CLEARFIELD – A different genre of music rocked the grandstand stage Saturday night with Less Than Jake’s blend of ska and punk from Gainesville, Fla. The band was the show’s headliner and drew fans from hours away.
Liotta, a band out of Pittsburgh, was the opening act. Their style and stage presence appeared to be just getting warmed up when their four-song set ended. Their opener gave the growing crowd a taste of what was to come.
As Liotta, was clearing the stage . . . a buzz fell upon the crowd. The die-hards talked to the concertgoers who really knew nothing of Less Than Jake, and the anticipation arose among them all.
Well, to be blunt . . . Less Than Jake hit the stage and with that expectant sound. That sound grabs a hold of you and just makes you want to move. Chris Demakes (vocals/guitar) took center stage and with Roger Manganelli (vocals/bass) to his right, and the Less Than Jake sound instantly brought the fair crowd to life. The set-list kicked off with “Automatic” and offered a taste of what was to come.
Their second song was more traditional in sound of rock with hints of ska, and at this point, you have difficulty keeping track of the stage. The band members moved around overtaking the whole stage and interacting with the crowd.
Buddy Schaub (trombone) stayed at the front of the stage to engage fans during the breaks from playing. Vinnie Fiorello (drums/ lyricist) was well-hidden behind his kit but kept the show moving even while Demakes talked between songs. Peter “JR” Wasilewski (sax) was a treat for fans, as his antics were less subdued, yet held much humor and entertainment value.
As night fell, the obvious revealed itself at the grandstand. The stage was dressed in the basics – the band and their gear. The stage had the basic lights and truly that’s all it needed. This band was not here to show the crowd a dazzling light show with super effects. This band was there to perform, and that they did from the first song to ending their set with “Gainesville Rock City.”
As for the encore, it can’t really be put into words with the entire show being non-stop incredible.
Editor’s Note: This concert review was written by Mark Kolash. He captured the entire show with his camera. His images were numerous and, in his words, portray the energy of Less Than Jake. Kolash lets his images be his words and hopes you enjoy the slide show below.
(All photos by Mark Kolash)