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Less Than Jake

Some assume that being in a punk band means surrendering your sense of humor and giving up all claims on musical maturity. Fortunately, there's the occasional outfit that dispels that stereotype. The Ramones were goofy from the get-go, while Green Day proved that even irreverence can garner you a Grammy. For their part, Less Than Jake demonstrates that insurgency and ingenuity can in fact go hand in hand. Although they originated as just another band from Gainesville in the early '90s, the incorporation of horns and a distinct ska sound allowed them to carve their own niche among hardcore fans of the Warped Tour. The band's penchant for funny, frenzied punk-pop anthems — encapsulated in such minor classics as Pezcore, Losing Streak, Borders & Boundaries, Goodbye Blue & White, and Anthem — helped them break into the big time, as affirmed by major-label affiliations, million-plus sales, and — surprisingly — an opening slot on Bon Jovi's 2000 North American tour. Less Than Jake's last album, knowingly titled, In With the Out Crowd, found some fans complaining that commercial concerns have muted their intensity. Pay no heed to this, as a performance by Less Than Jake is always intense and satisfying if nothing else.

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Lee Zimmerman

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