Music » Critics' Picks

The Toasters

7:30 p.m. Friday, February 18. The Firebird, 2706 Olive Street.

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Ska in 2011 is a genre of defiance, and no band sums up its resilience better than the Toasters. After thirty years and several dozen ex-members, the New York City group has overcome all odds. It bravely pioneered the third wave of ska when two-tone was boss. Later, it resisted the temptation to marry its bouncy upbeats with crunchy power chords when its stylistic brethren merged with pop punk. And when its flagship label, Moon Ska Records, dissolved, the band formed Megalith Records to continue uninterrupted at its own pace. The group's independence is an inspiration to anybody interested in operating outside of the system, not beating it. Or, as the Toasters put it on its 1997 call to arms (which also happens to be the title of its most beloved album to date): Don't let the bastards grind you down.

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