The seventh annual Los Angeles Skacore Invasion took place last Saturday in Silver Lake. The one day festival mainly featured Southern California bands, both amateur and veteran, but also played host to several prominent international acts, including Mexico's Sekta Core and Royal Club. The graffiti lined warehouse complex where it was held, called MadAve Grounds, accommodated about 1000 diehard ska fans.
Twenty bands were featured on two stages for this all-ages event, and no alcohol was sold, which might explain why there were only a few run-ins between fans and security. The smaller stage, Cage Platform, hosted the day's younger acts, and a metal cage actually served as a barrier between the bands and the audience. Skank circles frequently formed outside of it, impressive in their scope and wildness. Erratic body movements and light pushing would spring up as the music began, growing in intensity over the course of a song, but rarely would anyone dance aggressively to the point of causing physical harm to a fellow reveler.
Highlights from this stage included Ekolekua, Hub City Trash and Masturbo. Ekolekua, a five piece ensemble out of East LA, interpreted ska through electronic and metal lenses. Compton's Hub City Trash drew heavily from a garage rock influence and incorporated traditional Mexican touches. The stage's final act, Masturbo, delved into the realms of dub and psychedelia, nonetheless inducing the crowd to slam dance.
The main stage was located at the front of the warehouses' largest section, and fans packed the space to the brim. Around 5 PM, the crowd began to pick up for La Resistencia's performance, and it continued to grow in number and intensity until close.
A string of five acts followed, which left the crowd exhausted and nearly deaf. Royal Club of Mexico City, going strong since 1994, exploded into their set. Lead singer Rafael Montoya's use of accordion allowed them to mix traditional Mexican styles with hard core punk.
Riverside ska veterans Voodoo Glow Skulls had some sound issues at the beginning of their set, but front man Frank Casilla's lucha libre mask and hyped up stage presence compensated for any technical mishaps. Their cover of “I Wanna Be Like You” from The Jungle Book was raw yet tightly executed.
Mexico's Sekta Core was the most sonically powerful band of the night. Their use of heavily distorted guitar, accelerated rhythms and boisterous vocals moved the crowd to a frenzy. Skank and slam circles raged to their fullest, and lead singer Jorge Salcedo, who also performed earlier with Royal Club, yelled and barked into the microphone.
After Sektacore's performance, Raskahuele provided a nice contrast with its use of keyboards/organ and slower reggae rhythms. Their positive vibrations kept up the crowd's energy, which translated perfectly to the night's final act, Viernes 13. The L.A. natives received a loud ovation as they took the stage and immediately flew into their set, which was unfortunately shortened due to other bands going past their time allotment. “Rosa Sola” featured lightning speed guitar work, and they closed with crowd favorite “Johnny Pistolero.”
One of the most impressive aspects of Skacore Invasion was the level of energy and dedication shown by the audience. During any given set, multitudes sang along to every word. Many of these bands have developed loyal fan bases over the course of years, and it definitely showed.
Personal Bias: Ska was the soundtrack to my middle school years.
The Crowd: Young punkeros.