Swim Team starts with a bang

Ska fans, ranging in age from young teenagers to their grandparents' generation, danced at the Observatory in Santa Ana on Saturday as Save the Swim Team performed a short set of original songs and covers.

The Huntington Beach band opened up for ska favorites the Voodoo Glow Skulls and Buck-O-Nine. Despite being the first on the bill for the evening, Save the Swim Team was not a typical opening band.

Throughout its set, Save the Swim Team inspired skank-dancing pits, and many fans in the crowd sang along, showing that the band, which has been together for five years, has a strong fanbase.

Opening with "Miss Fortune," Save the Swim Team showed off a unique musical sound. Unlike many ska bands, which typically fuse sounds of reggae and punk, Save the Swim Team also includes something a little out of the ordinary into the mix — hardcore music.

Nestled in with Save the Swim Team's danceable ska beats are also breakdowns and screams, which sometimes come as a surprise in the songs.

"Words to Live By," for example, was introduced by vocalist Richie Martin telling the crowd that he hopes they're "all ready to pick it up and take it off." The number began with Martin's voice accompanied only by a guitar; then the song progressed into a danceable ska tune followed by a hardcore breakdown.

"Out of Hand," which sounds like early 1990s ska, inspired fans to skank, a form of dancing to ska. However, the song also included hardcore sounds, with screams by bassist Max Klasky.

Although the inclusion of breakdowns may come as a surprise to Save the Swim Team first-timers, the band's show veterans know this is part of the band's unique sound.

While Save the Swim Team does include other genres, like hardcore and pop-punk, into its sound, the band told the Independent in an interview that it classifies itself as ska.

Staying true to its ska roots, Save the Swim Team performed a cover of Slapstick's "There's a Metalhead in the Parking Lot," which had many in the crowd dancing and singing along.

Save the Swim Team ended its set with "Whitman," a song that blended hardcore, emo and ska.

Despite Save the Swim Team's unique blend of genres, the sound was not off-putting. Instead, it helped the band stand out from the other two-tone ska bands Saturday night.

For more information about Save the Swim Team, visit Facebook.com/SavetheSwimTeam.

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