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Pop Music Review

Bosstones Pump Out Same Old Ska, But Do It Skillfully

April 02, 2001|STEVE APPLEFORD

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones are not part of any fad, predating the ska revival by a full decade. Ska is a life commitment for these guys. But no band better represented that movement, influencing a dubious crowd of sound-alike pop acts while enjoying their own first radio hits and massive crowds.

Not surprisingly, the Bosstones outlived the fad, but it was clear Saturday at the Whisky that the band hasn't pushed the music any further. In the second of three nights at the club (part of a tour of smaller venues), the Boston-based group performed an hour set that included new songs indistinguishable from its past.

Yet within its limited repertoire, the outfit remains a tight, muscular unit with a bold confidence on stage not dependent on the slippery charm of the breakthrough hit "The Impression That I Get."

Dressed in sweat-drenched suits and ties, the band played a high-octane thumping often closer to polka than classic Jamaican ska, with the horn section offering more bluster than melody, though the band's version of Bob Marley's "Simmer Down" left room for a rare and worthwhile sax solo.

With a mostly young crowd cheering loudly, the Bosstones have an excited audience to depend on. Which may be the core of another ska movement waiting to happen.

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