St. Patrick’s Day celebrated in Provo with ska mus

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    By MEGAN ELISON

    Four years ago, local promoters Terry Xanthos and Corey Fox started a St. Patrick’s Day tradition: Ska-Patrick’s.

    Dubbed “Skank Patrick’s” for this year’s show, the annual March concert features the best of Utah’s ska bands and has typically drawn substantial crowds.

    “We were just looking for an excuse to have another big show,” Fox said in a news release. “It just grew and grew into this really big event.”

    Racquel Goncalves, another area promoter, spear-headed the show from 1994 to 1996; in an interview last semester she said the crowds were evidence of the increasing popularity of ska music in Utah County.

    The Ska-Patrick’s shows, for which Goncalves was responsible, saw considerable success, despite Provo’s lack of larger pop-concert venues.

    The 1996 March show lasted four nights and featured 22 bands, drawing almost 1,000 people over the course of the event. In 1997, the scaled-down, one-night show still managed to bring in about 800 people.

    “That’s an amazing crowd for this area,” Goncalves said.

    So what is it that makes ska so popular in Utah County?

    “The upbeat of the guitar is a good, happy sound,” Goncalves said. “It’s hard just to stand there or sit there when you’re listening to ska.”

    Tuesday’s show at Cafe Wrapsody, 117 N. University Ave., is aimed at continuing the quality ska tradition while celebrating the Irish holiday. Provo ska favorite My Man Friday will headline the event and will be complemented by music from local swing band Moxie Tonic and Salt Lake ska group Insatiable.

    “Let New York City have its parade and green beer,” said My Man Friday’s singer Jimmy Thompson in a news release. “I’ll take a good ska party any day.”

    The concert is also billed as a celebration of My Man Friday’s recent recording accomplishments.

    The group can now be heard on three national ska compilations, released under Vegas, Skully and Beloved records. Evidence of My Man Friday’s growing national popularity, the CDs rank the group with national acts like Less Than Jake, My Superhero and Five Iron Frenzy.

    Tickets for Skank Patrick’s are $5 and can be purchased at the door, although fans should arrive early because the show is expected to sell out fast. Doors open at 8:30 p.m., music starts at 9 p.m.

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