SKA: What is it exactly? We would like to think that we have the answer, but most still do not know the history. We’re not going to delve too much into it, but we will dive into one of the most entertaining bands in the ska genre – ska-core, Latin ska, tomato-tomato it all sounds good. A band from the Los Angeles area (Montebello to be exact) that is exciting to watch known as Matamoska!
When you think ska, you think it’s the byproduct of reggae, it’s actually the other way around. Coming from Jamaica and exported to the UK, and then to the OC, ska bands have been a big part of our lives. Some people know this and some are just finding this out.
The genre has brought us greats like The Specials, Madness, The English Beat, in the two-tone era, all captured in the documentary “Dance Craze.” In the States, we had The Untouchables and Fishbone! Then the ‘90s brought us Third Wave bands No Doubt, Reel Big Fish, Sublime, Operation Ivy / Rancid, Bosstones and Voodoo – Check out “Pick It Up! – Ska in ’90s” for more on these incredible bands.
And now, the Fourth Wave is here thanks to the likes of L.A.’s emerging genre icons – The Interrupters. In the ska-core community, the Bosstones and Voodoo reign kings! But something wickedly cool has come. Rabanes, Viernes 13, and Los Kung Fu Monkeys have turned heads, but it’s bands like Matamoska! that are turning the genre on its ear!
With a combination of two-tone, Third Wave and a sound of their own, Matamoska! has electrified audiences and created a signature sound that is distinctly theirs. Even though I am frequently at ska shows, I keep missing this band… until now.
Not long ago I was at the House of Blues in Anaheim to catch Manic Hispanic with The Aquabats! I saw the normal faces for an OC ska show, but I was very interested to see Matamoska!. I wanted to see for myself if the hype was warranted and I am very happy to report it was!
Their website adroitly describes them – “Formed during the infancy of Los Angeles’ ghetto Ska-Punk movement and considered “OG’s” of the current Ska movement, Matamoska! has been gaining notoriety in the underground ska scene since 2000 for their signature mix of styles, sounds, influences, and languages.”
But the wiki-like outline does not do them justice. The band is tight, boombastic and when you hear the difference eras that influence their sound, it is like ear candy for the soul.
The night I saw them live, they were engaged with the crowd, just like Big D and the Kids Table, they had a dynamic two-tone feel like The Specials. They were high energy with a funky feel like The English Beat, They could move like Reel Big Fish, and they had a Boingo-esque horn section. Plus, they crushed it like Voodoo and The Bosstones.
With Jose Padilla behind the mic and on guitar along side some bad-ass musicians. Esteban Flores was on keys, Eddy Rodrigues on bass, Ray Vargas on lead guitar, Robert Verdugo on tormbone, Ivan Lopez on trumpet, Jovan Loera tenor, AJ Acdan on alto and Lucas Jakobi behind the drum kit. Collectively the band is simply electrifying on stage. Matamoska! represents the best the genre has to offer. That night at the House of Blues the band featured Jose Padilla on keys,
Sure, we can try to categorize them and call them ska-core, or Latin ska, or Fourth Wave ska. Matamoska! is a very dynamic, entertaining, and talented band with solid hits like “Beer Goggles,” “El Jefe de Ska,” “De Verdad,” “M is for Murder,” “East LA,” “I Turned into a Martian,” and “Mario Bros Before Hoes.”
With a high standard for genre defining music, Matamoska! is a great example of how hard work – perseverance and not solely relying on god- gifted – talent will endear any band to the hearts and soul of a community that recognizes talent, and Matamoska! has proven they are the real deal.
May 19th is your next chance to catch this great band live at Catch One in Los Angeles.
at Catch One | Los Angeles
May 19th, 2023
This year is proving to be what we hoped it would be for the return of music as a whole, and Matamoska! should be at the top of your list of bands to check out this summer.