Joker's Republic and Hooray For Our Side Combine Forces to Light Up the Night at Red Dwarf in Las Vegas on Dec. 11, 2022

Joker's Republic photo by Aaron Briese

All photos by Aaron Briese 

LAS VEGAS, NV – On Sunday, December 11th, 2022, New Jersey based ska/punk act Joker’s Republic came to Red Dwarf tiki bar in Las Vegas on their “Necessary Evil Tour 2022” in support of their new album of the same name, and the show was an absolute ripper.

Default Valentine photo by Aaron Briese

I will admit that I had shown up towards the tail end of the opening act, Scotty Dub who is a local Las Vegas ska/punk performer, and I did have to leave early before seeing much of Default Valentine - a Las Vegas ska/indie act fronted by Robert Stokes who is also 1/3rd of the comic book brotherhood the Stokes Bros as well.

Scotty Dub photo by Aaron Briese

I can say from the couple of songs I saw from Scotty Dub, I was impressed. The band was tight, and they even did a cover of the Reel Big Fish song “Beer” which isn’t the easiest song to cover by any means, but they did a damn good job of it.

The first full set I got to check out was from SoCal ska band Hooray For Our Side who brought a 3-piece horn section with them.

Hooray For Our Side photo by Aaron Briese

This band definitely got the crowd dancing, and as I looked around I even saw a few people singing the words to the songs which is quite rare for these smaller shows. So, it just goes to show that Hooray For Our Side definitely has some fans in town.

Hooray For Our Side photo by Aaron Briese

I spoke a bit with lead singer Evan Wohrman after their set, and not only was he a humble and gracious dude, it seems we have come to know a lot of the same bands and people over the years. Of course, I would love to say that I know every band in the whole world, that is just not true. So, I am glad that I got a chance to meet and talk with him about the band for a bit.

Joker’s Republic came on stage a bit after 10pm from memory, and while the crowd was settling down a bit, the band started to really light a fuse over the course of their set.

Joker's Republic photo by Aaron Briese

They played songs off their new album, Necessary Evil, and while they obviously couldn’t bring a full horn section on tour with them, they played through their songs as if it didn’t matter. Most ska only has horns in bits and bobs anyway, and Joker’s Republic isn’t much different.

For the closing number of their set (I can’t remember for certain, but I think it was the song “Necessary Evil”), the horn section from Hooray For Our Side set up some mics on the floor to the side of the stage and that’s when the whole bar turned into a bit of a skankin’ circus.

Hooray For Our Side playing with Joker's Republic photo by Aaron Briese

It was one of the coolest things I have seen pulled off for an East Coast band to get that type of love from a West Coast band and Worhman even took to jumping in on guest vocals with Joker’s frontman Austen Gray.

Another thing I have to mention about Joker’s Republic is that bassist Billy Smolen is a goddamn madman. He has some of the best bass lines I have seen in any band let alone a ska/punk band. 

And I don’t want to fail to mention drummer Pat Elwood who is definitely pulling his weight in the rhythm section too.

I can definitely see Joker’s Republic’s star rising, and while they may not be that big on the West Coast just yet, they are getting love from various places even having Roger Lima from Less Than Jake on the production of their album.

I highly recommend checking out any of these bands if you get the chance. And if you drop something on the ground, make sure to pick it up, pick it up!

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