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The A-OKs! / Press

“Sometimes, a song portrays emotion in a complex, subtle way, where you often have to really focus on the lyrics and the subtext to grasp the meaning of the song. Misfortune Cookie is not one of those songs. Misfortune cookie very skillfully displays one emotion: annoyance. He’s annoyed at the system (“I still don’t understand why I can’t be happy”) and he’s annoyed with himself (“I can’t seem to find my way out of my own mess.”). Catchy rhythmic lyrics, well-woven horn lines, and the irritated sarcasm The A-OKs have perfected make “Misfortune Cookie” a brilliant portrayal of annoyance with the world around you.”

“You never can go wrong with this group and they can always be counted on to get everyone moving and the energy up for a show. The way this band rocks their live show is by stage presence, every member of the band is moving around constantly; sometimes the horns are so far away from their microphones when they have to play that they sprint back to it, it is incredible. The A-Ok’s opened up their set with some new tunes and quickly came around to crowd favorites, “Misfortune Cookie” and “Live it Up Like a Kid,” which caused everyone in the pit to run in circles and shout the lyrics at the top of their lungs. The fanbase of The A-Ok’s show endless support for their live shows and make the experience something special to remember.”

“Maybe it’s just me, but the A-Ok’s all look like middle school teachers—the cool ones that let kids eat snacks and have their phones out in class. Granted, I don’t think most middle school teachers play “partycore” music and jam out with a bunch of punks.”

“Then the A-OKs came on, and holy fuck! A-OKs’ wild, raw, unfiltered energy put the whole venue into frenzy. They played loud, they played fast, they played hard and didn’t let a second of their performance go to waste. So many times I had the gratification of lead singer Mark Swan hovering over me while standing on the PA speaker, admiring the agility of guitarist Justin Cantrell’s finger-work on the fret board, and enjoying Matt Sanchez jumping into the pit while still playing the trombone—going right out the door of the venue, getting the people outside to start dancing. So far, the show had a steady incline of madness with each band giving unhinged energy in their sets, and I was expecting nothing less than awesomeness from Be Like Max.”

“Seemingly suffering from a fear of gravity, these guys and girls spent most of their swift set with all feet in the air. After claiming to have invented the circle pit, vocalist Mark Swan and trombone player Matt Sanchez split their time rocking out up front and joining the dance frenzie. Between The A-Oks’ boisterous performance and the set put on by their fellow Denverites in The Potato Pirates at last year’s Viva Ska Vegas I have to imagine some svengali is up in Colorado teaching a seminars on stage presence.”

“The A-Oks know how to put on a show and they’ve been proving that in Denver and beyond for the last five years. Their draw in their hometown is nothing short of impressive and it seems like their new live album, Are You Double Fisting Drinks Like I Am?, is here to showcase that connection and the band’s innate sense of what makes an over-the-top ska/punk show. Blaring horns, frentic guitars, rapid-fire vocals, ridiculous stage banter…The A-Oks bring it all and have managed to capture the manic and zany kinetic essence of their live performance.”

“An extreme circus of energy, with or maybe without clowns, couldn't tell.”

“As a hardcore ska punk fan, I was primed for The A-OKs before they even started. Moments after the group packed the stage and kicked into the first song, all those expectations were satisfied. Solid horn section? Check. High energy beats and a staccato bassline? Check? Guitar nailing the chank but capable of thrashy leads? Check. Charismatic frontman who could harness the rambunctious energy of his band and magnify it into a non-stop spectacle? Check and double check!”

“I don’t think the circle pit of skanking kids stopped for longer than a minute or two during the A-Oks set. They tore by in an endless cyclonic blur, pins and patches, liberty spikes and elbows, comet punks flying out of orbit and crashing into the crowd. They skanked faster than I could skank, skanked hard enough to void the factory warranty on your Doctor Martens. And this went on for an hour. ”

“By the time I reached the end of the melodically driven, unapologetic final songs of “I’m Sorry You Suck” and “Pain Pills and Mayhem Medicine”, I completely understand why the newest generation of ska kids are clamoring for The A-Oks. While Fun-employment Benefits is heavily rooted in 3rd wave, it’s a refreshing take on the genre and lend an urgency and rebelliousness to a scene soaked in safe customs.”

“When all was said and done, The A-OKs put on a great release show for their second full-length, self-released disc, Funemployment Benefits. The A-OKs have a surefire recipe for eliciting that celebratory mood. They play fast and with more intense-every member turning their mind and body over to a group ska-telligence that then takes over the room. ”

“Energy. That is one word that comes immediately to mind when thinking of Denver’s favorite ska/punk/party-time band The A-OKs. Their second album, Funemployment Benefits, carries on their tradition of frenetic energy and hazardous partying with ten tracks of irresistible skankability.”

“The A-OKs came out in full force. They didn’t let up on their instruments one second through the entire set. The stage continually projected loud horns, pounding drums, wailing guitars, and hilariously dark and ridiculous lyrics.”

“The A-ok’s are a party personified. Pure and simple, cut and dry. They are ska, they are punk and they have a great time on stage. For a band of seven people there is always a lot of activity on the stage and it never stops.”