Published Oct 15, 2014Less Than Jake nearly filled the Pyramid at their first Winnipeg show since September 2008, and it wasn't hard to see why. Over the years, the band's written some of the best ska-punk songs, and the diversity of the crowd was another reminder of their continued relevance. Yeah, Less Than Jake drew in people who were just as old as they are, if not older, but these guys can still attract lots of people who weren't even born when the Gainesville, Florida band formed in 1992.
The group kicked off their hour-and-a-half set strongly with "Sugar In Your Gas Tank," "Johnny Quest Thinks We're Sellouts" and "Automatic." All three tracks are off of 1996's Losing Streak and as the night wore on, the band continued to offer up its older material, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. 18 years later, it's safe to say those songs definitely have lasting power, and the band sounded amazing performing them in a live setting. Plus, the guys continue to be energetic, especially trombone player Buddy Schaub, who ran all over the stage getting the crowd pumped up. You can tell the band is still passionate and doing this because they genuinely want to be doing so.
Less Than Jake release a new record, See the Light, last year and played three new songs, which went over well with the crowd. The rest was mostly dedicated to tunes from Losing Streak and Hello Rockview, with some choice cuts from other records making an appearance. Hearing "Look What Happened" just before the encore was really cool, probably because of the huge sing-along. Banter was another big part of the show — they seemed to stop between almost every song to tell the crowd something, usually something goofy or related to Winnipeg. They fired a confetti cannon during "All My Best Friends are Metalheads."
At one point, bassist/vocalist Roger Lima said they were there to make memories, and they worked hard to do just that, bringing extra fun and energy the guys to their songs. The night was made particularly special for a guy named Mark and the rest of his bachelor party, who came on stage to help them sing "How's My Driving Doug Hastings?" The set was basically a non-stop party, and it's safe to say that Winnipeggers will remember this show for a very long time, even if they've been able to catch the band previously.
Opening duties went to Big D and the Kids Table, another American ska-punk band that formed back in the '90s. They kicked off their set with a batch of songs that included "Shining On," David McWane proving a very energetic front man all the while. Mid-set, they actually turned into an Operation Ivy cover band by launching into "Bombshell," "Unity" and more before returning to original songs. It was unexpected, but not unwelcome — Operation Ivy rules and Big D did the songs justice.
The Interrupters just released their self-titled debut through Hellcat in August and their set was composed of tunes such as "Liberty" and "Family." Frontwoman Aimee Interrupter sounds a lot like Brody Dalle during her Distillers days, and the band sounds like Rancid, so it's not hard to see how they won people over. Big D's McWane even helped them cover "Sound System" by Operation Ivy, making the set just a little more memorable. Overall, it was a great show from some veteran American bands that don't make it to the Canadian prairies very often.