It was a full summer moon on Saturday night when I made my way down to the X-Bar at Homestead Lanes in Cupertino, CA. I was in for a local treat, three talented choice Reggae/Ska bands for only $5. This was Skunk Rock Bowling.

The X-Bar is a sports bar that mostly accommodates the bowling alley enthusiasts but throws down some explosive live music every once in awhile. It's a small bar, maybe 10 bar stools and a few booths but has a enormous dance floor. They have 25 affordable beers on tap, I was drinking Pabst for only $3 a cup. It's a full bar with "Happier Hours," 4pm to 6pm, Mon. thru Fri. ($1 off tall drafts & bottled beers, $1 off well drinks and $.50 off glasses of wine and champagne splits.) And as busy as the bartenders were, they were quick, accurate and professional. It is an all age venue, so the bartenders have to be on top of their game. There are in-and-out privileges if you need to smoke or get some fresh air. They also provide karaoke, pool tournaments and poker games during the week. The Laneside Grill also serves up burgers, snacks, salads, pizza and other grub. The X-Bar at Homestead Lanes is conveniently located, close to highway 280 and has plenty of parking with it's own lot.

The X-bar has an enormous stage to fit all the members of a large band. It also has these bright lights behind the band that really illuminates and accents the talents being displayed. The lights change bright colors and actually change with the rhythm. The dramatic lighting with the red walls of the bar adds an eerie playful atmosphere perfect for a hip gift of music. Way too cool! It's a professional look that I think most bands really do appreciate.

The first band was an incredible SF/Bay Area local reggae band called Yeshua & The High Tones (music). You can really tell these guys love reggae music and the message that it provides, they even have a song called "The Messenger." With a complete band including a saxophone, I love a horn section, and some powerful energetic vocals with some compelling dynamic lyrics, this band brought the house down, everyone was into it and cutting a rug. The lead guitar also had a phenomenal talent and added that authentic sound that contributes to traditional reggae. Yeshua & The High Tones are a band I look forward to seeing again and again.

The second band was one of my favorite local SF/Bay Area bands called FTB ("Fuck the Band," or the cleaner version, "Funk The Band.") (music) These guys have been around awhile and have really dialed-in the local music scene. With legendary riffs like "Too Many Chiefs" and "Who's Got My Lighter?" these guys are the ultimate party band with a serious appreciative sound. With heavy ska influences from bands like Fishbone, these guys bring an up-beat, no holding back attitude that radiates and lights up the crowd. They've supported bands including Fishbone, The English Beat, Pato Banton, Mikey Dread, Lyrics born,The Voodoo Glow Skulls, Warsaw and many others. You will always have a good time when you attend an FTB show, the friendly, positive vibe is contagious and welcomed. Someone might even loose their shirt.

The last band was a local SF/Bay Area ska classic. Rocking the ska scene for over 18 years, MONKEY packs the dance floor every time providing fun original rock-steady jams that everyone enjoys. They have a large following, young and old, who are not afraid to let-it-out and skank the night away in their fedoras and suspenders. With such delightful whimsical songs like "The Bicycle Song" and "Walkin' On Coals" these guys drip with Rude Boy demeanor. They even busted out some old Specials covers, including "Rude Boys Outta Jail" and nailed them spot on. MONKEY has supported world class acts like: Bad Manners, The Specials, The English Beat, The Skatalites, Fishbone, The Slackers, and many more... MONKEY is a show not to be missed.

Check back with the X-Bar for the next raw live show, it's always a good, fun, and entertaining time that won't break the bank. Voted best bar to see a live band several years, the X-Bar can deliver the flair of genius.


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