Photos by Geoff Henao. This post was originally published by our affiliates at Chicago Music.
Chicago music isn’t just hip hop. For years, ska used to play a huge role in the city’s independent scene, especially during the early ’00s, coinciding with my high school tenure. Every month, my friends and I would either throw shows at our friend’s Mom’s gallery in Pilsen (props to Miss Tirabassi and the Humility Gallery) or attend a show somewhere in the city. National bands like Big D and the Kids Table, Mustard Plug, and Streetlight Manifesto would be big draws, but we were also very active in the local scene, thanks to Chicago ska bands like Random Outburst, Not Too Good, Deal’s Gone Bad, and more. As I grew older, ska didn’t captivate me the way it used to, but it stuck with a handful of my friends in Random Outburst.
Since that band’s breakup, two pivotal ska bands arose from its ashes: The Judgementals and Run and Punch. For the past three years, Run and Punch has been making a name for itself across the Midwest ska scene, culminating in the biggest step for the band’s relatively short existence to date: curating and running a day-long festival dedicated to ska: Midwest Ska Festival 2014. While the majority of the bands come from the Chicagoland area, other bands from the Midwest also played the festival, including Omaha’s The Bishops, Milwaukee’s Something To Do, and Indiana’s Green Room Rockers.
From the Latin reggae of Los Vicios de Papa to The Crombies’ 2-tone influenced jams, there was something for everybody in attendance Saturday night, with attendees skanking, moshing, dancing, and even crowdsurfing to the music. Check out some of my photos from the night below; for more photos, take a trip to my personal Flickr page.