NOT. A cold and wet Friday night signaled the beginning of Ska Town Presents and the day couldn't have started any worse if it tried, I received a phone call from Tran (S/L/A/F) at 10am, Smoke Like A Fish had to pull out due to their Drummer quitting the band. After several phone calls I managed to get an opening band (The BIG) and the night went ahead. It was a skanking night and from the feed back I received, Ska Town had delivered, a very big thanks to THE BIG and The SELECTER + RHODA.
The Birth of Ska Town Present
Ska Town never looked as though it was ever going to get off the ground, the first gig was scheduled for 22nd November @ The Square in Harlow, Essex. Everything was booked and all was going well until the headlining band (TOO HOT) decided to call it a day, then to make matters worse the venue closed it's doors to independent promoters. Not put off by this huge setback I decided to look elsewhere for a venue and a headliner to put on stage.
The very best of International Ska, Live and Unleashed
Copyright of Skatownjay 2014