Phat Fish INTRODUCTION I've only been a fan of Reel Big Fish for about a year now, but all I can say is 'oh my God!'. I went to see them at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London on the 15th with a couple of friends from Cornwall as well as a few friends from London and I can definitely say that it was one of the best concerts that I have been to in a long time. having been to the Reading Festival in 2001 for the entire weekend, seeing Reef perform near my home town in quaint ol' Cornwall and also to see Nickleback last november, I've had a fair insight into the sweaty and loud environment of concerts, and I tell ya, I have nothing to do other than to extol RBF for both their ability to entertain the masses and to make the mere £20 well worth it. Even the train journey from Aber to London (which may i add was delayed by just over two hours [trains are evil]) was a fantastic investment, knowing that I would soon be seeing a group of fish singing in front of thousands of people! BACKGROUND RBF cover two main genre of music, namely ska and rock. Admittedly, I don't actually know how to define ska, all I know is that I like it! I think it has something to do with trumpets. Anyhoo, RBF have also done a few covers ranging from Frank Sinatra's 'New York, New York' to Aha's 'Take on me' (which was the soundtrack to Matt Stone and Trey Parker's film, 'Baseketball'). The band itself consists of the main singer, Aaron, two trumpet players, Dan and Travis, the drummer, Scott and the guy on the keyboard, Matt. The cool thing about this band
is the diverse range of ethnic minorities as Matt is Chinese and Travis is an Afro-Caribbean. Their three main albums are called 'Cheer Up', 'Turn The Radio Off' and 'Why Do They Rock So Hard?'. I think there is also a fourth album too, however, this mainly consists of tracks from the aforementioned works of art, as well as a few others that didn't make it onto the other three albums. BEFORE THE GIG The venue is pretty easy to find and you can take either the Central Line (red) or the Hammersmith & City Line (pink) to get there. Both lines have Shepherd's Bush as a destination, and although the Tube is a bit smelly, it's generally very reliable, with trains coming every 5 minutes or so. Don't be daunted by the complex looking Underground map as it's very easy to decipher. As Mike, Mandie, Emine, Emma, Rachael and myself got closer to Shepherd's Bush Empire, we could feel the atmosphere as we drew closer to the arena. Drinking in the environment, we made our way to the queue, where we were told that Rich, Emine's boyfriend, had secured us a place in the queue. What we weren't told however, was that he was second in line! Of course, this worked towards our advantage really well and we managed to squeeze in, thus getting through the doors more or less as soon as they opened. It was rather lucky really that Mike was with me at the time, as I'm a short lad and he towers over most people, so there were no complaints from the people who had been queuing since 11am (the gig was at 7pm) when we got in line at 6pm! I know that this is unethical and I don't usually have a propensity to do that very frequently, but how often do you get to see
one of your favourite bands perform live, and have the opportunity to stand no less than 15 feet away from them?! PRE-FISH As with most concerts, there were defenceless beach balls being tossed around in the sea of people. Unfortunately, many were either deflated or stabbed by heinous technicians who were tending to the speakers on-stage by penknives, which they probably carry in order to compensate for something? ahem. Yes, I was annoyed, but mainly because I wanted to take a beach ball home as a trophy in case I didn?t catch the lead singer?s plectrum (like I did when I saw Nickleback). This was the one thing I didn?t like compared to Nickleback, I didn?t get to take anything home other than a boot leg T-shirt from a dodgy tout outside. The warm up band was a semi-popular King Prawn (how apt) who I had never heard of until the night, however, I have been converted to their music as my taste ranges from cheese to rock, with King Prawn being the latter. King Prawn also includes an Asian guy and also a weird, yet highly skilled, bald man in a white robe. After having witnessed King Prawn strutting their stuff, the restless crowd were hungry for more and chants of ?Reel Big Fish, Reel Big Fish? filled the arena after they dispatched. REELING IN THE KUDOS The one thing I love so much about concerts is the unity that they provide to people from all walks of life that attend. The crowd consisted of all sorts, ranging from the very young to the middle aged, short, tall, thin and uh, not so thin. There were your typical punk rockers, a few Goths here and there and an equal ratio of male to female, so this is one band that doesn?t conform to the typical boyish type music such as t
he Bloodhound Gang, to the girlie type music such as Avril Lavigne (my apologises to anyone of the opposite sex who owns such music [I have both by the way, and I borrowed the Hooray For Boobies album from my friend Rosie]). There was a bit of violence within the crowd, mainly due to moshing and the gits who crowd surf and ruin it for everyone else. I suppose in the way, the crowd surfers provide unity to the rest of the audience as those of us who were crushed by their bulk tended to toss them rather violently as we were trying to enjoy the atmosphere. To this day, I still don?t feel guilty about stealing one of their shoes as they kicked the back of my head on their way past! Now, I?m not usually easily annoyed, but it was the last straw when I was smacked by the same girl in a short tartan skirt every time she surfed past (every time as in more than one, six times in fact, that is, before I lost count)! Crowd surfers also ruined Mandie?s night as well, as when RBF were singing Thank You For Not Moshing, she was moshed straight into the barrier and consequently sprained her wrist and had to be hoisted over the barrier and carted off to an ambulance. However, this gives me an excuse to go again should they play in a geographically desirable area, as I could claim that it?s tradition that Mike, Mandie and I should attend RBF?s concerts together! ;) Before and during the gig, Travis was continually swigging from a bottle of Jack Daniel?s, and taunting the dehydrated audience by pouring ice cold beer over himself. I don?t even like beer, but it was cold and wet and I daren?t go to the bar as I?d never get back to the front! I simply had to rely on the kindness of strangers and gulp down their water. Fortunately, being crammed like sardines and sweating profusely, I su
ppose they could sympathise and many were willing to part with their liquid refreshments. Phew! RBF opened up their phenomenal performance with Beer and proceeded to play songs from all three of their main albums. These include Trendy, Ban The Tube Top, Skatanic, Where Have You Been?, She Has A Girlfriend Now and many, many more. By the end of the night, most of our party had lost our voices due to the excessive singing and cheering we were doing, a bit like a night out on the tiles, but sober! Being with so many likeminded people that night was so refreshing, considering that I only know a handful of people who have actually heard of RBF, let alone own any of their albums. Overall, I had an absolutely amazing time and the excitement and adrenaline was well worth the price of a night out getting drunk. TRACK LISTINGS ?Cheer Up? 1) Good Thing 2) Somebody Loved Me 3) Ban The Tube Top 4) Cheer Up 5) Where Have You Been? 6) Suckers 7) What Are Friends For 8) A Little Doubt Goes A Long Way 9) Dateless Losers 10) Valerie 11) Rock ?N? Roll Is Bitchin? 12) New York, New York 13) Sayonara Senorita 14) Boss DJ 15) Brand New Hero 16) Drunk Again 17) Kiss Me Deadly 18) Rock It With I 19) Give It To Me (hidden track on the end of Rock It With I at 5m42s) ?Turn The Radio Off? 1) Sell Out 2) Trendy 3) Join The Club 4) She Has A Gi
rlfriend Now 5) Snoop Dog, Baby 6) Beer 7) 241 8) Everything Sucks 9) S.R. 10) Skatanic 11) All I Want Is More 12) Nothin? 13) Say ?TEN? 14) I?ll Never Be 15) Alternative, Baby ?Why Do The Rock So Hard?? 1) Somebody Hates Me 2) Brand New Song 3) She?s Famous Now 4) You Don?t Know 5) Set Up (You Need This) 6) Thank You For Not Moshing 7) I?m Cool 8) I Want Your Girlfriend To Be My Girlfriend Too 9) Everything Is Cool 10) Sleep All Day 11) Scott?s A Dork 12) Big Star 13) The Kids Don?t Like It 14) Down In Flames 15) We Care 16) Victory Over Peter Bones
I won't write out the history of the fish because every other opinion has already done that for me. Now I heard reel big fish awhile back when downloading random tracks from napster and was hooked. The catchy riffs and upbeat trumpets go well with the funny lyrics and makes a change from every droning, depressing bands that seem to be in fashion at the moment (every other kid has a slipknot hoody). So lighten up, download some fish songs and enjoy the music you listen too! Recommended songs: Where have you been? Sellout The Setup
I went to see Reel Big Fish at the Liverpool Uni union recently and was impressed. They are better than most ska bands around which are mostly cheesy and manufactured-looking like Sum 41. They're from the U.S where they are huge and they are growing pretty fast here too. They have six mad me. The band is made up of Aaron, Dan, Matt, Tavis, Carlos and Scott. Nice guys as well. Me and my mates met the band leader, Aaron, later that night and he was really cool. He even let us drag him all over the union to find a photo booth. Far less pretentious than OPM who we also met when we went to see them for a laugh. But anyway I'm going off on a tangent. I found their energy to be particularly exciting. The crowd was definately feeling it! I have a strong memory of a very hard, large, forceful elbow finding its way deep into my stomach. But if you can handle to pace and force of what it one giant moshpit then this is for you. Their music is all fast and designed to lift you up not take you down like some is. Definately for the happier bunch. They played a selection from the albums as well as their own version of Take On Me by A-Ha (or if your a bit younger, A1). They are definately worth seeing live if you can take it. Or failing that their CDs are: Turn The Radio Off Everything Sucks Why Do They Rock So Hard?
I recently went to Manchester Apollo to see the mediocre sum 41 and the support act was somewhat of a contradiction. What I mean is, they didn't support, they carried. This band was, REEL BIG FISH. The south Californian ska outfit, which followed in the mainstream success of fellow ska bands No Doubt and Sublime were incredible and did nothing less than shame the teeny boppers, Sum 41. Reel Big Fish showed them how to be quality entertainers and fantastic musicians. After only recently becoming a ska fan I was overjoyed to find the fish were supporting sum. The band was wasted on the crowd, the majority being nothing more than, 'fat lip' fans. What I mean by this is person who hears one song by a mainstream success and decide it’s their new favourite band. As you are guessing, yes these people were around ten. The coolest guy in punk rock is Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day but if I was asked to comprise a top ten list (which I very may well do next, check it out) I would definitely put Aaron Barrett, guitarist from the fish way up there. He was a true entertainer, talking to the crowd, introducing his songs, even spitting on a linkin park shirt someone had thrown into the crowd and not needing to say the eff word every other sentence, unlike some, or rather sum. Showing off his guitar skills to such an extent that he played the same one song in the style of blues, disco (which sounded phemoniminal), country and western and even death metal. Predictably the pit when crazy and this point, the ten year olds must be unfamiliar with the Reel Big Fish song, Thank You For Not Moshing. Paying the majority of their 45-minute set with songs from the underground ska 1995 hit, Everything Sucks and finishing with Kerrang favourite Sell Out. I think at this point I saw a few people mouthing to the lyrics but whether they were right or not, I don't know. If this band every comes your way, see them you'll en
joy it, don't see sum 41 though. They're pretty damn terrible.
Reel Big Fish are one of the best Ska/punk bands of today. that isn't a fact, thats just my opinion, but it is an opinion shared by many. Reel Big Fish's sound isn't exactly original. They sound a lot like Less Than Jake, well except for the singer. But of course that is to be expected....i mean they ARE both ska/punk, so it isnt surprising. And like Less than Jake they have some very funny song names. 'She Has A Girlfriend Now', 'I Want Your Girlfriend To Be My Girlfriend Too', 'F*ck Off Song' and 'Why Do Girls Think They're Fat?' are just a couple of examples of it. And the lyrics are just as whacky, if not more so, then the names!!! The likes of "i never thought it would end like/this just because i've got no t*tss/i'll shave my legs/i'll wear a bra/i'll even cut my p*nis off for you..." prove that htese guys have a sense of humour!!! The members of Reel Big Fish at the moment are : Matt Wong - Bass Dan Regan - Trombone Aaron Barrett - Guitar/Vocals Scott Klopfenstein - Trombone/Vocals Carlos De La Garza - Drums And their Discography reads something like this.....: Everything Sucks (Album)(1995) Everything Sucks (EP)(1998) Turn The Radio Off (Album)(1996)*4 Presses* Teen Beef (7" Vinyl)(1997)*3 Presses* Keep Your Reciept (EP)(1997) Vacation In Palm Springs (7" Vinyl)(1998)*2 Presses* Why Do They Rock So Hard? (Album)(1998) Along the way the bands has released 5 singels (Sellout, Beer, Take On Me *2 Presses*, She Has A Girlfriend Now and Setup (You Need This)) and made appearences on many Soundtracks including the BASEKetball soundtrack. Judging by their discography and the fact that they tour constantly, it is easy to see that this band deserve all the publicity that they get.....and anyone who disagrees deserves to be strung-up upside down!!! Reel Big Fish RO
Reel Big Fish are a quality up beat ska-band, just in the business to make a few bucks and have fun. The band originates from Huntington Beach, California. They first got together in the early 90's and the original band members are Ben Guzman on vocals, Aaron Barrett on guitar and vocals, Matt Wong on bass guitar and Andrew Gonzales on drums. They originally started off playing rock cover songs until the band somehow managed to get aquainted with a little thing called ska. It was originally Guzman who wanted the band to start playing ska but ironically he left the band in 1995 to go on and pursue a rock career. After Guzman left the band the remaining 3 band members decided to find some new band members that could assist them on their quest to becoming a punk/ska band. So they recruited Scott Klopfenstein on the trumpet and vocals, Tavis Werts on trumpet, Dan Reegan on trombone and Grant Barry on trombone. The band was now ready to try and break through into the mainstream and try and land a major record deal. They started to sell cassettes and demos at their concerts but this venture lacked any major backing and so the band were forced to stop after a while. Something must have worked however, because shortly afterwards the band managed to land a record deal with Mojo Records which then led to the releaseoff their album Turn The Radio Off in late 1996. The success off this album helped get the band a lot more recognition around the Californian punk/ska scene. The band now found themselves playing right alongside fellow label mates Goldfinger. The bands big break came shortly after when the huge success off their single sell-out helped push them right out into the mainstream. The band became an instant hit with millions of people and this then led to the release off their next album Keep Your Reciept. THis album also featured some off the bands earlier work, songs like I'm Cool and
Why Do Girls Think Their Fat for example. This album was a huge success as well and their follow up was extremly good and successful as well, Why Do They Rock So Hard? Lately the band has seemingly deteriorated following the departures off Gonzales and Brown, but the band have kept together regardless. An independant album they made back in 1995 was made widely available in the us in 2000.
Reel Big Fish are one of the most exciting Ska bands around at the moment. I fist got to see them in Corporation a rock club in Sheffield. The venue was packed to the the rafters, and after some quality warm up bands, Reel big Fish kicked into action. The gig was amazing, and the crowd really got into the music. There wasn't really a mosh pit but everyone was well spirited and if someone went down they helped them up. Much linking of arms and skanking was done and even a giant skanking conga at one point. So that was reel big Fish live, a band worth seeing. Apart from the live gig i'll discuss the band a little more. They play great Ska punk tunes, and have a ska'd up cover of AH HA's take on me, which always goes down well at gigs. The music is great for going clubbing too as it puts you in a good mood and is fun to dance too. You get a good selection of songs on the CD's <none of this 8 songs for £15 rubbish> and I have seen them reasonably priced in Virgin. Reel Big Fish really are a feel good band, and with all the miserable Nu-Metal around at the moment, they make a breath of fresh air for rock fans. I suggest any Ska or Rock fan out there gets a copy of one of their CD's or if you get the chance see them live, you are bound to love em !