xThe Oski Foundation engages South Florida on their own terms

Conquering over one hundred venues in South Florida since their inception in 1999, The Oski Foundation lights up the terrace of Bu-S, a low-key bar on A1A in Hollywood Beach, one Friday each month.

Taking to the stage a little after midnight, the band performed a 70-minute set and came back with even more fun. Just fifteen feet from the Atlantic, pool sharks attacked the table on the stage’s left, where these showmen from Miami always radiate love. Interlocking a smorgasbord of genres and musical styles, The Oski Foundation engages South Florida on their own terms.

The Foundation’s sound has been described as Southern blues mixed with ska, or a cross between G Love and Jameriqui. The five members of The Foundation have been sharing the stage for the last two years, while each individual has been paying his dues for over a decade in the South Florida market.

Getting gigs has never been a problem for the local boys. From Clematis to Hollywood, you name it, The Foundation has played it. Besides opening for John Fogerty and Aaron Neville, Oski has performed at Hard Rock in Sunrise, Mars, The Culture Room, and The Factory.

Oski kicked off The Foundation’s set with “Box.” The catchy jingle advocates “lovin’ life” and advises against “living for someone else.” Oski usually explains “Box” to the fifty-or-so folks who are mostly in their twenties and thirties. He claims the song is about self-liberation, and all we really need is food and shelter; everything else is extra.

“A listener doesn’t have to think too hard about our lyrics. Each word and every note is simple, so everyone can relate, regardless who or where” explained David Lagnado, The Foundation’s guitarist known as D-Nasty.

Oski continued: “Some things that I sing about, or things we write about, are pretty blunt. It’s all black and white. Meanwhile, other times I write in metaphors. Depending on how the listener interprets it, he’ll get a different affect.”

Throughout Oski’s show, spectators displayed full appreciation for “Box,” especially the young couples often found sucking face on the dance-floor. The band shot into “Gone,” the number that can be heard on Hot 105.

The frontman is somewhat of a comedian onstage. He never stands still. If he isn’t banging drums or shaking maracas, then he’s busy dancing ballet around Rod Lorie’s percussion.

Heard in the Burdines’ radio and TV “Back to school” campaign is Oski’s “To My Soul” which they performed while a giant teddy bear shook tambourines and sang. The band also played “Life Goes On,” a 70s-like disco single about the mother earth heard on 92.3 FM.

Sliding over to Cuban Lorie’s congas, bongos, chimes and shakers, Oski removed his hat just long enough for me to eye his long brown hair. Maybe seven inches of it spewed from the top of his scalp. Rod, sporting four-inches of a braided goatee and a Hawaiian jersey, moved next to Danny De La Fe’s drums.

Following a gig in Sunrise’s Hard Rock, bass player Vic Julia chose to exercise his right to live carelessly. Watching the man with lamb-chops and a goatee drink shots, heckle women and scale the fence in the parking lot afterwards, I was reminded of the young Jim Morrison when he was first discovered on the Sunset Strip.

“What we write about and Oski sings about is real,” said Julia. “I guess you can say that we are ghettofisticated, and maybe that’s why the local followers are so dedicated.”

Before long, The Foundation simply messed around onstage, singing classics, such as “Loddy-Doddy.” The mic was passed around to audience members so they could make fools of themselves by trying to do it old-school MC style. D-Nasty contests that joining strangers, as well as other local bands for some late night impromptu selections is what The Foundation is all about.

After 3 o’clock, Oski wrapped things up with “Welcome Home.” In the number, a guy is chatting with his homeboy, giving the life-changing advice: free your mind. During D-Nasty’s wicked solos, Oski would sometimes pick up sticks and drums alongside the spiritual Lorie, while continuously chanting “I am home.”

Hopefully, the right person will understand the potential in the band. Maybe somebody will contact The Foundation and something big will happen, whether it’s moving to New York, or maybe L.A. Perhaps it’ll be right here in Oski’s home. Right now, they are playing together simply to be happy. And if The Oski Foundation doesn’t get a record deal this year, hell, they’ll be playing regardless.