Friday, May 11, 2012

Big D and The Kids Table - Live At Toads Place

by Keelan Freitag

In a drunken blur I stopped and stood still inside of Toad's Place.

Around me skankers, nerds and punks softly pushed their shoulders into each other while I felt a smile creep onto my face.
"This is the friendliest moshpit I've ever been in," I said to no one, and then proceed to lift a knee to meet my opposite elbow, joining my amiable strangers for the rest of Big D and The Kids Table's set.

Its called skanking, a dance move that young whippersnappers use as a form of youthful rebellion.  Everyone has their own way of doing it.  My friend, who curls his body up and touches knee to elbow, knee to elbow, or the cute girl next to me, daintily throwing her toes out and flailing her arms, or even the lead singer of Big D... no one could help themselves.  It's contagious, and by the end of the night, everyone was skanking in their own style.

Big D and The Kid's Table are a ska septet hailing from Berklee College of Music in Boston.  Their raw style blends the early 90s punk revolution and the late 90s pop-ska explosion with just a hint of hardcore.  The band has slowly built up a large following, having opened for thousands of shows, headlining 2 tours and playing together for over 2 decades. Their most recent tour was stopped short due to lead singer Dave McWane's battle with thyroid cancer.  He announced himself cancer free last month and the band has decided to make up the missed tour venues.

McWane obviously felt happy to be back, as he belted out "Noise Complaint" and "Shining On", two of the bands most popular tracks.  Trumpet player Chris Lucca and Saxman Ryan O'Conner proved themselves as they remained in tune while adding subtle riffs; a challenging task made look easy.

Toad's place is a notoriously intimate venue and in my opinion, one of the best places you could ever see a show.  The smaller size makes even a small crowd of a couple hundred seem like sardines in a crushed tin box.  The bar is tucked into a corner, leaving the creaky wooden floorboards open to skankers, moshers and spazzers.

Unfortunately the audience of a couple hundred took a while to get energized.  The opening bands, whose style and energy matched Big D's, were not met with the expected zeal.  Most in the audience bobbed their heads and bent their knees to the upbeats, but many were seen standing idly by.

The show may have packed a punch, but had far too many 'still-standers' and 'wall-leaners'.  Those of us that just wanted to skank the night away had a blast.

Dave McWane

Big D will continue touring until the end of July with Goldfinger and Reel Big Fish.