• Curtis Ebl

Goldfinger - 1/10/2020 - St. Louis, MO

Since 1994, ska-punk band Goldfinger has been going strong as a household name. The band’s involvement with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater franchise as well as their cover of Nena’s 99 Luftballons helped establish their popularity early on. Since then, John Feldmann and company are considered to have been a major contributor to the movement of third-wave ska, a mid-1990s revitalization in the commercial success of the genre.

This success and establishment have given the band the ability to do shorter tours and one-off shows at their discretion. With the addition of Philip “Moon Valjean” Sneed (ex-Story of the Year), the band then had a connection to the city of St. Louis, Missouri, Sneed’s hometown. With support from Mustard Plug and Flatfoot 56, Goldfinger played to a nearly sold-out crowd at the 2000+ capacity The Pageant.

Opening the set with “A Million Miles” from their 2017 album The Knife, the group exudes a high-energy punk performance one would expect from their sound. Feldmann and his fellow band mates seemingly never had two feet on the ground, using the stage as a bounce house from one ska-punk anthem to another.

Songs like “Get Up” and “Tijuana Sunrise” dove more into their ska side, with an entire horn section driving the melody alongside the signature ska-guitar upstrokes.

The setlist was riddled with unexpected variety. After playing appropriately playing “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” in the middle of January, they followed up with a cover of Blur’s “Song 2.” As a nod to some of ska punk’s early acts, Goldfinger played Operation Ivy’s “Knowledge.”

After roughly an hour and a half, the band’s two most well-known songs were performed with much anticipation from spectators. “Superman,” which gained popularity for the aforementioned Tony Hawk video games, garnered a massive response from the already hyped-up crowd. “99 Red Balloons” closed out the evening, making for a perfect capstone to their performance.

The evening was filled with energy, nostalgia, and most importantly, fun. A good performance goes beyond genres and Goldfinger are professionals at knowing how to engage.

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