The Underground at the Harrison Center for the Arts, 1505 N. Delaware St.
Monday, Feb. 18, 8 p.m., $10, all-ages
Indianapolis has never been what you might call a major center for ska music, with only a few noteworthy bands over the years, it’s never been a major destination on the touring circuit.
It’s all the more noteworthy, then, that ska legends The Toasters will be playing the Underground this Monday night, along with Fear Nuttin Band, Bloomington’s Prizzy Prizzy Please and Lafayette’s Green Room Rockers. Plus you get it up close and personal at the Harrison, one of the best and most underrated venues in town — small, slightly untidy and as intimate as your living room.
The Toasters are running strong in their 27th year; formed in 1981 as one of the first third-wave ska bands, they remain one of the longest-running American ska bands ever.
Mark Cooper, keyboardist/singer for the Green Room Rockers, says that opening for one of the biggest bands in the genre is both an honor and a blessing.
“Man, it makes me feel ridiculous, like I tricked everyone into letting us do this, like it’s some kind of weird accident,” Cooper says. “We want to bring the good stuff, we don’t want to embarrass Indianapolis. So I’m really stoked.
The Green Room Rockers started out as a bunch of Northwest Indiana guys influenced by punk, metal, The Temptations and Ray Charles, doing their best to emulate a form that was not exactly native to the area. They eventually began to bring their own contributions to that distinctive mix.
“People think reggae is something you can chill out to, but this is beer-drinking, move-your-ass reggae,” Cooper says. “I’m not relaxed up there! This is just another form of high-energy soul. People think ska is one thing from the 1990s, and we’re trying to change that perception. It’s a real, living music and we’re just trying to bring that out.”