Not The Same, the breakthrough single from Bodyjar’s 2000 release, How It Works will always hold a place in my heart. While the band rose to become a household name on the back of their presence on the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 soundtrack, I first heard Not The Same when passing my childhood living, where my older brother, whom had hijacked the tv, was running a copy of an old surfing video, through our dated JVC VCR player.
I stopped. Looked. Listened. Thought.
And like any successful road rules program, I was captivated.
I knew, henceforth, that this was the music I would be listening to for the rest of my life.
While time may have passed, and the members of Bodyjar may have aged, their stage presence has not. The old punk heads in the Metro Theatre on Saturday night may not have had the energy they had a decade or two ago, but they sang along to all the classics. Cameron Baines showed age has no barriers, as he screamed through crowd favourites like 17 Years, Is It A Lie and their loved cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s classic Hazy Shade of Winter.
The highlight of the set, however, came as the all-to-familiar ring out of feedback and classic riff that kicks off Not The Same filled the room. Baines et al. were joined on stage by a hyperactive Roger Lima, bass player and vocalist for Less Than Jake and just all round cool dude. Every person in the crowd was singing along, from old punkers to the punx of tomorrow, and while Baines’ microphone was turned up too high for the whole set, while Not The Same was playing nobody cared about long term ear canal damage or the ringing they would inevitably suffer for the next few days, we all just had fun.
And that was only the beginning of the fun. I would like to say from the outset that this Less Than Jake set was, and I do not say this lightly, probably my favourite show. Ever. Complete with catchy as fuck tunes, crowd interactions, straight edge youths skanking, and overweight, balding, naked dudes shaking their hairy chests (and much more) on stage.
From the outset we knew we were going to be treated to a high-energy, skatastic extravaganza. Opening the night with All My Friends Are Metal Heads, the crowd were bopping and jumping from the get go. Roger and fellow vocalist Chris DeMakes barely had to sing, as the multitude of woman and men (myself included) filling the Metro knew every word. Buddy Schaub and JR Wasilewski had everyone; crowd, staff, security, bopping as the brass section boomed out in full force, like a metallic elephant that just spotted a mischief of mice.
Last One Out Of Liberty City and crowd-favourite Look What Happened kept the dancing going, before DeMakes pointed to the crowd and called up “Matt”, the possibly (definitely) drunkest guy in the world onto the stage, and asked if the crowd wanted him to remove his shirt. We all giggled, and maybe freaked out a little, as LTJ began playing Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts and Matt took off his shirt. But DeMakes was not done, screaming “who wants to see Matt naked?” The vote was in. A unanimous response came forth, and Matt began removing his pants. No one really believed that the underwear would also come off, but like some of the moves that were going down in the pit, they dropped; down and dirty. Matt covered his nethers for a short time, but the funky bass line and catchy lyrics got the better of him, and before long the whole package was out for a dance. The boys from LTJ joined the crowd as everyone laughed and attempted to cover their eyes, but not too much in case we missed something.
And that was pretty well how the entire set went, while no more naked men donned the stage, we did experience firsthand the crème de la crème of ska punk, in the form of classic tunes P.S. Shock The World and Plastic Cup Politics, jokes about not-so-hardworking security guards and a heap of skanking.
The encore consisted of The Science of Selling Yourself Short and Gainsville Rock City and as they closed out final song The Ghosts of Me and You, with one last sing along, I was almost begging them to stay. It was nearing 11pm, and I had to work the next day, but I would gladly have spent another 2 hours, singing, dancing and laughing along.
Bodyjar may have raised the roof of the Metro Theatre, but Less Than Jake tore the fucking thing off, and I will be first in line when they announce their next tour down under.
Apologies to Foxtrot for missing their set.