Green Knuckle Material and Ballyhoo! Play SantaPalooza

Green Knuckle Material and Ballyhoo! Play SantaPalooza


ballyhooDebonair Music Hall in Teaneck, NJ held this year’s “SantaPalooza”. The always fun, holiday-themed, ugly sweater-packed show is hosted by the local rockers GREEN KNUCKLE MATERIAL. This year they brought BALLYHOO! with them, as they were on a week-long stretch of shows together. The show was sponsored by Verse Apparel, a NJ-based clothing brand and podcast. It was a great night to be jolly.

If you don’t know the band GKM yet, you should most definitely start to take notice. These guys have been grinding in our scene for years. From basement shows to every venue in Jersey, opening for the who’s who of Reggae Rock, winning The Stone Pony’s “Rock to the Top” annual competition in 2019, they’ve seen it all. What’s great about GKM, is their diversity. They have a song in many different genres all while sounding true to themselves. When Covid hit and many local bands either slowed up or dissolved, they doubled down and went harder than ever. Recently they brought Greg Shields of KASH’D OUT to their studio for a week-long writing and recording session. A team like that has me excited for the new music they will for sure be dropping soon. Make sure you’re on the lookout for it. All the work they’ve put in for years seems to be paying off, and for someone who has known them for most of the journey, it’s great to see.

Ballyhoo! are GOATs in this genre that we all love so much. Period. Over 20 years of legitimate classic bangers, sold-out shows all over the country, a cult following, a huge influence for so many other bands that have blown up, and a style that has only gotten better with time. I have no clue what else would need to be done for them to get some of the respect that should be automatic. I could write an entire article about that topic, but I fear it would get a little dark. Let me shine a light on the positive and give them the flowers they will forever deserve. From the second they walked on stage, until the moment all of the shredding in “Mixtape” was complete, Howi had the entire venue focused on every lyric. I’ve seen Ballyhoo! live more times than any other band for sure, and this time around was just as great as ever. I always walk away from their sets asking “how can they keep getting better?” The answer to that question is undoubtedly the fact that they have never tried to reinvent their wheel. The band today is the same band that started at the Spangler house in Maryland circa 1995. Some members have changed, but the music hasn’t. It has only gotten tighter, and it’s that same sound that made Howi and Donald probably look at each other one day and say “holy shit we may have something here!”

As I moved around the crowd, I saw so many fans feeling the same way I do about them. Whether it was a punk-driven song and everyone was jumping, or a slow tune that had lovers dancing with their arms wrapped around each other, it all solidified that this band is truly special. I stopped to chat with another local musician, who was there to support, and he said “look at Howi, that’s a fucking rock star!” He couldn’t be more right about that. No matter what obstacles may be put in front of them, these guys will continue to do it their way. As much as I’d love to see them get the shine on a bigger scale from the industry, it truly shows the level of professionalism and trust in themselves that they have to do it by any means necessary. I will always be in their corner for any move they make. Their “ShellShock” tour is rolling through your area now, so grab your tickets and rock out with them immediately!


Review by The Reggae Plug