(photo from Oreskaband.com)
So it happened: That magical, transportive moment of which I have heard rumors.... the moment when you discover a band at South By Southwest that you have never before heard anyone mention, write about, whisper about, blog about.... ever. It's a fresh, new-to-you baby-band experience, and it is a moment glistening with the dew of an early summer's early morn.
I was in my hotel room, and I heard a rock & roll band, a punk band with a tight drummer and a strong but girlish voice leading it all. They were tight and fast and somewhat hooky, and I could tell they were putting on a show because the crowd was a-shouting and a-cheering right proper.
I grabbed my shit and was out the door and oh my, so fast, I was witnessing the Oreska band: six badass Japanese girls playing super-poppy ska-style punk — but really, just good rock & roll — intensely, without an ounce of coyness or the we-suck-but-we're-hot nonsense you get with some girl-bands. These girls were tight and fast and loud and hard, and also springy and light. Ska is much, much more difficult to play properly than I think most people realize, and they did. A big-ass trombone, a huge sax, trumpet, all of them singing together with such joy and sweat and fun, it kinda made me all misty. I remember what it was like when bands didn't think they were cool at all, and didn't have to act cool — they just were cool. With no buzz, and no hype, and no crapola.
They looked cool, too, wearing boarding school uniforms, complete with skinny black ties and rad shags.
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The trombonist was sort of the leader, and she addressed the crowd between songs in extremely broken English, with her hand on her heart: "I am... amazing. No — You are amazing. I... I love you."
I thought she'd start crying a little bit, too. Such joy. I really never knew ska could be bubblegum, but it totally can.
Bubblegum lovers of the world, unite!