What began as a means of generating some cold, hard cash during the slow touring season, has now become a highly anticipated annual event featuring the best and brightest stars Stomp Records has to offer.
The Stomp All-Stars are ready, willing, and able to turn those cold winter nights into hot and steamy Ska satisfaction.
For the past five years a select grouping of Montreal ska royalty have been pleasing crowds with classic covers and timeless favourites at one of the Main’s famous hot spots, Le Swimming.
While in past years the eclectic venue on St. Laurent Blvd. has been filled to capacity during the All-Stars’ gigs, the bar has none the less remained the home for Stomp’s finest over the years. As Matt Collyer, lead singer of Montreal’s own Planet Smashers, and All-Stars alumnus, explains, the bar is the perfect atmosphere to accompany the warm rhythms of the group. “It’s not quite a bar and not quite a concert hall. It amounts to the best of both worlds, intimate enough to see the crowd and big enough to feel like a party. It’s a great venue for this kind of show.”
While the line-up alters from year to year, depending on touring and recording schedules, you can usually expect representation from most of the Montreal label’s best. The 2004 All-Stars line-up reads like a virtual who’s-who of past and present members of two of the biggest names in Canadian ska. This year the Stomp All-Stars include Lorraine Muller (Kingpins), Mike Gasselsdorfer (Kingpins), Daryl Meili (Kingpins), Chris “Raz” (Kingpins), Liam O’Neil (Kingpins), J.O. Begin (Planet Smashers), Josh Furman (Kingpins), Neil “Lonestar” Johnson (Planet Smashers) along with surprise special guests.
The rotating line-up of the Stomp All-Stars is not the only alteration that has been made to the event this year. Instead of playing four consecutive Thursdays in January at Le Swimming, the All-Stars of 2004 will only be making two appearances on Jan. 15 and Jan. 22.
While the dates may have been cut short, the all-stars certainly haven’t. Stomp is flying in, direct from California, a single shining star to fill the void. Chris Murray, formerly of Canadian ska legends King Apparatus and presently the one man acoustical wonder, will be appearing in an exclusive, one-night only, show in Montreal on Jan. 29.
With only two dates on the calendar this year, the Stomp All-Stars are an act that should not be passed up. Their blend of all-star talent combined with an “old-school” ska attitude will defrost even the coldest January night.
Catch the Stomp All-Stars at Le Swimming, 3643 St. Laurent Blvd., Jan. 15 and Jan. 22, and Chris Murray at Le Swimming, Jan. 29.