Reel Big Fish at the Forum
Ska rockers Reel Big Fish have successfully managed to reel in a sizeable crowd to the Forum for their co-headline show with Less Than Jake. The ensemble certainly appear big on the stage, with a full brass section taking centre position. Their fellow hosts thoroughly warm up the venue, but the skanking (ska dancing) has just begun.
Reel Big Fish know how to open a show. Beginning with a cover of Take On Me, a song that most people probably thought was complete, the six-piece prove that without brass instruments, it obviously isn’t. They effortlessly transition into Everyone Else Is an Asshole, conducting the audience and ensuring that no one is silent. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the group’s album Why Do They Rock So Hard? so they decide to play one track from the record, The Kids Don’t Like It, which comes equipped with a dancing section that the kids definitely seem to like. The entire place seems to move as one wave, and crowd-surfers take full advantage of it.
The band never slow, not even for a moment, going from She’s Famous Now to Your Guts in the blink of an eye. The brass section makes even the songs with the most depressing lyrics seem very upbeat. The slowest number of the set, Where Have You Been?, still has people jumping. Afterwards, everyone erupts in cheers for country music, though no one would admit it outside of the venue. Just like they would not admit their love for the track Brown-Eyed Girl, that the punk performers make their own.
New song You Can’t Have All Of Me definitely makes people try to get as much of the band as they can, the crowd absorbing their energy and making the Forum even more frantic. This is only amplified when they cover All Star and Closing Time before playing a real Reel Big Fish song, Sell Out. Ironically, this is their most mainstream hit, and the one that receives the biggest reaction. Of course, they return to the stage for an encore, playing another favourite, Beer, which has every seated person doing a final skank. English culture is different, they say; people will come out on a Tuesday to see a band. But when the band is Reel Big Fish, who wouldn’t come out on Tuesday?
From tonight’s show, you would never believe that ska is a dying genre. Like a ghost, it possesses everyone at the gig, making it live on through the echoing screams and cheers.
Photo: Helen Parish
For further information and future events visit Reel Big Fish’s website here.
Watch the video for Take On Me here: