Review – Late Night with Less Than Jake Livestream

Less Than Jake livestreamed Round 2 of their Late Night with Less Than Jake show on May 27th.  This was a follow up to their December 2020 show.  The popular Ska-punk band from Gainesville, Florida is composed of frontman/guitarist Chris DeMakes, bassist/vocalist Roger Lima, trombonist Buddy Schaub, saxophonist Peter “JR” Wasilewski, and new drummer Matt Yonker. If you a are not familiar with it, Ska-punk is a genre of music that combines Jamaican and Caribbean rhythms, punk rock energy, and wind instruments such as saxophones, trombones, and trumpets.  Popular ska-punk bands have included The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, No Doubt, Reel Big Fish, and Sublime.

During the pandemic, I have reviewed several livestream shows from a wide range of bands.  I will have to say though that Late Night with LTJ was by far the most original. The show, which was recorded at the Heartwood Soundstage in Gainesville, Florida, was a blend of musical performances, comedy skits, and guest appearances. The show was a spoof on Late Night talk shows like Letterman, Leno, or Kimmel.

The voice of WWE’s Cory Grave opened the show announcing “It’s Late Night with Less Than Jake. We’ve got Matt, we’ve got JR, we’ve got Buddy, we’ve got Roger and we’ve got Chris”.  There was crowd applause in the background.  If you didn’t know any better, you would think you just tuned into a real late-night show. 

After the intros, the band jumped right into live performance playing “Sugar in Your Gas Tank”.  Songs performed during the event spanned their 30-year career including several from their Anthem album and two from their latest album, Silver Linings. Chris and Roger both took turns on lead vocals.  Less Than jake is an extremely energetic band.  They don’t just stand around singing and playing their instruments. When Roger was not singing, he was bouncing around the stage along with Buddy.  A skull masked character dressed in a suit made pop in appearances playing fake toy instruments.

Roger acted as host on a couple late-night segments sitting behind his desk while other band members acted as guests relaxing on a leather sofa. Matt and JR promoted a hilarious music video with their fictitious German band ScheizenGroovin which poked fun at David Hasselhoff.  Later in the show, Chris and Buddy discussed how they were getting into shape for upcoming shows by engaging in aerobics.  They shared a clip of the band exercising while dressed in crazy outfits wearing wigs, headbands, and tights. It was a flashback to the 80’s fitness craze.

What is a talk show without commercial breaks? Well of course the band included some of these as well.  There was Evans Exotic Guitars which advertised a Swiss Army Guitar with built in fly swatter and toothbrush.  Another commercial was for Dirt Cheap Dental with Dr. Will Yankem.  Certainly not a dental office that one would want to visit.

Guest appearances included Chris #2 from Anti-Flag, Peter Anna who was previous band member, and Bayside’s Anthony Raneri. Each guest provided pre-recorded segments of acoustic performances.  Chris #2 sang LTJ’s “Look What Happened.  Peter Anna sang “The Hamburger Hop” and Anthony Raneri sang “Howard” by Bayside.   

The show flowed much like a late-night show with a duration of a little over an hour. Segments rotated between musical segments, guests, and commercials.  After the main show there was a VIP Aftershow which featured behind the scenes content, additional live songs, and a confessional booth where members poked fun at themselves and at each other.

The band was formed almost 30 years while Chris, Roger, and Buddy were attending college at the University of Florida.  They may be physically older but during their performances they still behave like of bunch of college friends just clowning around, playing music and having fun.  Jokes were made about not really practicing because their songs are not hard, but don’t kid yourself, the music was very tight and that doesn’t come without practice.

Late Night with Less Than Jake was the most entertaining and unique livestream event that I have attended this year. It was filled with great live performances and hysterical comical skits. If you didn’t catch the originally airing, it’s still not too late to view the show on-demand.  Tickets are available through 11:59pm PT on June 3, 2021 and can be purchased here.

Set List

  • Sugar in Your Gas Tank (Losing Streak)
  • Short Fuse Burning (Anthem)
  • All My Best Friends Are Metalheads (Hello Rockview)
  • Give Me Something to Believe In (See the Light)
  • The High Cost of Living (Silver Linings)
  • My Very Own Flag (Pezcore)
  • Never Going Back to New Jersey (Losing Streak)
  • Suburban Myth (Borders & Boundaries)
  • Magnetic North (Borders & Boundaries)
  • Escape From the A-bomb House (Anthem)
  • Whatever the Weather (Sound the Alarm)
  • Dear Me (Silver Linings)
  • Overrated (In With the Out Crowd)
  • Plastic Cup Politics (Anthem)

VIP Aftershow

  • The Science of Selling Yourself Short (Anthem)
  • Look What Happened (Anthem)
  • Nervous in the Alley (Hello Rockview)
  • Gainesville Rock City (Borders & Boundaries)

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Post by Scott Raymer (Website | Instagram | Facebook)

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