Ska Band Party Boys of the Century to Play at New West Fest
Some musicians shy away from religiously adhering to specific conventions of genre, but for the Fort Collins group Party Boys Of The Century it is the opposite. It’s all about ska – the more ska, the better.
This local band with a growing group of followers will perform this Saturday, August 11 at 12:10 p.m. on the Mountain Ave. main stage at Bohemian Nights At New West Fest.
The roots of ska music go back 60 years to Jamaica, when its followers and musicians were called “rude boys.” Unlike our current meaning of rude, this meant that you were still valuable and had self-worth even when you couldn’t get a job – and even if you were shunned or disrespected by society as a whole.
In England in the 1970s and 1980s, ska referred to standing against racial inequality. As ska and ska-punk became increasingly popular in the 1990s and 2000s in the United States, its themes continued to speak to the struggle for and value of individuality within a sometimes unforgiving world.
The songs of Party Boys continue in the ska tradition of feel-good music with relatable lyrics. A distinguishing rhythmic feature of ska is its heavy accent on syncopation, which is highly conducive to dance. It also incorporates melodic horn parts and funny or insightful lyrics with just the “right amount of angry,” according to Party Boys saxophonist Elliott Schwebach (yes, full disclosure, he’s my son).
Perhaps most importantly, as New York ska musician King Django once described, “Ska makes people happy. You see them dancing, smiling, having a great time and they know the lyrics.”
Most of the time, the Party Boys bring their young fans to the floor to “skank,” an iconic form of dancing for ska and ska-punk.
And during one the band’s most popular songs, “Safety Net,” you’ll find even those not used to skanking starting to move. The lyrics of this song implore listeners to “jump,” and as the band jumps so does the audience.
The band’s roster includes ten members. All are from Colorado, most are from Fort Collins, and most attend or recently attended Colorado State University.
While in high school, guitarist (and occasional drummer) Matt Carroll and lead singer Andrew Raymond – also a trumpeter – started the group. They wrote music and lyrics, and had a few other musicians rotate through the group. Their first gig was a Fort Collins High School Talent Show.
Raymond, a year older than Carroll, went to CSU and started looking to grow the band. Carroll followed a year later. They reacquainted with other Fort Collins-based musicians also at CSU, who had attended different high schools. These musicians include saxophonist Elliott Schwebach, trumpeter Ian Schmidt and baritone saxophone Jerod Parker.
Drew Miller, an electric bass player who plays in five other bands, also joined Party Boys around this time, along with trombone player Nate Dantzler and drummer Tyler Diel.
Two of the newest band members who recently subbed for out-of-town band members are guitarist Ian Gregory and trumpeter Sam Iven.
You can listen to songs of Party Boys Of The Century, or follow them on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pbotc/app_204974879526524