Shorefront Park in Patchogue, NY was the place to be on Friday evening at the Great South Bay Music Festival. Not only was there a great line up of bands on three different stages for the entire weekend, but there was also a fair amount of local artisans and vendors and most importantly, local beer. The evening started out slow with the crowd trickling in anticipating the highlight of the evening, 311. However, some die-hard ska fans were there early to show their love for Oogee Wawa and the Green. Later in the evening, the legendary Mighty Mighty Bosstones made an appearance and transported the audience back to the 90’s. When 311 hit the stage they completely blew the audience away with fan favorites and astounding stage presence.
The first band I was able to catch was Oogee Wawa, a local Long Island based band with an energizing surfer-ska sound. Oogee Wawa is typically a four piece band consisting of two vocalists, a guitarist, bassist and drummer, however, this evening they had a guest keyboardist/trombone player as well as a saxophonist. The addition of the keyboard, trombone and saxophone gave Oogee Wawa an enveloping sound. The band brought on an enormous amount of contagious energy to the stage that swept the audience into a ska oblivion.
Shorefront Park was the perfect environment to listen to The Green, a 6-piece ensemble from Hawaii, who blends Hawaiian vibes with the sounds of roots reggae. The Green was a refreshing change from the highly energizing ska bands. The audience was able to simply slow down and enjoy the positive and calming energy that radiated off of the stage while The Green seamlessly transitioned from one song to another.
Long Island has a surprisingly solid base of ska fans who are truly dedicated to this genre of music. This was evident when the Mighty Mighty Bosstones exploded onto the stage with their brassy funk, and the entire audience began singing and dancing along with their tunes. This was my first experience seeing the Bosstones live and was quickly engrossed with their dress (in suits like classic rude boys), their energizing sound and the gentleman on stage who simply danced throughout their entire set. The Bosstones put on a solid show and I felt like we were all transported back to the 90’s for the hour that they played.
311 was the headliner for the Great South Bay Music Fest for Friday evening and of course by the time they hit the stage, the area was packed with an eager audience shouting the band name. Experiencing the performance of their first song of the evening with their slick bass riffs, seamless rapping and vocals and great stage presence, I knew that this band was going to put on an amazing show, and without a doubt they delivered. 311 played a lot of their big hits including “Amber,” “Come Original,” “Creatures,” and “Who’s Got the Herb?” They rocked the stage for a full hour and a half packed with energy.
The highlight of their performance was definitely the solos. At first, each musician had their chance to show off their skills with individual solos. Towards the end of the set, three different drum set-ups were brought onto the stage and each band member took their place behind a set to rock out as a drum ensemble. Last but not least, the lead singer of the band, Nick, announced that they have been playing together as a band for 25 years and they just released a box set of all of their greatest hits. After 25 years, this band still has the chemistry, energy and talent to put on an amazing live show.
Article and Photos: Jenna Petrone