Bali!

It was great to finally play at the Bali Spirit Festival where the joyful, community essence of the orchestra matched the vibe of this magical gathering.

The Experience:

The venue was decorated like a rainforest wonderland and we decided to get the party started by walking through the crowd to get to the stage.

The crowd felt the energy of this cultural connection with the band performing ‘Escher”, a song written for the orchestra by bandleader Nicky bomba and Punnu. The unmistakable Indian influence with the joyous energy of Ska was a show stopper.

The celebration of explosive horn lines, drum solos, random dance moves, crowd chanting along with the big band sound in this tropical setting was a pleasure to experience. We’d like to thank all the people that helped make this happen.

Bali …. we love you!

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Aston is the Man – MSO release

On hearing of the passing of Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett, we dug into our archives of unreleased material and resurrected a song we wrote about the man himself some years back. 

For Aston:

His influence in the reggae world is undeniable. The track was recorded at Transmitter Studios in Freeburgh with new vocals by Pat Powell…that signature sound! A couple of modified horn arrangements and some fairy dust percussion and the song was ready to have a new life. Aston is still the man!

 

Hope you like it. Bless Up !.

 

 

Aston …. we love you!

 

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¡MEXICO!

Well, it’s been a minute but we had some great adventures during our 20-year anniversary celebrations. Not least last year’s trip to Mexico to headline the Global Ska festival.

After years of trying to get MSO over to Mexico the stars finally aligned and we packed our bags for Mexico City. Big thanks to Deals Olan, maestro of the Global Ska festival and frontman of the wonderful Out Of Control Army for having the persistence and faith to bring us over.

Day One: On landing in Mexico City, we were met with the great hospitality of the super supportive Mexico Ska community. First stop, food! The fine people of KuKulKan Yucatan restaurant made us feel very welcome with a delicious Yacateca spread.

With a night to acclimatise, we descended on the leafy neighbourhood of Condesa, once again sampling the various culinary delights and some out there tuning from a local busker. 

Day Two: It was time to meet the musicians who would be joining us for the Global Ska show. Deals has a venue called Gato Calavera which serves as a headquarters for the ska community in CDMX. Encompassing three levels Gato Calavera has 2 x live performance spaces, Rehearsal rooms and clothing retailers specialising in ska/punk/mod/reggae subculture. Pretty cool.

We rehearsed most of the afternoon with our Mexican musicians Paco, Eric (trombones), Siad (trumpet), Beto (baritone), Chinwi (Tenor), John (alto) and Adrian (percussion). All fantastic players and top-notch individuals! To our surprise, there was a Global Ska Pre-Festival party that evening and the size, strength and dedication of the ska community in Mexico soon became very clear. What a vibe!

Day Three: show day! After a quick breakfast of chilaquiles at our local joint Chilakillers! We hopped in the van for an early sound check at the Pepsi Centre. It was a bit of a military operation getting through security but finally, we were at the venue, and the size of the event became happily apparent. This was a huge deal and it reinforces the power of Ska in this country. Boomshakalaka!

Soundcheck was a breeze (once we found Rodrigo a guitar) and the songs sounded strong. 

Backstage pre-performance was a round-robin of group photos, interviews, setlist calibrations, badge exchanges and mutual admiration of Ska attire.

Showtime! The lights dimmed and we started our Katoomba riff with a roar from the audience. There was an amazing surge of beaming energy when the full force of the orchestra kicked in. Lygon st. Meltdown proved they really knew our songs well and were singing along in full flight. What a buzz. It was great to present our unique show and share a bit of the magic that has catapulted this beast into an international touring act. Get Smart took the gig to a whole other level when the crowd went ballistic! We could have played all night but our set finished and we walked off in complete jubilation. Rest assured, backstage turned into a party of its own with margarita waiters and authentic tamales laid on lovingly. Mexico!

Day Four: The party continued well into the night for many with the morning finding happy wobbly souls stumbling into breakfast. We were treated to street singers dressed in Lucha Libre masks and wearing Stetsons singing heartfelt folk songs. The colour, the energy, the friendships have left a beautiful impression on us. That evening we had a little get-together with our main man Deals with the idea of doing it all again.

Mexico …. we love you!

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