Published on February 2nd, 2022

The Toasters

The Toasters are a band out of time. The group have been playing their brand of soul, pop and r&b-tinged ska since being founded in 1981 by Robert “Bucket” Hingley after seeing the Beat at New York’s old Roseland Ballroom. The Toasters have become a hometown institution with affiliated outfits including The New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble, Klingons and Pilfers and the legendary Moon Ska Records. The output of this outfit and their affiliated acts spans the entirety of ska, rocksteady and roots music, with far reaching tentacles across the globe. Basically, the Toasters have touched everyone somewhere, somehow.

The band have been consistently playing, touring and existing with a revolving door of musicians lending their talents and bringing fresh ideas to Hingley’s vision. Whereas the ’80s was a decade of upswing for ska bands, the ’90s saw an absolute explosion of ska — a third wave — that infiltrated almost every aspect of pop culture. Ska in the ’90s was flirting with all kinds of new sounds and blending of previously unthinkable genres. You want a ska-metal band? Here’s the Rudiments. Ska-pop? No Doubt! Silly bubble gum pop-punk ska? Reel Big Fish.

Bands like the Slackers, Hepcat and the Toasters favored a more foundational sound, heavy on rhythms and groove. The Toasters notched a minor hit with ”2 Tone Army,” which wound up as the theme song song for the Nickelodeon show “KaBlam!

Sadly, the Moon Ska label folded in 2004 after ska’s saturated third wave crested and ebbed. But where the bubble gum and clown car music purveyors that defined the neon checkerboard aesthetic of the ’90s had to close up shop, bands with a traditional perspective have can still have a career, tour and record. The Toasters in 2022 are are marking 40-plus years at the forefront of a scene where feet tapping and asses wagging is expected; don’t disappoint them.

The Toasters with Spred the Dub and No Name Ska Band play for 18 and over 8pm Friday, March 4 at Respectable Street in West Palm Beach, $15-$20. ~ Tim Moffatt