November 15th, 2002
THE SLACKERS, The Matches, Hebro, The Phenomenauts, and Buffalo Soldier
Ashkenaz, Berkeley

I had never been to Ashkenaz before and I was kind of curious to see what it would be like. My friend Amber and I arrived and were sort of disappointed to have to wait for a little while, but the staff was nice and I’ve seen worse venues. (cough cough imusicast cough) When we got inside, my ears were graced with Bob Marley. That was the basic overall vibe of the evening: it was pretty chill.
The first band up was a four-piece reggae band from the east bay called Hebro. They had the upright bass goin on, kazoos and a “g’foot” which sounded the equivalent of a bass drum. I rarely see reggae bands, so I was pretty stoked about it. There were a lot of people skankin and dancing, everyone seemed to be into them (and I don’t blame them) and a lot of people watching them, no one was really sitting and not watching them.
The Matches:
Although this was the first time I’ve seen the Matches since they changed their name from “The Locals,” none of their normal energy and style was absent. As always, they were bouncing around the stage, all over the place with loads of energy, like 6 year olds on caffeine and sugar which, I think, helps the crowd get into their performance a lot more. They played some new songs and some old songs and they had a 2-song “demo” out for free, probably to help get their new name out.
The Phenomenauts:
Maybe it was just me, but I thought that the Phenomenauts didn’t play as well as they usually do. It could just be me comparing them to the other bands which I was really happy with b/c I don’t see reggae bands often enough, and the Matches always make me happy, but the Phenomenauts usually have a lot more energy and stage presence. Regardless, they were still pretty good, how could the Phenomenauts not be?
Buffalo Soldier:
I had a feeling I would like this band b/c of their name and I was satisfied. They were really well put together and I had a lot of fun watching them. People were actually dancing, not just bobbin their heads and everything which was awesome. They sang a lot about Rastafari and One Love and Unity and everything, which never seems to be played out, maybe because it hasn’t fully been achieved yet. I would definitely go see them again. I wish I would have bought their CD, but I figured I could just buy it online or something. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find their website, so if anyone knows it or can find it, I would definitely appreciate it if you could e-mail me and let me know. Thanks!
Ok, the slackers were the whole reason I went to this show. They are unbelievable. Being as they’re from NYC, and they don’t tour the west coast that often, I could not pass up the chance of seeing them. They delivered a really good set. They played songs from most, if not all of their CDs, so there was a nice variety. I’m at a loss for words to tell you how good they are. Surprisingly, not a lot of people who I ask know who they are, but I saw a lot of people in the crowd singing along which was really hip. All I can really say is: next time you are anywhere near seeing the Slackers, don’t pass up the chance!! and if that doesn’t happen, just go out and buy any one of their CDs.

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