Ska bands have certain sonic requirements. One of them is the peculiar high-pitch snap and ping of the snare drum — tuning it to where it almost sounds like a timbale. Then there’s the trebly slice of the guitar, slashing away at the all-important syncopated off-beat. There’s more: the horns, the bubbling bass, and so on.
The Toasters is a New York band that’s been making Jamaican-flavored ska since the early 1980s. Ska bands — like feminists — are discussed in terms of which “wave” they’re aligned with. It gets complicated. There are foundational individuals and movements, reactions, deviations, returns to form, etc. The Toasters, formed by Robert “Bucket” Hingley, a Brit who had moved to New York City over 35 years ago, embody that cross-pollinating, multi-racial, political aspect of ska, with the ethos of English punk and the sound of American soul infusing the music. The fiercely independent band is admirably anachronistic at this point, releasing new music on 7 inches, and mostly thumbing their nose at the music business of 2017. Ska is effervescent.
And the Toasters trot out that mix of pop-culture quotes (doing a cover of the “Get Smart” theme song) and topical tunes. They play the favorites for their loyal fans, but the Toasters also do what they want, which suits everyone.
The Toasters take the stage at Cafe Nine, 250 State St., New Haven, Sunday, June 25, at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 to $12. 203-789-8281 or cafenine.com.
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