Inside Riverside’s local scene

By Michael Diggin

By Michael Diggin

Bicycle races rock!

Well, at least the Redlands Bicycle Classic definitely rocked hard with the help of some truly great bands at the Finish Line Party.

The Redlands Bicycle Classic was from March 31 to April 3, but the party kicked off on April 2 when 10 bands invaded the parking lot of The Boiler Room in Redlands.

The concert was in honor of the yearly race and if that’s what it takes to start a party like that, they should race every weekend.Three of the bands performing were The Skeletones, Voodoo Glow Skulls and Fishbone. Now that’s a hell of a lineup!

Right inside the entrance of the parking lot was a rock-climbing wall for those who wanted to get high and next to that was a grill serving up hot food for those who wanted to get stuffed.

I gravitated toward the microbrew garden where I was pleasantly surprised to find some selections from Stone Brewing Company, which is based in San Diego. One side of the stage was reserved for those over 21, the other side was for those under 21, with a barricade running right up to the stage and bisecting the parking lot. The setup, while different, was quite convenient for drinking and dancing. Except for the occasional spilled beer from vigorous dancing, that is. Many of those in attendance received unexpected beer showers, myself included. While I didn’t mind being covered in fermented goodness, I did lament the waste of someone’s brew, especially at $5 a cup.

While waiting for The Skeletones to set up the promoters treated the crowd to a lip-synching contest for a tricked out bicycle. After the contest some stand-up comedians took the stage. The last comic, on top of not being the least bit funny, actually seemed to get irritated when the band started to set up. He proceeded to interfere with the band’s sound check and to vilify the band members. I guess he thought it was funny, but the audience definitely didn’t and they made that fact abundantly clear.Once The Skeletones were allowed to take the stage, they immediately busted out their weapons of musical destruction and dropped a ska-fueled bomb on the eagerly awaiting audience.

As soon as the first notes ricocheted through the crowd, people started skanking and grooving and they didn’t stop until the ‘Tones burned their set down to the ground. The Skeletones even touched off some tribal warfare in the mosh pit, all unarmed combat of course.

The Skeletones played everything from classic ska standards through a range of songs showcasing the innovative music they have been making for almost 20 years. They even dragged a bunch of fans up on stage for a performance of the Secret Bonus Track from their self-titled CD.The Skeletones have been keeping the local music scene bumping while still touring all over the world, and Riverside is lucky to have them as their own hometown boys. The ‘Tones continue to make audiences shake their bones year after year. Dr. Bones has a prescription for Delirium and Every Time You Go Away you come back for your Very Own Paradise, you just can’t Make Up Your Mind, but the Skeletones will always Reach the Top. Long live Boneshaker!

The later slots on the bill are usually reserved for the more popular and established bands. All of the momentum the ‘Tones imparted to the crowd came to a screeching halt because of the subdued sound of the band Augustine. While Augustine did have an interesting sound and an interesting cello, the audience would have been much better served by having the Skeletones directly before Voodoo Glow Skulls and Fishbone, especially since all three have similar genres and a similar fan base.Augustine’s set did leave time for a good perusal of The Boiler Room itself. There was an outdoor bar set up in the patio area to serve the large turnout of people, as well as the main bar inside the building.

The Boiler Room had a cool atmosphere with bare brick walls and an attractive bar. The place is kind of long and skinny, with the bar itself taking up nearly half of the buildings width on the right side. While the room itself is kind of cozy, there is ample mingling room on the patio, which is equipped with outdoor heaters and a sweet fire pit.

Voodoo Glow Skulls came up next and lead singer Frank Casillas was ready to rumble, complete with his luchador mask. They locked the audience in a chokehold and beat them into submission with their signature brand of hard-hitting music. Their ska-punk-latin-hardcore arsenal spawned a free-for-all in the pit. It even got so large and rowdy that the barricade separating the age groups was demolished in the mayhem.

Voodoo Glow Skulls are another local Riverside band that have been exporting their sound worldwide. Voodoo Glow Skulls have been going strong for over 16 years and they still rock hardcore with an original sound and fresh songs.

Fishbone was the headliner for the night, and deservedly so. Fishbone is a legend in the underground music scene, and should be a legend in mainstream music. They have one of the most unique, genre-blending, indefinable styles to be found anywhere and they can drop a groove like no other. With over 20 years of music making experience they still have not become formulaic. They follow in no one’s footsteps, not even their own.

Fishbone played a fantastic set, with songs to skank to and lyrics to expand your mind. Lead singer Angelo Moore is a true poet, with lyrics ranging from biting social satire to fun off the wall frippery. Fishbone is RED HOT!

Fishbone has influenced more bands than I can count, including The Skeletones and Voodoo Glow Skulls, and it was great to see them all on one bill.

Now that’s what I call a show.