by Andrew Frisicano

The slackers...
The Slackers

So I got to see the Specials in Leeds this may 24th. It was definitely a trip. I was sitting on a corner of the stage watching the band (minus Jerry Dammers). They came on the stage suddenly. John Bradbury did the opening drum fill of "Do the Dog" and they were off. They were launched into it like it was 1979. They seemed a little bit older but surprising well preserved. They mostly played the first album and the first half of the 2nd album. plus a couple songs off their eps.

I got to say i was impressed. I had seen some of the half reunions in the 90s and been underwhelmed. This time they seemed like they had something to prove. Hearing Terry Hall do "Friday Night Saturday Morning" made me think about being 16 yrs old again. It made me think about nights driving around San Diego looking for booze and a party in the 1980s. Their energy was profound. It was like seeing the dance craze movie unfold in front of you. All those songs. "Too Much Too Young." "It Doesnt Make it allright." "Concrete Jungle." [Dave Hillyard of the Slackers]

The Specials have confirmed their 2010 plans for a North American tour, with stops in L.A., Toronto, NYC and Coachella. In fact, the Terminal 5 show on April 21st is already sold out. Luckily, they've added another show at the same venue one night earlier, on April 20th. Tickets go on AmEx presale Wednesday, February 17th at noon. General sale starts the Friday at noon.They'll also be appearing on April 13th on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. All dates are below.

The Slackers opened for the Specials when they played the UK last spring. While the Specials have a new live DVD on the way, the Slackers are prepping the releasing of their new album, The Great Rocksteady Swindle, set to come out April 20th on Hellcat. It'll be their first album on the label in four years. Recent releases, including 2009's well-done b-sides and versions comp Lost & Found, have been on their own labels - Indication, Special Potato and the online label Whatevski. The latter recently put out an NYC Taper-recorded bootleg of the band's pair of holiday gigs at Knitting Factory last December. When one of the opening bands didn't make it through the blizzard that hit on the second night, the Slackers stretched into two sets with songs from all seven of their studio records. The band's tour plans include shows in Japan, the West Coast and Europe. Those lead up to a hometown record release show on June 4th at Highline Ballroom. Tickets go on sale at noon.

Slackers tenor sax player Dave Hillyard (responsible for the review above) has been playing around NYC with his Rocksteady 7 project, a mostly-instrumental group that plays a mix of early ska, jazz and latin music. He's pared it down to 3 (sax, congas & bass) for his show tonight (2/12) at Sunny's Bar (253 Conover St) in Redhook (the same band played at Spike Hill on Monday). Clips of the Rocksteady 7 in action are below. Slackers' frontman Vic Ruggiero also has solo shows coming up. Those and all tour dates are below...

Dave Hillyard and the Rocksteady 7 'del norte' the blank club san jose

Dave Hillyard and the Rocksteady 7 - Playtime

Dave Hillyard & The Rocksteady 7 "Old Days"

The Specials - 2010 Tour Dates
4/13/10 Late Night with Jimmy Fallon NY, NY
4/15/10 Los Angeles, CA @ Club Nokia
4/16/10 Indio, CA @ Coachella
4/19/10 Toronto, ON @ Sound Academy
4/20/10 New York, NY @ Terminal 5
4/21/10 New York, NY @ Terminal 5

The Slackers - 2010 Tour Dates
Mar 19 Logos Fukuoka
Mar 20 Sunsui Osaka
Mar 21 Club UpSet Nagoya
Mar 22 Loft Tokyo
Mar 24 Mississippi Studios Portland, Oregon
Mar 25 Richshaw Theater Vancouver, British Columbia
Mar 26 El Corazon Seattle, Washington
Mar 27 Taps Bar Lounge Sandpoint, Idaho
Mar 28 The Blvd Spokane, Washington
Mar 30 Mountains Edge Bar Bend, Oregon
Mar 31 Timber's Bar Redmond, Oregon
Apr 01 Wetland's Bar Eugene, Oregon
Apr 23 Slim's San Francisco, California
Apr 24 Bank Club San Jose, California
Apr 25 Harlow's Sacramneto, California
Apr 27 Dunes' Restaurant Yuma, Arizona
Apr 28 Rhythm Room Phoenix, Arizona
Apr 29 Casbah San Digo, California
Apr 30 El Rey Theater Los Angeles, California
May 01 Glasshouse Pamona, California
May 05 Liberation Festival Rotterdam
May 06 Shaka Laka Hazebrouk
May 07 Metropolis Bristol
May 08 Islington 02 Academy London
May 09 Engine Room Brighton
May 10 Trillians Newcastle
May 11 Moho Live Manchester
May 12 Maze Nottingham
May 13 Ancienne Belgique Brussels
May 14 Trix Antwerp
May 15 Werkstatt Koln
May 16 La Peche Montreuil
May 17 Salzhaus Winterthur
May 18 Feierwerk Munich
May 19 Y.A.A.M. Berlin
May 20 Loppen Copenhagen
May 21 Fundbureau Hamburg
May 22 Melkweg Amsterdam
May 23 Bolwerk Sneek
May 24 Ernesto's Sittard
Jun 04 Highline Ballroom New York, New York

Dave Hillyard - 2010 Tour Dates
Feb 12 Sunny's (redhook) #
Apr 10 Two Boots Brooklyn, NY $
# w/ Rocksteady 3
$ w/ Rocksteady 7

Vic Ruggiero - 2010 Tour Dates
feb 11 Erie PA the BEER MUG (1108 liberty street in Erie pa.)
feb 12 cleveland COMMON GROUND all ages 6pm (THE EARLY SHOW)
feb 12 cleveland SPITFIRE (THE LATE SHOW) 10PM
feb 13 chicago EXIT 9.30PM
feb 14 Rockford, IL KRYPTONITE
feb 23 jersey city, nj lucky 7's bar