Less Than Jake
Tonight @ Miller Lite Oasis, Summerfest, 10 p.m.
Jun. 27, 2010
Of the third wave ska bands that reached mainstream success, they were one of the only pure products of the movement to achieve mainstream success. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones were a holdover from 1980s attempts at ska; No Doubt was a hoax. And while both might be seminal bands of Less Than Jake-era ska, Less Than Jake was the prototype band. They were one of the early adopters of the pop-punk meets horns and swing-beats style that defined ska at the end of the millennium. The trend didn’t stick—it’s probably time to give up hope that those checkered Vans are going to come back into vogue—but its appeal is extremely easy to understand. More than a decade after their breakthrough, Less Than Jake still plays the type of music that’s perfect for an outdoor gathering on a summer day. It’s fun, it’s easy, it’s extremely danceable and, unlike swing music, it’s not confined by a rigid historic tradition.