Reely good fun...
There is always something of a gamble being taken by bands with a strong sonic identity. It will always split opinion and oft wheel out Marmite-based cliches befitting of it's receptive lovers and 'haterz'. It is without a doubt that despite having spent over ten years peddling brass-splattered ska punk, Reel Big Fish remain a band that will be either taken to adoring hearts or pushed to one side because of their genre classification. However, their notoriety to blow all of this flim flam and silly nonsense out of the water in their live performance is something that can never be doubted and never be knocked. These Californians do the business when it comes to putting on a show.
Coming out to a crowd that filled out drastically as their set drew nearer, Reel Big Fish still attract die hard fans who love to sing and dance 'til their lungs burst and their feet have been skanked off. It's quite amazing to consider the reception that a group of ageing gents with a dress sense seemingly influenced by Timmy Mallett's 'Wacaday' era can inspire. If one speculated on the response that someone approaching forty might usually get if they were to sing about their missus copping off with another lady (She Has A Girlfriend Now) or throwing a wobbly (Everything Sucks)... well, it just wouldn't work. Reel Big Fish still possess the same sense of fun and charm that allows them to get away with pretty much anything from hideous shirts to making 80s cheese Classics sound like a rock anthem (Take On Me) and do so with all the class that Tom DeLonge loses every time he still mentions his Dad's dick or some such other infantile 'banter'.
Having a bird's eye view of the pit from a balcony at one point of the gig, it was amazing to see how savage the crowd could get in the throes of joy that were sparked by the opening sunshine-filled chords of Beer and Where Have You Been?... it did feel like everyone felt able to regress to their hardiest, teenage form. We all remember how invincible we felt in the face of a circle pit in our bruised, battered, gig-going youth. This couldn't have been made any more apparent with the excitement of the multiple reworkings of S.R, the now legendary live adaptations into genres spanning from Disco to Metal whipping the crowd up into a dancing frenzy not seen since John Travolta's heyday. You can't do anything but enjoy something like that.
You may not like the trumpets. You may not like their wardrobe. You may not even like fish. But you know what, please put this band on your future gigs list if you've not seen them already. If you've not had a good night at the end of it then there really is something wrong. Reel Big Fish still rule the live circuit. Fact.