Chawalaleng: Ska band, Pilfers, rock Founders Hall
By biconews On 15 Feb, 2000 At 05:00 AM | Categorized As Archives | With 0 Comments

By Abe Scarr
Guest Writer

Early on in Haverford’s the Pilfers concert two Saturdays ago, it was clear that the audience was not going to leave the show unscathed.

“Simple sh_t” repeated vocalist Coolie Ranx, as he taught the audience the chorus to “Agua,” the opening track on Chawalaleng, the Pilfers’ latest album: “Agua! Deepa! Deepa! Simple sh_t.”

It was not the only lesson taught by Ranx, who entered the crowd at Founders Great Hall several times to give dancing tips to a crowd that, well, needed them.

Haverford’s own Blocking Consensus opened for the Pilfers, showing increasing range by experimenting with reggae in their new song “Under Pressure.”

They also delivered two classic ska songs as well as several of their originals, which their devoted and excited fans jubilantly got down to.

Their performance was, as always, accented by eclectic solos and jamming, reflecting the diverse musical traditions from which the members of the band come from.

Near the end of their set, vocalist Brady McCartney removed one shirt, revealing a Pilfers shirt underneath, and announced his transformation at that point of the show into a Pilfers fan. The crowd followed his lead.

After taking the stage, the Pilfers quickly began the set in their unique style, captured well on their independently released self-titled first album.

Their sound could generally be labeled as ska - however, the term does not accurately capture the range of their influences, which range from reggae and rocksteady rhythms provided by bassist Anna Milat-Meyer and drummer James Blanck, to guitarist Nick Bacon’s distorted rifts that hint of punk.

The sound is completed by the trombone of Vinny Nobile, who appeared on stage with a striped shirt and bushy eyebrows reminiscent of a great pilferer of pop culture, the Hamburgler [where to pilfer means to steal surreptitiously in small amounts].

If you’ve never seen a live ska trombonist, you’re missing out on good sounds and good visions.

Nigerian born lead vocalist Ranx is perhaps the most dynamic aspect of the performance. Always moving, both on and off offstage, he delivered his vocals with a smooth, deep voice and a hint of patois he picked up in Jamaica.

As always, he sold the group’s merchandise before and after the show, giving fans a chance to chat with him.

After the Pilfers ended their set, the crowd demanded an encore and was promptly given one.

It began with a slowed down reggae version of “Jolly Jolly Jolly” off their first album that changed tempo subtlety but effectively, and ended with “Roller Coaster,” off that album, as well.

Overall, it was a good (and free) chance to see an exciting band quickly building a large fan base on the East Coast that I expect will soon be gaining more exposure.

Based out of New York, the Pilfers play in Philadelphia from time to time, and should be back around to play in the city later this semester. Go and have a good time (simple sh_t).

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