Reel Big Fish

support Ramjet
author PP date 07/06/05 venue Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN

It's been less than a year since Reel Big Fish last time performed in the promised land of electronic music, namely Denmark. Last time they performed at the sold-out 250 capacity bar Loppen, but this time the venue was twice as big - namely Pumpehuset. An old factory hall that houses 500 people on a sold out day, but to the disappointment of the promoters the show only sold roughly 350 to 400 tickets tonight. The setup for tonight's show was exactly the same as last time - Reel Big Fish has just released a new album and the support band is the Danish ska-group Ramjet.

Ramjet

Last year, Ramjet failed to impress me even though they didn't play badly at all. There was just nothing in their set that really caught my attention even after five beers. Tonight, the development from last year was phenomenal. Ramjet delivered a set that any band could be proud of. It's been long since i've seen as innovative stage performance as from their trumpet and trombone players tonight. The trombone and trumpet moved up and down swiftly, synchronized on each of the notes they played. Sounds like an easy job to do, but try do it yourself! And during the guitar-bass-drums only parts, the duo jumped around the stage playing air guitar with their respective instruments. During guitar solos, the trumpet player seemed to enjoy jumping near the guitar player, pretending to play the solo himself on his trumpet.

But that wasn't the only thing that made me fall in love with their stage performance. Their singer, dressed in a casual collar shirt and jeans, ska-danced throughout their set around the stage. He seemed like a troll, a robot, a rabbit and god knows what else at the same time. His jumping, running around the stage, and hand movements in a robotic way kept me interested in the band without knowing any of their material beforehand. And I must admit that their overall material was way better than last time, as well. Songs like "Dial Me" are ska at its best and will stick to your memory better than a piece of paper superglued onto the ceiling. Great performance from the up and coming Danish skasters Ramjet.

8

Reel Big Fish

"Tonight's The Night", "YES INDEED, TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT" were comments and shouts from Aaron and Scott of Reel Big Fish throughout the concert. Every three songs or so, they kept saying "Tonight's The Night". I still haven't quite figured out what they meant with it in the end, but as they seemed to say it right before all the songs that talked about girls and girlfriends, I suppose they meant that tonight was the night to find new girl/boyfriends to dance with amongs the crowd. 400 or so people had gathered to watch this unique band from Orange County to perform for the second time in Denmark. And boy, did they put on a great show. 1 hour and 45 minutes of ska and ska-punk and 25 songs are what proves that Reel Big Fish is a band that will charm everyone in the crowds. You're guaranteed to have a great time in a Reel Big Fish gig, especially when almost all of the songs are superb and ska-dancable like tonight. While most of the other gigs I attend seem to have a circle pit that's more dangerous than running across a busy highway, the Reel Big Fish pits include just people ska-dancing around, roughly equivalent of only running across a busy parkway.

The gig kicked off "The Fire", one of the best songs from their newest album "We're Not Happy 'Til You're Not Happy". Already during the first song we saw the ska-pits with people dancing around with each other near the stage. The stage setup was strange as well - no barriers to the stage so anyone could climb up to the stage and jam with the band. The security was positioned behind the band, ready to jump out and push people back into the crowd. And actually, quite a few times some people, who clearly were out of their minds, jumped on the stage only to do a huge stage jump into the dancing crowd. Now, I must note that the crowd was not very dense right in front of the stage (You could walk all the way from the back of the venue right to the very front of the stage without a problem), as people were dancing and others were trying to stay out of their way, so most of these senseless crowd jumps ended on the floor after doing some collateral damage.

Aaron's ska-dancing and rotating around his own axis while playing guitar solos was a fine addition to the awesome song material tonight. Multi-talented Scott switched from trumpet to guitar more often than most people change their socks, and gave some nice backup vocals to Aaron's singing. He seems to have a tendency of having his right arm behind his back when he's singing. Why? I don't know, but it made him look more concentrated and more passionate while he was singing the vocals. The trumpet and trombone players (the latter which had been switched since last year) seemed to do a similar note-synchronized performance as Ramjet earlier. Their trumpet player, seemed to be the most active of the two. Every now and then he climbed nearly all the way to the crowd while playing a trumpet solo, with the microphone on his left hand in front of the trumpet.

Their bassist, Matt Wong, was positioned behind all of the other members of the band, next to the drummer. I don't quite understand his positioning, because it was exactly the same as last time they played. Does he have a slight stage frightness or what? It's difficult to shine out when people have a hard time seeing what you're doing. I tried my best, but the only thing I could notice was just jamming. He seemed to play his stuff, without much passion or movement. But then again, the stage wasn't too big, so there was not that much space for a 5 in a row setup, so perhaps that was the reason. Fortunately, though, the other members of the band kept the show high up in Reel Big Fish's standards, so this was no biggie. Just a slight thing some people might have noted, that's all.

Overall the crowd received Reel Big Fish very well. I don't know how to spell this but I am going to attempt to anyway. Some people in front of the stage had brought in a small tambourine-fish (actually the Fish was quite big, no pun intended!), which flip-flapped together with the drum and trombone beat. The band actually noticed it, took it up on the stage with them and performed a song with the fish flip-flopping with them on stage. But in general, I felt that the band didn't address the crowd enough. The rare "Is everyone having a good time?" and "Tonight's the night" comments didn't reveal any secrets about the band, possible future tours or even anything about a possible next album. No comments about how the tour had gone so far either. Being a fan of the band I would've been interested in something similar to this.

Everyone has their favorites, and thus not everyone can be satisfied even with 25 songs on the setlist. Lots of my personal favorites like "Ban The Tube Top", "The Fire", "Beer", "She Has A Girlfriend Now" and others were performed, but where was "Dateless Losers"? What about "Boss DJ", "Rock N Roll Is Bitching", "Drinkin'", "Cheer Up" and "What Are Friends For"?. I would've left out songs like "Talkin' Bout A Revolution" and "Skatanic" in order to fit in at least two of my other favorites. The setlist relied on all of Reel Big Fish's albums, and perhaps that was not such a wise choice for the Danish stop, as they are a relatively new band over here (well so is every rock band, god damn technofreaks). But, as I said, not everyone can be satisfied, and everyone had a good time tonight. That's what matters!

8

Setlist:

  • 1. The Fire
  • 2. She's Famous Now
  • 3. Join The Club
  • 4. All I Want Is More
  • 5. Scott's A Dork
  • 6. Suckers
  • 7. Everything Sucks
  • 8. Ban The Tube Top
  • 9. Good Thing
  • 10. Your Guts (I Hate 'Em)
  • 11. Trendy
  • 12. She Has A Girlfriend Now
  • 13. Turn The Radio Off
  • 14. Somebody Loved Me
  • 15. Skatanic
  • 16. A-W-E-S-O-M-E
  • 17. Set Up
  • 18. Where Have You Been?
  • 19. Talkin' Bout A Revolution
  • 20. Beer
  • 21. Sell Out

--Encore--

  • 22. A Little Doubt Goes A Long Way
  • 23. Don't Start A Band
  • 24. Suburban Rhythm
  • 25. Take On Me

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