Less Than Jake Shares the Ska Fun on Stage

It’s not often that belly dancers and ska bands share a stage, but the pairing seemed perfectly normal at Less Than Jake’s show before a largely teenage crowd Thursday at the packed Palace.

The Gainesville, Fla., ska-core outfit, whose style displays rapid-fire horn melodies over punk-rock guitar riffs, plowed through more than an hour of its popular energizers, jokingly competing with, among other things, a silver-clad belly dancer, a half-naked contortionist and one very out-of-place Vegas diva in full-feathered headdress.

Though various members of the six-piece band tried politely to wave the extras off, most of the show was spent with the various guests literally taking center stage while the band kept tempo. Less Than Jake has a reputation for this kind of free-spirited behavior, whether it’s bringing fans onstage to sing along or tossing merchandise into the crowd between sets.

Through it all, Less Than Jake maintained a tight performance and was egged on for encores after finally claiming the stage for itself. The band--which also brightens its sets by playing versions of TV themes and songs from old musicals--doesn’t add anything noteworthy to the ska-core genre, but its winning ways onstage are hard to deny.


* Less Than Jake headlines tonight at the Big Bear Convention Center, 42900 Big Bear Blvd., Big Bear Lake, 7 p.m. $13. (909) 585-3000.