Ska bands invade DeKalb over the weekend

By Jerene-Elise Nall

DeKALB | Chicago headliner Deals Gone Bad, along with local bands The Takeouts, Turbo Vamps!, and Danger Boy, proved Saturday night at the House Cafe that ska is not dead, it’s only changed its suit and gotten a new tie.

The Takeouts, a poppy ska ensemble, consisted most notably of a charismatic and adorable front man, a chick drummer (instant cool points, in my book), and a commendable brass section. They played a good mix of originals and covers, which included material by Operation Ivy and the Specials. They concluded their set with an original, “Sarah,” which did not disappoint.

As soon as I saw a skinny lead singer in tight jeans and a Casualties shirt, I knew what I was about to see was going to be delightfully abrasive. The Turbo Vamps!, who were more punk than ska, were loud, fast, and energetic. Although they kept their set relatively short, they managed to prime the crowd for remaining local band Danger Boy and headliner Deals Gone Bad.

A consistently amusing act with well-composed songs and talented members, Danger Boy didn’t fail to entertain. With catchy songs about robots, comic books, and obscure sketch comedies, it would have been difficult for any geeks in the audience (myself included in this demographic) not to get into their set.

And, of course, Deals Gone Bad had everyone on their feet and skanking. These veterans of ska played a set of powerful and soulful music that was an absolute joy to listen to. The band’s confidence, sense of humor, and authenticity, combined with the House’s atmosphere, made seeing them live feel as though the entire room, including the guys on stage, were old friends. MVP awards go to lead vocals and keyboard–these two really made Deals Gone Bad a show worth seeing.