You know they have a good thing going…………and I don’t want to see that end!
I suppose ska punk died a commercial death a good few years ago. Fads come and go and music media can dictate what is hot and what is not. Reel Big Fish however are still going strong. Predominately a 365 days a year touring band they bring the fun back to shows and have been creating a party atmosphere for over two decades now.
Yes they are predictable (which in my opinion really works), but unlike others before them and those to come, it’s their musicianship led by Aaron Barrett that set the Huntingdon Beach band apart from those have come and gone over the years.
Reel Big Fish’s music seems to transcend age ranges (I’m 36 and I came with my 11 year old son tonight) which demonstrates the appeal of this band. The songs stand the test of time and after over 25 songs have been played the ringing last notes of their ‘Take on me’ Aha cover echo out through Manchester the crowd who still stand shouting their name over and over again.
The opening chimes of the theme to Superman introduce the band and from that moment the onslaught of crowd-pleasing anthems captivate and mesmerise a sold out Manchester Academy 2.
Every song is a classic anthem. Some bitter about the music industry big boys (Sell Out, Another FU song) some about lost love and the toils of relationships all provided in a beautiful tongue in cheek way (She has a girlfriend now, Ban the Tube Top) and others just pure energy and fun (Beer, Trendy).
The fun doesn’t seem to stop and every member of the band have their own part to play in the performance. The brass section is crystal clear and the rhythm section creates the backdrop for Aaron’s guitar play and vocal range. Everything just sits perfectly.
Suburban Rhythm (S.R>) is the perfect song to highlight this (“the next song…….which is the same song!!”) tightly crafted musicianship. Tonight we have the ska version, death metal version, hoedown version and even a prince lovesexy version!!
There are covers thrown in (Brown Eyed Girl, Kiss Me Deadly) guest appearances (Manchester’s own Sonic Boom Six’s Laila) and more or less all the hits, near misses and every album covered.
Even when the words are forgotten (Where have you been) the crowd sing along as if it’s all part of the plan. Swaying arms, handclaps audience involvement is all their. You are always part of the concert not just a ticket holder.
As we walk out of the Academy I overhear a girl say about my son clutching his first RBF tour shirt, “you see that’s what Reel big Fish do, the let kids enjoy music again!”.
Here’s to the next 20 years, they have a good thing going and for the crowd in Manchester, me and my son we don’t want to see that end.