Big D and the Kids Table
October 22nd at Paradise Rock Club
By: Moin Khwaja
For 19 years, Big D and the Kids Table have been putting on the spookiest ska show in the Boston area. Every year, 800 people in different costumes come down to the Paradise for a night of stomp and stroll. This year’s openers for Big D were Nick and the Adversaries, OC45, and A Wilhelm Scream.
Being Boston residents, Big D has had a huge connection with the music community here, from attending Berklee College of Music to working and putting shows on at the Paradise. Featuring an ever changing line-up, as most ska bands do, the band has always given their hometown great shows year after year. The Halloween show started only three years after their inception in 1995, growing from house shows to bigger and bigger venues to where it is now.
That night, I was only able to catch A Wilhelm Scream. From New Bedford, MA, these guys brought hardcore music to the Paradise off their newest album, Partycrasher, and some tracks off their older records. Dressed up in green costumes, they rocked hard as a pit opened up to their songs “Boat Builders” and “The King is Dead”. At the end of their set, the band invited the crowd to their restaurant in New Bedford for a cozy show the next evening.
As soon as the lights went down, three ghostly figures emerged from the right side of the stage. The “Doped up Dollies,” came out hand in hand as ghouls led by one of the crew,. They took their position on the right side of the stage as Big D emerged. Covered in all black and wearing rabbit masks, the darkness of the venue and the low, red backlighting made this a very eerie experience and brought a shiver down my spine. That eeriness quickly disappeared when the band began playing their signature stroll ska music. A pit quickly emerged and consumed most of the dance floor in front of the band. Frontman Dave McWane brings so much energy with his fast rap style of singing and, after playing a selection of their signature ska, told the crowd to get ready for the “other side of the coin,” referring to the two types of music they play. While their stroll is very upbeat and reggae based, their punk sound is very guitar heavy with loud lyrics. Within a moment they began playing “Lax,” a song off their album How It Goes. The crowd went insane as every fan in the room screamed the lyrics and a pit erupted, swallowing me and everyone on the floor into it. The band threw off their masks and introduced the Doped up Dollies and played three songs that featured them as vocalists. The band from there on switched between their slower and faster songs such as “My Girlfriend Is On Drugs” and “Bender.” They also announced during their set that they are recording a new album in January, and to expect good things from it.
The encore ended with their top track “Shining On,” which brought all the fans together in singing the last lines of the show. The show ended with a heartfelt thank you from Dave thanking everyone for coming out year after year. Exiting the venue to 50° air was a much-needed breather, as seeing them for the third time was just as exhilarating as the first time I saw them at Paradise four years ago. So much has changed for me since then, but Big D and the Kids table music hasn’t changed at all. I greatly await the 20th Halloween show and hope to see you at it!