Playing a style of music they have branded “Gutter Calypso," Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso are known for their unique brand of high energy, light-hearted music. They play a combination of calypso, metal, ska, punk rock, reggae, rock steady, tropical, rock, and many other genres all marmaladed together. Instrumentation features steel drums, a powerful five piece horn section, and a super tight rhythm section holding down the groove. The band can be counted on to get crowds moving, dancing, and laughing along with them.
“Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso take ska, punk, calypso, rock, reggae and standup comedy, throw it on spin cycle and let the good times roll.” -Carole Giambalvo, St. Pete Times.
No two Johnny Cakes shows are the same. The band is well known for coming up with exciting dynamic ways to put on an entertaining experience. When Johnny Cakes plays, you can expect more than just a band playing their album, you can expect a show.
"Equal parts punk, rock steady and mischief, this band is worth catching. . ." - Creative Loafing
The band's fun music and high energy performances has landed them spots at several prominent festivals such as the Florida Music Festival where they were selected to showcase on the Main Stage with Less than Jake. They have also played Sunfest in West Palm Beach, a large multi day festival that drew over 300,000 music fans and included acts such as Weezer, ZZ Top, Shinedown, Rise Against, Flogging Molly, Damian Marley, and Ben Harper. Johnny Cakes has also made multiple appearances at Tampa’s renowned Tropical Heatwave Festival. Additionally, Johnny Cakes also participates in several smaller regional music festivals to much acclaim from attendees.
"Johnny Cakes puts on a show that is energetic, entertaining and just really fun." –Krystal Sousa, Tampa Night Life Examiner.
Johnny Cakes has released several CDs and been featured on a number of compilation albums. In early 2013 they released their 2nd full length album "The Curse of the Unsinkable Ship". The promotional EP tied to the album "Apocalypso Now!" was released in December of 2012. In October 2009, Johnny Cakes also released their first full length album "Rise of the Pink Flamingos". The single, "Long Island Iced Tea Island", from their first release "EP in the Butt" was featured on Tijuana Flats website after winning their Rock Out with Your Guac Out contest.
"If the name isn’t crazy enough for you, just check out this band’s music."- Kate Cillian, Creative Loafing
Moving forward in 2013 Johnny Cakes is working on making music videos and booking shows to support their new album. You'll smell them before you see them. Keep an eye out for Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso.
"The best way to describe these guys is awesome! I'd pay top dollar to see them live in concert." -IAE Magazine
Ostrich - Lead Vocals, Steel Drum
Mikey OD - Guitar, Backing Vox
Tyrone Willy - Bass., backing vocals
Ricky - Alto Saxophone, triangle, Samba whistle
JVV - Tuba, Bass Trombone
Ben - Trumpet
Drew - Trombone
Dan - Tenor Saxophone
Woody - Drums
Aaron - Guitar
Livingston Dagger - Guitar, Backing Vocals.
2008: EP In the Butt
2009: Rise of the Pink Flamingos
2009: Everyone Love's A Rusty Trombone Compilation
2010: Killing the Record Industry: Real Punk Radio Comp Vol 1
2011: Florida Green Records Compilation Vol 1
2011: Metal Warriors Compilation
2011: Crosstown Collins Compilation
2012: Killing the Record Industry Vol 2 Comp
2012: Prepare to Be Disappointed: Johnny Cakes Live
2012: Apocalypso Now! (EP)
2013: Curse of the Unsinkable Ship
Swimming in the Summer
Albert's in the Back
Suntan Charlie vs. The Hurricane
Long Island Iced Tea Island
Johnny Cakes Jump Up
Review: Johnny Cakes Curse of the Unsinkable Ship
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A ska album that's not only a concept record, but loaded with enough punk and Caribbean steelpan inf...A ska album that's not only a concept record, but loaded with enough punk and Caribbean steelpan influence, rarely comes around these days but The Curse of the Unsinkable Ship by Johnny Cakes and The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso does more than enough to justify why you should be taking note of their quirky endeavors, their profane outlook on life, and their infusion of everything you need to laugh your ass off at a fun record.
There's nothing high-concept here and that what makes this record even better. It builds on its simplicity with each track. Ostrich's lead vocals are clean and stand out brilliantly; he's got that voice made for alternative-punk and his tenure on the steelpan is just remarkable. "Johnny Cakes Jumps Up" utilizes the best elements of ska and calypso, which someone from Trinidad and Tobago recognizes best. It's the music of my land that's thrown in the ska mix with enough elements of rapso and kaiso that are akin to David Rudder and Roy Cape - perennial talismans of Caribbean music. There's even a high vibe of reggae in "Dream Vacation" which takes a disturbing turn in its pining for a certain someone but still plays off neatly.
You'd see the homage and influences on which Bedouin Soundclash, Catch 22, Sublime, No Doubt and Streetlight Manifesto pinned their foundations. "The Death of Safety Bob" reaps dividends in its own punk atmosphere and despite the utterly depressive tone of the song, it shows yet another dimension to the group. Tyler Jones' bass is something that this record highlights in the most astounding manner. His contributions on each track really builds the rhythms necessary for the style they're cultivating.
"Responsible Adult" continues the ebb and flow of The Curse of the Unsinkable Ship with its catchiness and the notion of why you don't need to grow up. It's immature and reminiscent of The Offspring's Americana and so much of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. There's punk, acoustic and so much more in the fuel here that you get more than an average ska record. "Suntan Charlie vs The Hurricane" brings the album home on a more punk-heavy vibe and it punctuates how much a Caribbean punk-rocker would be taken aback by the record. It's that dynamic.
Size Matters- So Put on a Good Show
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Size Matters – So Put on a Good Show Posted on November 2, 2012 by Quinton J Sheer Esq. TIPS AND...Size Matters – So Put on a Good Show
Posted on November 2, 2012 by Quinton J Sheer Esq.
TIPS AND THOUGHTS REGARDING STAGE SHOWS FOR LOCAL AND TOURING BANDS
BY Quinton J Sheer, Esq.
A confetti cannon to the face can sure ruin a good night of local music. Live shows are a chance for a band to give their fans an experience. It should be more than a chance to hear the band’s CD played live. But developing and pulling off a great stage show takes time, practice, and thought.
A stage show can be as simple as being consciously spaced out to fill any sized stage or include choreographed waives goodbye and t-shirt cannons filled with jell-o. Emerging acts often face the tough task of playing on the floor of a neighborhood bar one night and trying not to get swallowed up on a 50’x30’ stage at the House of Blues the next. A band could, and should, put as much thought into their stage show as they do mixing their songs. Nothing kills months of laboring over the music faster than a poorly executed performance. Ever see a band who thinks they’re in Las Vegas putting on the rock equivalent of Zoomanity but they’re really just four overweight shirtless dudes? Avert your eyes! Face the bar and order some rum!
GIVE THEM A REASON
Central Florida calypso, punk, reggae group, Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso (JC) knows how to balance the idea of a stage show with the reality of performance constraints. They have 10 band members but that can vary by show. Their goal is to bring the party to any sized venue. But it takes some thought to pull it off. Ostrich (vocals and steel pan) said, “We can play with members [off-stage] on the floor. But it’s more important to make sure the P.A. system can handle that many [members].”
A Johnny Cakes show can get quite elaborate under the right conditions. They’ve been known to have jelly fish dancers, cartoon pre shows, and other elements. They want people to think their show is worth leaving a warm and comfy couch for. No one wants to hear a CD they already have, played by drunk musicians. And very few will come out just to support. Tough times. We would all like someone to support us. It’s not a reason to spend money on a local music show. Give the people a reason.
Before a band breaks out the welders and starts to create their own A-Team style grand finale or rents out the Haus of Gaga, there are a few details to consider. How long is the set time? When is load in? Is there a backline? How much time between bands? “If there are a lot of bands, we scale it back. We don’t want to interfere with another band’s time slot.” If a band has extra materials onstage Ostrich suggests they ask friends to help them with the load in/unload process, and practice ahead of time so everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing. “Our goal is to give people something interesting without causing problems for others.”
A band that’s been together for a while will naturally incorporate more and more elements into their show, whether that’s dance moves, projectors, audience participation segments, a blood volcano, or a chain saw (keep reading). What works on one stage is not guaranteed to look good on another. Just simple even spacing may look professional at a coffee shop stage but it can look bare bones and downright sad at the Hard Rock. What killed with an audience of 800 can look a hot jumbled mess at the 250 occupancy local dive bar. “We can be too big for some venues but it can also be exciting to watch us try to pull it off.” Bands should consider the performance space ahead of time, if need be, practice in a similar sized space, and visit the venue before hand to be sure of the parking, door sizes, and to confirm any technical needs.
BIG STAGE – BIG PROBLEMS?
A big stage can make it harder for 4-5 band members to make exciting. “A good light system can make a real big difference, especially for instrumental bands.” But lighting systems can be expensive and a band must always check to see if it’s compatible with the venue’s system.
At the local/touring level, a stage show can and should change with each new venue. While that may seem daunting, it’s a good thing. Really! It’s a reason for people to come out and pay to see you again and again. Fans might have seen a show 2 weeks ago but they will pay again if they know all 10 members will be playing on the drum riser…
GET IN THE GAME
“People can expect a wild, high energy show. There is not a typical Night for Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso.” Being conscious of having a stage show can start with what each member of the band intends to wear. Do you have a color scheme? Is it ok for a member to wear whatever they wore to their day job? When it comes to dress, the style of dress must fit the style of music and the personality of the band. T-shirts may look out of place in a jazz trio and a suit may look odd on a metal front-man. Johnny Cakes does not dictate what each member wears but they do often have themed shows. At a benefit to raise money to help a local animal shelter, the band dressed in animal costumes. “Once, the entire band dressed as batman, except for the bass player. He was Robin.”
Benefits, charity shows, and holiday shows are great excuses to try out new elements of a stage show. If it works, great! Then incorporate it into other shows. If it fails, never speak of it again…unless interviewed by Quinton J Sheer, Esq.
IT WON’T WORK ALL THE TIME
Not every ‘Best Idea Ever’ will seem so once the rum has worn off. “We have a song [Super Black Death Cloud] about zombies. Our sax player took an actual chain saw and fired it up. The chain was removed but no one, not even the band, knew he was going to do it. I could see fear in some people’s eyes. A few ran out the back door.”
Clear any out of the box ideas with the rest of the band and especially the venue. Having to retool the show to accommodate the venue’s rules is better than being blacklisted from that venue and others. Elaborate stage shows can be very entertaining but are not always necessary. Just be conscious of putting on a good show for the people who come and the venues who allow it all to happen. Be exciting and easy to work with and there will be more shows and more chances to try something new. That way, the grand finale doesn’t end with giving the 50 people in the audience paper cuts in their eyes from an overzealous confetti cannon.
** Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso can be found at www.GutterCalypso.com. Join the adventure and be their friend at http://www.facebook.com/guttercalypso. **
Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso Make Beach Rock with Attitude
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I’ve been recently developing a theory of rock and roll that is currently at this state: It’s no lon...I’ve been recently developing a theory of rock and roll that is currently at this state: It’s no longer a particular sound that’s rock’n'roll; it’s a particular attitude. That attitude consists of flagrant disregard for what popular culture would say is tasteful or appropriate, and a snarling disdain for any strictures of that social culture imposed (successfully or not) on said music, lyrics, or musicians.
This would make Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso a thoroughly rock’n'roll band. Their embrace of the rock’n'roll attitude can best be summed up in a disclaimer that they themselves chose to put on the back of their Rise of the Pink Flamingos: “Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso are well known degenerates and are not responsible for any degeneration caused by listening to this album. If, while listening to this album, you feel a strong desire to damage public rest rooms or sing songs about butts, seek medical attention. Also, feel free to send the band your money and/or naked pictures of your girlfriend.”
With such a loud endorsement of hedonistic excess and flagrant disregard for social niceties, it’s almost unimportant what this album sounds like. Fans of crazy, wild rock’n'roll will listen and enjoy. People who are easily offended will be offended. Not a difficult dichotomy to strike.
The music contained within Rise of the Pink Flamingos is a surprisingly cohesive mix of breezy pop, surf rock, ska, punk and calypso. The nine members of the band (plus four costumed dancers, according to the one-sheet) make music that sounds like the musical accompaniment to a frat party on the beach: upbeat singalongs, adrenaline and goofy jokes, all in the name of having a good time. The bright colors and wild fonts of the album’s art are another good sign of how Johnny Cakes rolls.
With titles like ” Scooby Doo Me” and “Commando,” as well as thank yous to Luke Atmyas, Ima Weiner, and Ineda Shower (and those are the cleaner ones), it should become abundantly clear to you whether or not this is the type of thing you should invest in or not. I am pretty grateful to Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso, as they only strengthen my fledgling theory of rock’n'roll. It’s all about the attitude here, and if you don’t like that attitude, well you can get on out. Johnny Cakes is still gonna keep on being what they are: rock’n'roll.
Funny Sunday: Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso
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It probably comes as no surprise that a band with a name like this one gets featured on Funny Sunday...It probably comes as no surprise that a band with a name like this one gets featured on Funny Sunday. Granted, not every song this band does is funny but there is plenty of humor to be found on both Rise of the Pink Flamingos and The Curse of the Unsinkable Ship. Specifically, I’m going to look at a couple songs from the Unsinkable Ship album because it is the band’s most recent.
There is one song on the new album that I can never listen to just once: “Ode to the Men’s Room Stall.” Yes, it really is toilet humor, but that’s the genius of it. Everyone has been is a stall that has been covered in graffiti. And as this band ably points out, the graffiti is pretty much the same wherever you go. You’ll see who’s a slut, bad poetry, and drawings of dongs, among other things. Just ask yourself this: have you ever been inspired to write a song about bathroom graffiti? Johnny Cakes: 1, you: 0. And this song (a honky-tonkin’ departure from the band’s usual sound) is super-catchy. Unless you’re totally averse to toilet humor, you might just find yourself singing this song throughout the day.
The other song I want to highlight for this post is “Responsible Adult.” Much like the Ramones song (penned by Tom Waits), this song is about not wanting to grow up. Frankly, this is an anthem for everyone who has ever felt trapped in what most people view as a “normal” life.
Sure this band’s humor leans toward the juvenile, but Johnny Cakes will make you laugh for sure. And that’s never a bad thing.
Album review: Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso, The Curse of the Unsinkable Ship
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Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso deliver a sea-flecked sonic adventure full of d...Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso deliver a sea-flecked sonic adventure full of droll and occasionally absurd narratives in their fresh-pressed full-length, The Curse of the Unsinkable Ship. “Prologue” finds Johnny Cakes frontman Ostrich relating the story of a pirate who sets out to sink his own ship so he can use the insurance money to conquer the world. The calypso-hued grooves of “Johnny Cakes Jump Out” actually launch the 15-track set, which dives in and out of punk, ska, rock, reggae and island music territories, and also touches on barroom twang (“Ode to the Men’s Room Stall”), dark offbeat gypsy music (“Devil’s Threeway”), and swaying dub ("Bee Truck"). The album is textured with steel drums, congas and other hand percussion, brightened by jaunty brass from a section encompassing alt and tenor sax, trombone and tuba, and studded with anything from Muppets clips and answering machine messages to whistling, vocal hoots and rah rah choruses. Ostrich isn’t a singer by any means, but he manages to charm with his crude, nasally talk-sung delivery and off-kilter phrasing, and it works within the confines of the Johnny Cakes aesthetic, even adding an unexpected but not unwelcome note of dissonance to their sound.
Schwindy's indie music spotlight: Johnny Cakes
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When I received a message about a new album from Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalyps...When I received a message about a new album from Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso, I have to admit I was excited to hear it. I knew to some degree what to expect since I was familiar with the band's previous album Rise of the Pink Flamingos. Namely, I expected an album that was part calypso, part ska, part rock, and all fun. Loyal reader, I was not disappointed.
The first laughs came in the third song "Dream Vacation." OK, so the subject matter of a stalker isn't necessarily funny, but the story is so ludicrous that you can't help but laugh. Plus, it has a catchy island beat, so even if the narrator of this song is terribly misguided, you can't help but move to this song.
My favorite song on this album is "Responsible Adult." This is basically for every person who has ever felt trapped in suburbia or some boring job. It basically echoes the sentiment of "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" in which an adult realizes that being an adult isn't really all it's cracked up to be.
Long Island Iced Tea Island
Another great song is the honky tonk goodness of "Ode to the Men's Room Stall." Now, any guy who has ever been in a public restroom has seen all the graffiti mentioned in this song, but how many have written a song about it? Whenever I play this album, I have to hear this song more than once.
Johnny Cakes is a great band just because it incorporates so many different influences into its music. How many bands do you know that you could classify as acoustic-calypso-ska-metal-country-comedy? OK, so it's a bit of a mouthful, but the band really does incorporate all of those facets into its music. If you want an album that is just fun, pick up this album next week.
Review: Curse of the Unsinkable Ship
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Ah ah Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso. (known further as JCFHA) what wacky blen...Ah ah Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso. (known further as JCFHA) what wacky blend of ska/funk/punk/calypso have you crafted for us? Well, I suppose that actually rather describes it. The new release by Tampa’s JCFHA, “Curse of the Unsinkable Ship” is, in fact, a blend of Ska, Funk, Punk, and Calypso.
The album holds 15 tracks. This includes both a prologue and epilogue, so consider it 13 musical numbers and some guidance. Conceptually it reminds me of the ska classic, Full Trucker Effect, by Johnny Socko. The tracks are often a bit lower tempo, but that story telling vibe is there. Granted, the storyline is slightly less cohesive. JCFHA seems to be a bit more focused on the comedic elements of their “theme” album. That’s fine. Not judging. Just saying.
Comparisons aside, the album is fun. It has an exceedingly casual vibe and is very very party. However, I’m only halfway through. Things could take a darker turn. I’ll go get a refreshing beverage and let you know.
Ok, so the album does take a darker and a bit unusual turn around track 10, Suburban Wasteland. If you’re from the suburbs, then you know the specific kind of hell the song speaks of. I suspect that in their haste to escape the ‘burbs, JCFHA took a wrong turn and ended up in the sticks as track 11 gets decidedly country. Humor still intact, the release travels on.
At the end of the day, what you in Curse of the Unsinkable Ship is a none-too-serious, but seriously fun blend of ska heavy rock-n-roll. If you’re at all curious, check ‘em out here: http://www.reverbnation.com/johnnycakes Seriously check ‘em out. This band has a steel drum player. How cool is that?
Review: Apocalypso Now!
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Oh, this is fun, goslings! Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso have released an EP ...Oh, this is fun, goslings! Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso have released an EP - Apocalypso Now - in advance of their full length album entitled, "Curse of the Unsinkable Ship". There's a total of seven tracks on the EP. Four absolutely superb tunes and three snippets of their manager spewing hilarious amounts of vulgarity.
The first tune I heard from these guys was "Responsible Adult". Totally hooked me. Not only can I sorta relate but they've got some really childish swearing in there that makes me giggle. There's a cover of The Beatle's "Baby, You're a Rich Man". It's actually quite good. It's a straight cover - genre differences aside - and it really works.
Totally as a side note: The band's name is hilarious. Kudos on the literary references. Bonus points if you get the first one.
Live Show Review by Kate Cillian
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If the name isn’t crazy enough for you, just check out this band’s music. Johnny Cakes and the Four ...If the name isn’t crazy enough for you, just check out this band’s music. Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso, from St. Petersburg, purvey an insane combination of ska, reggae and punk. When I did some research, I found out they play in a style called “gutter calypso,” which, according to the band’s Myspace, is a combination of “calypso, punk rock, ska, reggae, rock steady, tropical, rock, and a whole bunch of other stuff all marmaladed together.” Hey, I was close!
Last Saturday, this unique band played an amazing show at The Market on 7th in Ybor (one of my favorite places in the area). I have never seen that place so packed! Right off the bat, I knew that this show would be one to remember.
I wish I could describe the band better, but honestly I was way in the back trying to write on my little notepad. The tiny stage was overflowing with musicians that included a horn section, guitars, bass, regular drums, and I’m pretty sure I saw (and heard) a steel drum as well. At one point, it sounded like there was a marching band hiding in the back. Think Jimmy Buffet meets Sublime with a dash of NOFX. Lead singer Michael “Ostrich” belched out grungy vocals with some hilarious lyrics (when you could understand them). The music was loud and in-your-face, perfect for a keg party. And who doesn’t like a keg party?
One of the most memorable parts of the night were the crazy names of the songs. I recall song titles like “Commando” (their frontman actually admitted “This song is about not wearing underpants” right before it started), “Long Island Iced Tea Island,” and of course, the crowd favorite, “Butt Sex.” They also played an incredible cover of “Wipeout.”
Oh my, I almost forgot about The Jellyfish Dancers (pictured at left)! Yes — this band has dancers, four lovely ladies who skip around under giant jellyfish umbrellas. Amazing.
The night was full of laughter and dancing and all around shenanigans. Another fun fact for your enjoyment: Skippy, a plastic penguin, is considered a legitimate member of the band. Love it!
Catch these guys at Skippers Smokehouse next Sunday, January 24, with Amanda Drake & the Barnburners, and Mogul Street Reserve. Seriously, don’t miss their performance! Until then you can go to iTunes and order their CD, Rise of the Pink Flamingos.
Album Review: Rise of the Pink Flamingos
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Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso is my new favorite band of the week. Seriously,...Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso is my new favorite band of the week. Seriously, I thought this type of music was dead. Ska, calypso, punk, reggae and rock - all rolled into one fun-filled CD. It's like I'm living back in 1996 when the 3rd wave of SKA was king and every band geek in high school joined a group and played their instruments in front of friends on a Saturday night at the local pizza joint down the street. Thank you, Johnny Cakes, for bringing this musical style back. I've still got my entire collection of American-style Ska collecting dust in the back room, and this album is reviving my thoughts in my purchases over the years.
Ok, so this is not the type of album for most of you that have out-grown your two-tone and SPECIALS dance craze, but for those of you who remember dressing up in a pork pie hat and skinny tie while your other friends shaved their heads and wore skinny braces to hold up their pants, then you NEED to get RISE OF THE PINK FLAMINGOS.
Johnny Cakes sounds like REEL BIG FISH, JOHNNY SOCKO, THUMPER, LESS THAN JAKE, SLAPSTICK, and most of the bands on the old MOON SKA record label.
My favorite tracks on this album are:COMMANDO, ACID MOUTH, SOMETHING IN THE AIR, PEE IN THE BUTT, and DNA.
So go out and buy this album! It's worth it! And if there's a fan club, join that, too!!!
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The Orlando Punk and Indie Music Examiner, Marc Ganancias As I walked through the iron gates of New...The Orlando Punk and Indie Music Examiner, Marc Ganancias
As I walked through the iron gates of New World Brewery’s outdoor patio on Friday (11-13-09) night, I partly knew what to expect – good live music, Purple Haze on tap (among several other tasty beers on tap & in bottles), and an overall laid-back environment that makes this my favorite live music venue/bar in Ybor City. I didn’t get any of their house pizza this time, but I highly recommend trying it next time you are in the place – it is quite good.
What was interesting was watching the opening band, Johnny Cakes and The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypso (St. Petersburg, FL), steal the show. This 9-piece Ska/Punk band plays what they call “Gutter Calypso”, which mixes Ska, Reggae, Calypso, Rocksteady, and Punk together – I call it awesome. This isn’t some MTV-fashioned radio friendly Ska band. According to Josh (bass), one of the band’s missions is to “shit on MTV.” Josh is also a graphic designer and video artist; he did the artwork for their album “Rise Of The Pink Flamingos”, along with video design/production for the band. Their music has balls, and it is possible that the moshing trumpet player may break something valuable of yours (or spill your drink) if you get too close to their manager/mascot “Skippy the Penguin” during their set. It’s not an easy task for a 9-piece band to be this tight and simultaneously raise this much hell in a live performance...especially when they are all packed into NWB’s relatively small pseudo-stage area. They started around 10:00p.m. to a crowd of about 60 people, which grew slowly and progressively to nearly 100 people by the end of their set. The band has a strong influence from The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Operation Ivy, Rancid, The Ziggens, Voodoo Glowskulls and Fishbone – like I mentioned, this is not some candy store Ska band pining for mainstream airtime. The backing vocals are anthemic in their style, much like the Bosstones. The stage energy goes through the roof, and they have a most excellently uncensored sense of humor in the lyrics. Guitarist Roy is a shredder – no two ways about it; at the same time, he doesn’t shamelessly showcase his skill...his solos are tasteful & usually just a few measures, and his finger & picking speed fits about 1,420 notes into a very small space of time. Vocalist Ost also plays a steel pan, and his singing style is clearly influenced by Dickie Barrett...the lyrical content is more along the lines of The Ziggens, except with an NC-17 rating. The horn section* consists of Drew (trombone), Ben (trumpet), Ricky (alto sax), and Dan (tenor sax) – they blow...with some serious intensity. James (percussion) stays very busy with an array of congas and woodblocks. Drummer Mike P. keeps the mayhem together with serious chops, and when they go Punk, he kicks it into a double-time driving force that keeps the train on the rails. I chatted with Ost before they played, and then hung out with he, Josh, James, and Roy most of the night after their set...very cool guys who are in a great band, and actually “get it” when it comes to the fickle & often disappointing music scene through the Central Florida area. Oh, yeah...I can’t leave out the band’s Jellyfish dancers – a few cute gals in island(ish) costumes, dancing in sync (quite well), and sometimes using umbrellas that have been cosmetically turned into jellyfish props. The Jellyfish dancers got several others from the crowd on the dance floor, and there was some skankin’ going on. It made a fun show that much more entertaining – it’s an ambiguous quality of this band that their sense of humor tells me they don’t take themselves very seriously; But, for the band to be this good, they quite obviously are all top musicians and take what they do seriously.
Some of the songs in their set list included “Commando”, “Eternally Missing You”, “The Donkey Song”, a superb cover of Harry Belafonte’s “Jump In The Line”, “Swimming In The Summer”, “Long Island Ice Tea Island”, “Kansas Here We Come”, and closed with “Happy Thanksgiving, F#ck You”.
I give Johnny Cakes and The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypso big siskels on every count. Go see this band – it will put a smile on your face, make you laugh, and kick your ass all at the same time.
Summary: Johnny Cakes and The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypso owned the night. I hope to see them do so again and again in the future.
Johnny Cakes Review by Jessica Kemper
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Tampa Live Music Examiner, Jessica Kemper Bad puns aside, Johnny Cakes And The Four Horsemen Of The...Tampa Live Music Examiner, Jessica Kemper
Bad puns aside, Johnny Cakes And The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypso truly appears to be a band on the rise. The St. Petersburg-based act, who combines an upbeat mix of genres with a wicked sense of humor, have built up a successful following in the Tampa Bay area, with performances at venues such as Crowbar and Skipper's Smokehouse. However, it seems their breakthrough came with this year's double performances at WMNF's Tropical Heatwave. The band was chosen as a runner-up for the reader's poll Best Local Reggae/Ska band,on Creative Loafing''s Best of the Bay list this year, and were listed in tbt's Ultimate Band Guide.
Review By the TBT*
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Gabriel Loewenberg, tbt*: Tampa’s Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso have been de...Gabriel Loewenberg, tbt*:
Tampa’s Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso have been delivering a healthy dose of fun and great tunes to Tampa Bay since 2006.
Led by growly-voiced vocalist and steel drummer Michael "Ostrich" Middlebrooks, they've had a big summer. They played two, count 'em TWO, shows at Tropical Heatwave this year. And they recently won a contest to have their song Long Island Iced Tea Island featured on the Tijuana Flats home page.
Their sound: Johnny Cakes plays an infectious mix of third-wave ska, punk, rock steady, calypso and just about everything in between. The band self describe themselves as “gutter calypso”, which one can take to mean just about anything. Regardless of what label you try to pin on them, this band wants more than anything to have a good time.
The lineup: Johnny Cakes has had as little as five and at most twelve members. The current nine-person line up is Michael “Ostrich” Middlebrooks, vocals, steel drum; Roy Kielich, guitar; Josh Burke, bass; Mike Polojac, drums; James Griffin, congas, percussion; Ben Datin, trumpet; Ricky Peterika, saxophone; Jon Van Vuren, bass trombone and Drew Smith, trombone. They range in age from 20 to 42. Middlebrooks gave us the lowdown on the band.
The name: There really isn’t an epic story behind the epic name. Mike says he was on vacation on in the Caribbean, and while eating at a restaurant, saw something on the menu called “Johnny Cakes.” He thought that would make a good band name but was too short, so the rest was tacked on the end.
Zombies, dancers and chainsaws: Just about anyone in a band will tell you that having fun comes first and foremost. Johnny Cakes is no exception. In addition to the boundless energy of their songs, the band is sometimes joined onstage by the Johnny Cakes Jellyfish Dancers (you’ll have to see their MySpace page for pictures to fully understand). The high-energy music and interpretive dance only leads to more shenanigans. At one show, during the song Super Black Death Cloud (which is about fighting zombies with chainsaws), to the surprise of the band, the venue and the concert-goers, sax player Peterika pulled out a real chainsaw and starting running around the club.
It’s business time: In order to have as much fun as they do, Johnny Cakes has to be a hard-working band. They recently won a contest to have their song Long Island Iced Tea Island featured on theTijuana Flats Web site. At this year’s Tropical Heatwave, they played twice (at the Cuban Club and New World Brewery) in brutally hot, humid and rainy conditions. To top off a busy year, the band’s first full length CD, Rise Of The Pink Flamingos, will be out in October.
"Rise of the Pink Flamingos" CD Review
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If Harry Belafonte and the Bosstones were to have an illicit lovechild, except the resulting birth c...If Harry Belafonte and the Bosstones were to have an illicit lovechild, except the resulting birth came out as a flesh-eating zombie with a boner, then you kind of get the idea of what Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso’s debut album, ‘The Rise of the Pink Flamingos,’ is all about.
Much like their live show, ‘Pink Flamingos’ is a loud, fun and horny adventure that explores the band’s inebriated infatuation with donkeys, zombies and performing lewd acts on Barbara Bush – all predicated on the notion that an army of bloodthirsty flamingos hopped up on mutant shrimp will soon overthrow the civilized world.
This after all, is a South Florida ska band with enough members to field an entire baseball team that have animated alter egos with an affection for marmalade and a cadre of dancers wielding jellyfish-shaped umbrellas.
The album kicks off with the steel-drum-heavy track ‘Swimming in the Summer,’ a tropical tongue twister which sets the tone for the rest of the album. That tone of being akin to lying in a hammock on a Caribbean beach while whacked out on PCP and tequila.
"We had a really fun time recording the album," said lead singer Michael "Ostrich" Middlebrooks, "and I think that will be evident to anyone who listens to the album."
From there, ‘Flamingos’ features two tracks, ‘The Donkey Song’ and ‘Commando,’ that allow the rhythm section, particularly the well-populated horn section, to shine and remind audiences that despite the lyrical content, the band is more than a series of fart jokes.
"We try to make good music without taking ourselves too seriously" said Middlebrooks.
Other highlights of the album include ‘Super Black Death Cloud,’ a dark, night-of-the-living-dead epic that slowly builds from a fluted intro into a full-out, chainsaw-wielding thrash-skanking and a moonstomp-inducing cover of the calypso classic ‘Jump in the Line.’
Ska Fest XI
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Marc Ganancias, Orlando Punk & Indie Music Examiner "Next up was Johnny Cakes & The Four Horsemen...Marc Ganancias, Orlando Punk & Indie Music Examiner
"Next up was Johnny Cakes & The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso (St. Pete, FL). This 7-piece band came on like gangbusters from the beginning, and maintained a buoyant intensity with a healthy dose of humor in the lyrics. The horn section consisted of a trumpet, alto sax and a trombone. Filling out the rest of the band was a drummer, bassist, guitarist, along with a vocalist playing a steelpan. The vocalist had a style in the vein of Dickie Barrett from The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and the ultra-tight horn section’s style added to that comparison. I also detected some Voodoo Glow Skulls influence. The band’s performance was very uplifting, and the inclusion of the steelpan gave their sound a slight “island” vibe. My friend, Stevie, swore up and down that they covered Operation Ivy's "Bad Town" - good call. It was a great set that put a smile on everyone’s face, and even made me laugh a few times with the lyrical wit."
WMNF's Tropical Heatwave 2009
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"Johnny Cakes & The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso: After 1 am it takes a special band to get peop..."Johnny Cakes & The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso:
After 1 am it takes a special band to get people on their feet and dancing. Playing as the last band at New World Brewery, Johnny Cakes & The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso literally brought the house down with their fresh take on ska. Equal parts punk, rock steady and mischief, this band is worth catching and since they hail from St. Pete, it shouldn’t be hard to do!"
Let the Good Times Roll - Carol Giambalvo
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“Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso take ska, punk, calypso, rock, reggae and stan...“Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso take ska, punk, calypso, rock, reggae and standup comedy, throw it on spin cycle and let the good times roll.” -Carole Giambalvo, St. Pete Times Oct., 2009.
Long Island Iced Tea Island, Kansas, Super Black Death Cloud, Swimming in the Summer, Donkey, Commando, Jump in the Line, DNA, Eternally Missing You, Dr. Goon Face, Albert and many more.
|Jun 5, 2013 Wednesday||8:00 PM||New World Brewery||Tampa, FL, US|
|Jun 28, 2013 Friday||9:00 PM||Eddie's Bar & Grill||Dunedin, FL, US|