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This Columbia band is known for their rowdy shows. Here’s why they’re breaking up

Debbie & the Skanks will perform their final show – Skanksgiving: The Last Waltz – on Friday, Nov. 24, at New Brookland Tavern.
Debbie & the Skanks will perform their final show – Skanksgiving: The Last Waltz – on Friday, Nov. 24, at New Brookland Tavern. provided photo

Local rock ’n’ roll band Debbie & the Skanks has been a notable part of Columbia’s music scene over the past few years. They’re known for their fiery, unapologetically rowdy live shows, and they’ve played many throughout their stint.

In doing so, the group has built a following of eager fans, joining in on their fun-loving energy.

But on Friday, Nov. 24, the band will be performing their final show during the annual Skanksgiving event at New Brookland Tavern. This event is a show and potluck for friends to gather, bring leftovers to share, and listen to some of the band’s favorite regional acts.

This third and final Skanksgiving has been named “The Last Waltz.”

Debbie & the Skanks formed in October 2014, playing their first show in December at Art Bar. Foreshadowing the band’s local success, the show sold out.

On July 4, 2015, the group played a show on the State House steps, in front of hundreds of people, at a rally to take down the Confederate flag. Later that year, they opened for Blonde Redhead at the Jam Room Music Festival. The band threw their first Skanksgiving that year.

Since then, they’ve become known for their vibrant live shows, attracting anyone looking for a good show and a great time.

Lead singer Deborah Adedokun is the source of much of the band’s raw energy. Her powerful, soulful voice is matched with the grit of the bluesy rock tunes, giving the band a punk edge.

Describing another one of the band’s highlights, supporting Athens, Georgia-based Shehehe at Art Bar, she said, “Everyone was so into it, and it was packed for our set. It made me think, ‘OK, maybe I’m not just getting up here and embarrassing myself. Maybe I can actually do it.’ 

The band’s farewell comes as a surprise for many of their enthusiastic fans, but changes in the members’ lives have dictated the change -- finding the time to practice and write new material just wasn’t possible anymore.

For starters, not all of the members live in Columbia. Adedokun is also in school, which takes up much of her time.

“We all knew it was coming,” she explains. “It’s not as fun when you’re playing the same songs over and over again.”

With all that in mind, she said, the band feels it’s better to end things on a good note.

The final Skanksgiving will mark the end of an era in some ways, but it won’t be the last one sees of all of them.

Bassist Brett Kent lives in Asheville, North Carolina, and plays in psych-rock band Survival Crimes. Adedokun also plans to continue making music in the future, once her schedule settles down.

Adedokun hopes to leave people with the inspiration to do what she did and try something they may have never thought to do.

“I hope people start their own bands, especially people who’ve never done it before, who don’t think they should do it, or have all sorts of reasons why they can’t do it,” she said.

Before starting the Skanks, she was apprehensive about performing in front of people, but she’s glad she took the chance.

“Anyone can do it, and everyone should,” she said.

If you go

Skanksgiving, featuring Debbie and the Skanks with Los Perdidos, fk mt., Muscle Memory, 2 Slices and Boo Hag.

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 24.

WHERE: New Brookland Tavern, 122 State St., West Columbia.

TICKETS: $10.

INFO: www.newbrooklandtavern.com.

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