Ska music may not seem like a natural addition to the list of stereotypical St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, but Mike Lewis thinks the combination makes perfect sense.
“Sweetleaf shows have a reputation for being kind of a rowdy good time and so does St. Paddy’s Day,” he laughs over the phone, “so I think the combination is gonna make for a real crazy fun night.”
Lewis is the drummer for Sweetleaf, one of the three BC-based Ska bands that will be sharing the Lucky Bar stage on the night of Mar. 17th.
Joining Sweetleaf is the Party on High Street and Railtown Sound System, from Victoria and Vancouver respectively, with all three bands eager to prove that you don’t need traditional Irish music to celebrate a traditionally Irish holiday.
“As far as finding some sort of link between Irish culture and west coast-hinged Caribbean music,” Lewis says, “it’s a little bit of a weird marriage.”
Dane Roberts is the Artistic Director at the Victoria BC Ska Society, the company behind the popular summer festival SkaFest and the organizers of the St. Patrick’s Day show. To him, the two cultures were made for one another.
“It’s real party music,” Roberts says. “It just fits so well.”
While it may also seem strange that this fusion is being hosted at a dive bar-esque club better known for its indie rock gigs, Roberts is quick to point out that Lucky Bar has always been a great place for first-time Ska listeners to discover how much they enjoy the genre.
“A lot of people are coming, they want to find something good to do, and it’s a Friday night,” Roberts says. “They see that [the bar is] busy, they see the energy… they go in, then they’re hooked. They love it.”
Because at the end of the day, there is one important unifying thread between St. Patrick’s Day and Ska music — they’re both about having fun.
“I think people get loose at Sweatleaf shows,” says Lewis, “but [for this show] they might be getting even looser.”
Nick Brandle, percussionist and vocalist in the band, agrees wholeheartedly.
“I’m just stoked that everyone’s gonna get smashed.”