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Volume #3 (Radical Records)

By: Alex Steininger

The Oi!/Skampilation Volume #3 festival was a sweaty, fun, enjoyable, and unstoppable two-day party featuring numerous East Coast ska and oi! bands. The show occurred May 10 & 11, 1997, at the El 'N' Gee Club in New London, Connecticut. This CD is an overview of what went on during this festival.

The CD starts off with Dropkick Murphys' brutal assault of Oi! on "Road of the Righteous." The song is loud and powerful, combining fast, heavy guitars with equally fast vocals, and strong backing vocals as the core. The bass pounds away like your heart in a scary situation. All the while the drums are beating ferociously. "Third Man In," also by Dropkick Murphys, comes up next. Another brutal assault from these guys. These guys know how to play. I must say, the bass is what I love about these guys. They play it thick and meaty, bringing a lot of power and depth to the music. Radical Records' very own Inspector 7 also appears on this compilation with "Train Song" and "Hub City Stompers." The later of the two appears on Inspector 7's first full length, "The Infamous..." "Train Song" is an instrumental track that is fast enough not to be considered traditional, but has a very traditional feeling to it. The horns are bright and lively, while the guitar probably drove everyone at the El 'N' Gee into a dancing frenzy. The Trouble bring on a punk rock assault with "Saturday's Kids." The vocals are very rough, the guitars are sharp enough to cut through steel, and the rhythm section drives the band and the crowd into a very intense, wild frenzy. The most pit during this bands set must have been very lively. I wouldn't be surprised if someone broke something the way this band powers through their songs. After that intense song, we need something to dance too, right? Oh yes, and here comes "Checkerboard Charlie" with that song. The horns at the beginning are so tight and beautiful, you just start moving your feet, and the rest comes natural. Although an instrumental track, I'm sure the crowd went nuts and just danced and danced. As will the listener. Dis Con, and their song "I Hate the Media," brings the crowd once again into a punk rock/oi! slam dance. The vocals are very rough, and sound like a dead animal is caught in the guys throat. Some bands are great at sounding rough on the vocals, but not this band. It sounds horrible, and ruins the rest of the song. But the song is very loud and heavy, so I'm sure the crowd went mosh crazy, not even paying attention to the vocals or the lyrics. The Pilfers bring back the dancing and good times with "Shits Up In The Air." Moderately fast, the pace is just right for a nice skank. The vocals and crowd participation adds some extra feeling to the song. Next up is the recording of a spontaneous late-night performance when The Kingpins invited The Pilfers to the stage for all out ska mania! The horn work is delicious, and the dancing plentiful. This late night performance probably awoke everyone, and a big smile most likely flashed on everyone's face. This is truly a treat! Eastern Standard Time close out this CD with "Tick Tock." Some nice, instrumental ska to close out this CD. And let's not forget about the other bands that put out a lot of energy during those two nights. Other bands to appear on this compilation (or should I say Oi!/Skampilation?) include: the Unseen, Bomb Squadron, Squiggy, Pinkos, Average Suburbanites, Heidnik Stew, Skabba The Hut, Big Lick, The Mob Town Beat, and Johnny Too Bad & The Strikeouts.

The CD is one thing, but I'm sure the live show was something even more amazing. The CD does a good job of capturing a lot of the bands energy, but I'm sure the energy of that night could never be captured onto compact disc. Two nights, ten bands each night amounts to a lot more fun than twenty-three tracks. But as it stands, for those of us that couldn't attend (most likely distance between you and the show being the biggest problem) this CD is a fair representation of what occurred that night. I'll give this CD a B-.

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