All good things must come to an end and Essex University’s legendary ska band Ska2-D2 were set to perform their final gig. It was an emotional experience as the band had been a consistency throughout my time at University and their gigs were always fun and chaotic and brought out the community vibe in the University.
Pre-World Cup vibes were settling into the country and it was the end of the academic year at the University of Essex. For many this was the last time they would see each other, causing a weird nostalgic, yet sad vibe in the air. Fans were recounting their favourite Ska2-D2 memories.
For what was meant to be a party, Rob the Liar was a strange opener. His ‘antifolk’ songs were bleak, downbeat yet funny and inspiring. He affirmed that he didn’t care about getting signed and that he just liked to play music which caused the crowd to cheer. His music was truthful and he was clearly talented. Up next was Ska2-D2’s loveable rogue Conor Myles. It was great to see the man perform solo. His songs had a nice spring in its step and he hit all the right notes. Hearing his hit ‘Vampires’ was a treat and it was nice to sing with people one last time. Following Conor Myles it was time for some contemporary folk from Abigail The Brave. Her music was charming, different and clearly not from the same ilk as any of the other acts. As much as I thought she was good though, I just wanted to dance to Ska2-D2.
By the time the headliners were on everyone was ready for them. Being the last time people would get to experience Ska2-D2 live, the fans naturally went crazy. There was constant singing, moshing, dancing and energy from everyone in the venue. Singers/guitarists Ryan Rabey and Conor Myles swapped jobs throughout the set which kept things fresh. The band played a mixture of famous covers and originals that sadly will never be recorded onto an EP. Some of the covers included Madness‘ ‘One Step Beyond’, The Specials’ ‘Gangsters’ and ‘A Message to you Rudy’ and of course their legendary cover of Star Wars’ Cantina Band song from the Mos Eisley Cantina. The other legendary cover was System of a Down‘s ‘Chop Suey’, which had the whole venue moshing, even the band joined in. The band also played a new song, which was a cover of Gorillaz‘s ‘Clint Eastwood’. The originals were still great as usual, ‘Temperamental’ (written by drummer Rob Brown) was a pleasure to hear. The band’s sense of humour was still apparent as usual, they joked they were going to play a song by British indie act Scouting for Girls, but instead they played a 10 second grindcore song much to the crowd’s amusement and pleasure. Trombonist Ollie Morris remarked on how the band have had many ‘final shows’ before, “this will be our final show till the five year reunion, then the ten year reunion, then the fifteen year reunion, then the twenty year reunion. Then we’ll be dead.” But this most likely was going to be the definitive final gig for Ska2-D2.
The band ended their set with an original, ‘Emily’ (written by Ollie Morris). It sent the audience into a frenzy which singer (and sometimes guitarist) Ryan Rabey joined in with. As the final notes filled the venue, that was the end of the night. After hugs from the band to the audience, it was the end of Ska2-D2’s journey. Gentlemen, it has been a pleasure.
Ryan Rabey – Vocals/Guitars
Conor Myles – Guitar/Vocals
Mikolaj Stoma – Sax
Will Rowley – Trumpet
Ollie Morris – Trombone
Dan Dove-Green – Bass
Rob Brown – Drums