By: Priscella Vega
The Mad Caddies The Constellation Room 2/6/14
The Mad Caddies are easily one of the most underrated ska acts in California. Granted they don't necessarily play ridiculously upbeat tracks like Reel Big Fish or deep life lyrics like Streetlight Manifesto, but the Caddies create ska music that's much more than guitar upstrokes and an added horn section.
At first, the gig didn't seem too promising as only a few fans trickled into the venue. It almost felt like the Constellation Room was too big of a venue compared to the flock of fans who headed to the larger room to check out Pepper.
It wasn't until the opening act performed where a throng of bodies had drastically thickened and the lack of fresh air was apparent. While the opening act didn't present anything new or exciting, they did amp up the crowd for the headliners.
The NorCal seven piece started their set last night with "Reflections." Almost immediately fans were grooving to their gumbo of funk and New Orleans jazz, aided by frontman Chuck Robertson's raspy croons. People weren't only skanking in the pit, fans where dancing two-tone style. There where power ballads, punk rock tracks, a handful of pirate-esque songs and some polka, too. The eclectic set offered plenty for new or old school fans to enjoy.
With little to no banter, the band ripped through their 19-song setlist, took fan requests and played an encore. While the band isn't known for an over-the-top stage performance, trombonist Eduardo Hernandez is a spectacle alone with his instrument. The man plays with so much soul, it's enthralling to see him groove in the small stage provided. There where moments where it looked as if fans near the front would get hit in the face as Hernandez performed.
The only major downer during the show was the presence of some drunk prick who didn't seem to understand he was annoying the band with his exaggerated hand signals or random shouting. At one point, the drunk guy caused a huge scene throughout two songs causing Hernandez to step in and remind the crowd to stop fighting and have a good time.
Despite the drunken fool, the band's energy and the crowd's enthusiasm made the show feel special and intimate. Their last song garnered the largest pit, sucking in almost everyone in the room for the last hurrah. The Mad Caddies thanked the crowd, walked off stage and promised their newest album "Dirty Rice" would be released sooner than later.
Critical Bias: I wasn't too impressed with The Mad Caddies the first time around when they were opening up for Less Than Jake, but after tonight I've realized the band thrives off of small, intimate shows.
The Crowd: Ska fans from the LA and OC scene.
Overheard in the Crowd: "FREEBIRD!"
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Random Notebook Dump: A girl got a birthday shoutout from Chuck.
Setlist: Reflections Backyard Leaving Without You Tired Bones Mary Melody Lay Your Head Down State of Mind Brand New Song Monkeys Weird Beard Silence Shot in the Dark Coyote Road Rash Drinking for 11 Airplane Contra -- No Hope Distress