Rocky Mountain Rebel Music (RMRM) is one of Victoria’s signature bands and thanks to SkaFest I was finally able to see them as they headlined the free show on Thursday night. Opening for them was Bachaco, a Spanish-influenced ska band from Miami. They warmed up the crowd and got them skanking hard.
(“Skanking” is the official dance of Ska. It is very easy to do:
Step 1: jump onto your right foot Step 2: kick out your left foot Step 3: jump onto your left foot Step 4: kick out your right foot Step 5: repeat
Got it? Now to really skank, punch the air in front of you and alternate the opposite punching hand to the foot you are kicking with. You got it! There are many variations of skanking; depending on the beat of the music it can be done slow or fast or even along with other fellow ska lovers like in a skanking conga-line)
Rocky Mountain Rebel Music then took the stage. The 10-piece band filled the stage literally and metaphorically with their amazing energy. RMRM are also the only ska band whom I have seen that include a didgeridoo in their music and which the lead singer Andrew Murgatroyd not only played but beat boxed into (WHAT?! Awesome.). RMRM played many upbeat punk-ska tunes including “Red Red Sky and “Someone to Love”. They also played sing-a-long songs like “Try So Hard” and “Man Down”.
Through out the set RMRM played songs like “The Cause, The Condition” that voiced their political opinions and at one point Murgatroyd spoke out directly about the much-debated proposed Embridge Pipeline.
Above all I took away a couple of things from Rocky Mountain’s show that night. First of all, it was great to see how much ad how evident it was that the members loved and appreciated SkaFest. It seemed like with every other break between songs came the familiar chanting of “SkaFest, SkaFest” or “When I say “Ska” y’all say “Fest” “. Murgatroyd mentioned during one point in the set that their sax player had been involved in the festival since the first year and that he himself had attended SkaFest as a fan and now was privileged enough to play on stage. I think another reason why it is dubbed the Festival of the People is because of all the different kinds of people who play at SkaFest; from young local bands to internationally acclaimed ska legends, from the long-running, rocksteady to the energetic and punk, all somehow fit into the week long event.
The second thing that stayed with me from the show, apart from finally getting to check-off seeing Rocky Mountain, was the sure energy and passion that this band has. I would definitely recommend checking them out the next time they play in your town.