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Local ska group pairs with big-name bands
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Taj Motel Trio has one of their biggest weekends ahead of them.

The local ska rockers — who also have a hint of punk in their music — are set to open for ska legends Less Than Jake on Friday at The Masquerade in Atlanta and for Blues Traveler and Drivin ‘n’ Cryin on Saturday at the Midsummer Music Fest.

“It is a pretty big weekend for us,” said Nick Kastner, cornet and trombone player for Taj Motel Trio. “We usually have a bigger show every two or three months and it just so happens to be all in one weekend so that’s a little different.”

The band got hooked up with the Midsummer Music Fest, put on by 790-AM The Zone through their sponsor Crunk Energy Drink, and joined efforts with several bands for The Masquerade show.

Kastner said Taj Motel Trio will play mostly originals for the shows, including some popular songs off the newest and fourth album, “Part of the Problem,” like “Java Joe,” “God Save the Scene” and “Radio Silence.”
The six-piece band includes trumpets, trombones, guitars, drums and lots of vocals.

Band members include Kastner, Mount Airy’s Ben Sanders who plays guitar and sings lead vocals, drummer Kevin Rose from Sautee and bassist Josh Wow who lives in Columbia, S.C. Rounding out the group is Canton’s Peter Williams who plays trombone and adds background vocals.

Zach Hill, trumpet player and background vocalist who attends Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Ala., will not be playing this weekend.

Taj Motel Trio has been together for close to 10 years and in 2006 the band won the chance to open for Bon Jovi during the “Have a Nice Day Tour” in Atlanta. They also played in 2002 at the Vans Warped Tour in Atlanta and have performed at various other venues throughout the Southeast.

Kastner added that even though this weekend is packed with big appearances, the band plans on preparing the same as usual.

“We don’t change the way we practice or anything for a larger show,” he said. “We try to see it as just another show. If we see it as anything else it could make us nervous.”