The Slackers, The Abruptors

Event details

The Slackers, The Abruptors
Tue, Apr 25 Show: 8:00 pm (Doors: 7:00 pm )
Tuesday, April 25
Doors 7pm / Show 8pm
$20 adv / $25 dos
All Ages
+ $3 at door if under 21

The Slackers

The Abruptors

For 31 years, the NYC-based and critically
acclaimed Slackers have been touring the world
with their blend of Ska, Reggae, and Soul.
Since 1991, the Slackers have released fifteen albums and
countless singles, while their 1000s of live performances
feed their fans with energetic sets of ecstatic music.
The press state that the Slackers are “the best ska band in
the world” (Rude International), “the pick of the US crop”
(Metal Hammer), “the sound of New York’ (New York
Times), “is about as close to perfect as it gets” (Ink 19),
and “one of the best bands in the United States” (
In April 2022, The Slackers released a new album, “Dont
Let The Sunlight Fool Ya” (Pirates Press) which quickly
shot to the top of the US billboard charts. This is the first
time that a Slackers’ album has charted! Ironically after 30
years as a band, this qualified them as a Billboard ‘new
artist.’ The Washington Post noted that the Slackers
“remain at the top of their game.”
The chart topping performance of “Dont Let The Sunlight
Fool Ya” capped a 2 year comeback of the Slackers. When
Covid stopped live shows in 2020, the Slackers pivoted to
livestreams and made 5 full band concerts that were
broadcast internationally. After the shows, they stayed in
the studio and recorded the tunes that became Sunlight.
Returning to live gigging in the 2nd half of 2021, the band
celebrated their 30th anniversary with 30 shows across
the United States and Canada.
In 2022, the Slackers have 90 shows booked in the United
States, Canada, UK, and Europe. At 31 years old, the band
has been renewed and is looking to grow their cult
following into its 4th decade.


The Slackers
The Slackers have spreading their gospel of “Jamaican Rock N Roll” for 21 years
now. While they have been influenced, and even personally taught by Jamaican
ska/reggae originators, like the Skatalites and the Upsetters (Original backing band
for the Wailers) they play it with a decidedly American accent. Basically, this band is
equally appreciative of old blues, country, 60s soul, rock, and Rnb as it is of reggae,
rocksteady, dub, and Ska. It is as if the Rolling Stones or the Yardbirds had grown
up on Bob Marley as well as Muddy Waters.Smashing the stereotypes of “ska” as happy,uptempo, and shallow music, the
Slackers play with an aggressive edge and their songs veer in themes from the
personal to the political. Back in 1996, the NY Times declared the Slackers to be
part of “the sound of New York”, a mantle they haven’t given up since. Ten years
later, Alternative Nation stated that their music is "protest music made for dim,
sweaty basements, The Slackers would sound at home supporting Rancid as well as
some grizzled New Orleans electric blues trio." The LA Weekly wrote about, “their
unfettered energy, unerring skankability, and playful anger.”
The band basically divides its recorded output into 2 categories. First of are their
“albums”, which are as sax player, Dave Hillyard, says with just a hint of his typical
sarcasm, “these are where we try to take over the universe.” This steady stream
includes Better Late Than Never (1996), Red Light (1997), The Question
(1998), Wasted Days (2001), Close My Eyes (2003), Peculiar (2006), Self
Medication (2008), and The Great Rocksteady Swindle (2010).
The Great Rocksteady Swindle is a songwriting tour de force with all band
members contributing to its gutsy muscular sound. “Mr. Tragedy” references the
Specials while “Boll Weevil” references Sam Sham & the Pharaohs. “Cheated”
seethes with bitterness while “Thank You” offers the possibility of hope. As the band
has matured you can’t even tell anymore where the rock begins and the reggae
ends, its become The Slackers. As band leader, Vic Ruggiero says, “we wanted to do
an album that feels real. You can hear the band punching its way through.”
Not content with letting the record industry dictate their output schedule, the band
has also put out numerous eclectic and whimsical albums following their different
interests of the moment. Slackers & Friends (2002) saw the band performing with
some of their idols like The Congos, the late Glen Adams of the Upsetters, Cornell
Campbell, and Doreen Schaeffer. International War Criminal EP (2004) was a
bitter broadside against the Bush Administration. Afternoon in Dub (2005) is pure
reggae bliss. Boss Harmony Sessions (2007) was a collaboration with DJ Boss
Harmony who arranged and refiltered tracks in unorthodox ways. Lost & Found
(2009) is a compilation of forgotten tracks, alternate versions, and remakes from the
bands recording vaults.
Their most recent release, The Radio, is a change of pace, being their first all cover
album. This was the brainchild of Whatevski Records’ mogul, Tom Gibbons, who had
an idea of a fantasy old school FM radio station where all the songs were played by
the Slackers. The result is creative re-workings of Atttitude (Misfits), Bitch (Rolling
Stones), The Letter (Box Tops) amongst others. The most startling track was an
especially tender reggae ballad version of a track Madonna made famous, ‘Like a
Virgin.’ As Hillyard explains, “cover records have a bad rep in the Ska world, we
wanted to avoid this and find songs we could be true to. Our goal was to make
better versions than the original song. We didn’t want something cute…oh look a
reggae version y’know? With ‘Like a Virgin’, Vic is able to live the song and takes
away all the cute bubble gum delivery of the original and is able to get to the deeper
meaning of the lyrics.”
The band has also put out 3 live albums; Live At Ernestos (2000), Upsetting
Ernestos (2005), Slack In Japan (2005), and 2 DVDs; The Slackers: A
Documentary (2007) and Live at the Flamingo Cantina (2009).
More recently, the band has started releasing their live concerts through and has plans for releasing more compilations digitally.
The Abruptors