There’s nothing like a little volcano ash to make a band bust a move. That’s what happened to Santa Cruz 11-piece soul ensemble The Inciters, when it got stuck in Germany this April because its plane home was grounded due to a headline-making volcanic eruption in Iceland. The band thought it had finished its European tour, but with debris looming overhead and dues to pay for last-minute room and board in Hamburg, it was show time. “We had to hustle,” founding trumpeter Rick Kendrick begins, “we were all broke, running out of money at the end of a tour, and having to pay for all of us to stay at a hostel.” While The Inciters were stranded within city limits, the halted flights also meant there was no one flying in to fill the stages. Opportunity was a knockin’. Kendrick laughs, “Luckily for us there were also clubs needing bands, so we were able to gig to play for our supper.” Ultimately, the group strutted its stuff at a different venue each night of the week, with one club putting out the word that it was holding a “benefit to get American band home.” Booming with three female vocalists, a full horn section, and the veteran panache of a 15-year history that started when Kendrick, guitarist Ken Constable, and drummer Adam Henderson formed the band that once frequented Palookaville and The Catalyst, the latest lineup continues a tradition of soul emotion inbued with danceable ska energy. After a four-year hiatus, and with new vocalist Dani Wood now lending some prolific songwriting to the soul machine (“She can write a song about what she had for dinner,” Kendrick jokes), the latest incarnation of The Inciters is enjoying Hasselhoffian fame. Signed to a German label, performing to packed European crowds, swaying through the singles “Soul Clap” and the soon-to-be-recorded homage to being trapped by ash, “The Hamburg Hustle,” Kendrick and Co. are finally returning to Santa Cruz. Playing Don Quixote’s on Saturday, June 5 for a rare hometown show with ska emissaries The Impalers, the band proves that old is new again. Metaph-orically and literally, The Inciters are sort of like a phoenix rising from the ashes.
INFO: 9 p.m. Saturday, June 5. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. $8. 603-2294. myspace.com/theinciters.