OC’s Ska Scene Goes On Tour With This Year’s Skacademy Awards

Soon, San Diego, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Fresno and Berkeley will get a taste of Orange County ska — and all the goofy puns that come along with it — when Pocket Entertainment’s third annual Skacademy Awards skank into the (ghost) towns for the first time ever. And No Doubt it’s going to be pure Madness. At least, that’s “The Impression That I Get.” Ok, we’ll stop.

Since February 2016, Pocket Entertainment has presented the event — also called the Oskars — as a way to pay homage to the scene known for two-tone sounds, too many horns, black-and-white checkered prints, unity, Tazy Phyllipz and Aaron Barrett.

“It started as just a funny idea to celebrate the community that has been so crucial to the Orange County music scene for years,” says Cameron Hallenbeck, co-owner of Pocket Entertainment. “Right off the bat we got buzz from people around wondering what the hell this event was and what they were nominated for. People would see that there was a category describing their friends and tag them to get them nominated. By also adding the state wide and international voting the Skacademy Awards has grown into an event that is fun, comical, and brings the community together.”

Prior to each date, fans can vote for contestants in categories like “Most Upstrokes,” “Horniest Horn Section,” “Biggest Ska Nerd,” “Most Checkered” and “Best Live Act.” All voting is done through www.pocketentertainment.com/skacademy. People can also write-in nominees.

And, like a typical awards show, the winners can be nonsensical. (Seriously, how did Pulp Fiction not win the Oscar for Best Picture in 1995?) Take last year’s Skacademy Award-winner of “Best Hair,” for example. Jeremy Mangubat, lead singer of OC-based ska band Stupid Flanders, took the cake, but don’t call him a “Sell Out.” The dude is bald.

Beginning with just three bands on the roster in its first year, the annual event in its sophomore year grew into a full-fledged two-day festival with more than 10 bands playing and sponsors like Ska Brewing.
Now, the show’s being taken “One Step Beyond,” on the production company’s first tour with stops at San Diego’s Soda Bar on Jan. 23, Fullerton’s Slidebar Rock + Roll Kitchen on Jan. 24, Las Vegas’ Backstage Bar on Jan. 25, Los Angeles’ Viper Room on Jan. 26, Fresno’s Fulton 55 on Jan. 27 and Berkeley’s 924 Gilman on Jan. 28.

Hallenbeck says Pocket Entertainment — which he runs with his girlfriend Whitney Dunkle and has put on hundreds of local shows in a variety of genres, as well as last year’s first-ever Skamic-Con with Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake — chose these cities for their first tour because they wanted to keep the shows somewhat local to Orange County but also branch out of their normal areas.

“We strongly believe that celebrating the genre needs to be spread to all parts of the country and hopefully someday the world,” Hallenbeck says. “We’ve worked a lot with Covert Booking in the past and knew we’d like to work with a renowned artist like The Toasters to get the message out there: Skank the Vote. There are bands all over the country and world that need exposure, and this is their chance to get their music out there as well as fans of the genre to find new artists.”

Each show will be headlined by The Toasters and supported by different acts each night like Half Past Two (which Hallenbeck plays lead guitar in), Codename: Rocky, Karate in the Garage and Oceanside Sound System.

And, of course, the shows will be filled with plays on words related to ska.
“You can’t spell ska-punk without ‘ska-pun,’ so if there’s an opportunity, or skapportunity if you will, we’ll take it,” Hallenbeck quips.

He says Pocket Entertainment’s overall goal with its first tour is to bring together ska fans from all over and make each night humorous and memorable.

“We’re expecting to make more connections and friends throughout California and Nevada and unify the community,” he says. “We’re also expecting some silliness, some rude boy attire and great music each night.”

For dates, tickets and more information about the tour, click here.

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