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The Scofflaws doing back-to-back nights

Bahia Social Club in Long Beach. (July 28,

Bahia Social Club in Long Beach. (July 28, 2011) Credit: Ian J. Stark

When defining what makes a party, one could argue the necessity of such ingredients as location, theme, guests and refreshments – but while all these things must be decided upon, it’s a given that music will always be involved.

Whether to entertain, allow for dancing or just break up the monotony, almost all gatherings include some sort of played tune. When it comes to nights out, every venue from the tiniest of dive bars to the most massive of mega-clubs will present something audibly rhythmic for their guests – be it a jukebox, DJ or live music.

Finding artists and bands performing somewhere is no challenge, and many of the rooms in Nassau and Suffolk that feature dance floors will bring in cover acts and groups featuring original music to fill that space – with pop, rock, dance and country as the usual draws. However, rewind the club clock back to the '80s and '90s, and one finds another sound was also counted upon to inspire and motivate: ska.

Rooted in Jamaican folk, calypso and jazz, ska music has for many years also grown to accept an infusion of pop-punk rock. The result is a very digestible, fast-paced, horn-blowing style that easily adopts songs of several genres and reworks it all into a party sound that tends to get people bouncing, creating a spirited atmosphere.

Ska bands once played all across the area on a very frequent basis, with New York harboring a great deal of the sound’s fan base from 1980-2000. By the '90s ska punk-powered bands like Boston’s The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and California’s Reel Big Fish and No Doubt had (and still have) major followings and pop success, visiting and selling out shows in and around The Big Apple. But those who truly relish the ska genus know that one of the most respected, long-lived acts actually hails from Long Island.

Part of the (now-defunct) independent Moon Ska record label family, The Scofflaws originated in Huntington during the 1980s, and – with many changes to the band's roster over the years – have continued to perform around the country. Finding their music is easy; there are many Scofflaws videos to choose from on YouTube – but catching their energetic, upbeat live shows are something else all together. If you would like to see what it’s all about, the band has two shows on the Island this week.

On Thursday, May 17, The Scofflaws are playing Black and Blue in their hometown of Huntington, then taking the show to Bahia Social Club in Long Beach on Friday, May 18. Both shows start at 9 p.m. Check the group’s Facebook page (facebook.com/pages/The-Scofflaws) for more information.

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