Reel Big Fish

support Skindred + The Matches
author PP date 24/09/05 venue The Forum, London, UK

If there's one universal truth out there, it must be that the Reel Big Fish (nearly) always put on a great show, and tonight was no exception. With support from as well appreciated underground bands as the harmonious My Awesome Compilation, the quickly rising underground pop punk stars The Matches, and the raggapunkers Skindred there was little chance that it could go wrong tonight. On top of this, The Forum is generally noted to have a great sound quality despite it's old, mid 20th century theatre look, so all signs were pointing towards a great night out for everyone involved. Unfortunately, the undersigned arrived just a few minutes too late to catch any of My Awesome Compilations short twenty minute set, so even though there's no writeup about them, they were still present.

The Matches

Luckily enough, I was able to buy myself a beer before The Matches entered the stage. And my god, they have just won the award for being the most hyperactive band I have ever seen on stage. Back in February, when Fall Out Boy ran around the Mean Fiddler stage jumping up and down like maniacs, I thought I had seen the fastest band alive. But The Matches took all of that and multiplied it by two. Consequently, my camera wasn't fast enough to catch them in action, and thus most of the photos of the band are blurry, overseeing the few exceptions. SLOW DOWN GUYS, MY CAMERA CAN'T TAKE IT! Despite my preconceptions about the band, they proved that they can put on a great show and that they don't lack in the song material side either. On top of that, they had one of the most colourful light shows I've seen to date. Excessive amounts of bright green, bright red, and bright yellow compared to the very few white/dim lights resulted in my eyes to fall in love with their set. On a sidenote, some poseur pretending to be cool decided to give the band the finger throughout the set. Ironically, the same hypocrit was seen enjoying himself in a circle pit a few songs later. Speaking of which, The Matches managed to set two huge pits off on both ends of the floor, something which I'd call surprising from a second support band. Part of this is owes thanks to their charismatic frontman Shawn Harris' crowd control skills. It was clear that he's taken a good couple of advices from Billie Joe Armstrong. Shawn finished the set by having a random guy (could have been a member of MAC) running onto the stage, grabbing his guitar and playing the rest of the guitar riffs, while Shawn jumped off stage, climbed on top of the fence separating the crowd and the photographers, and finished the remaining vocals while standing high up just above the crowd. A great ending to a surprisingly good show.

8

Skindred

Skindred's influences come from all extremes of the music spectrum; Reggae, hip-hop, metal, punk, dancehall and drum & bass. It might sound like an impossible task to mix these genres together, but Skindred are successful at it, as their performance proved tonight. They're fronted by Benji, whom I'd call the common Bob Marley lookalike: A big Jamaican-looking guy with dreadlocked hair. He demonstrated an extensive variety of vocal talent, all the way from the reggae-style worryless singing of "Set It Off" into the hardcore screaming of "Pressure". Curiously enough, about half an hour ago the standing area had been taken over by two circle pits during The Matches' set, but now when I laid my eyes on the floor, it resembled more of Club Oceana's dance floor, rather than the common mosh and/or circle pits we're used to at rock concerts. And that's the beauty of Skindred; they can be loved by everyone no matter which musical background they come from. The alternation between mosh pits and a dancefloor was present throughout the entirety of Skindred's set.

On a funny sidenote, the same, previously mentioned faggot was giving this band the finger, like during The Matches, as the only member of the crowd to do so. In fact, he decided it would be funny to throw a can/pint of beer at Benji just as the band finished their second song. As far as I recall the events continued like this: "Hey! Was that for me? Was that for me? Who threw it? That guy there? You threw it? Come on over here! Come on!" and he walked all the way to the edge of the stage, where the poseur was standing. Now, the rest wasn't said to the mic but Benji told him something and continued onto the third song. Similarly, as the crowd was chanting "Reel Big Fish, Reel Big Fish" in between their songs, he told the crowd "Hey I know you guys want to see them, but let’s rock until they come on". My only real criticism of their set is their lightshow. After the vibrant, multicolored lightshow of The Matches, Skindred's dark lightshow was somewhat dull. It was perhaps a bit too dark, as it was difficult to see the drummer on stage from far away at the worst times. Otherwise, a good performance, though rather wasted on a Reel Big Fish crowd.

7

Reel Big Fish

I've seen Reel Big Fish twice before, and the venues just keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger, showcasing their rising popularity in Europe. I must admit I didn't have very big expectations for tonight, as last time, near the release of the new album, the band was more than obviously unhappy with their record, each other, and probably the fact that they had to be on tour as well. But tonight, Reel Big Fish was a wholly new band. They were evidently having great fun on stage, proved by their small, almost unnoticable witty remarks to each other during and/or in the middle of their songs. They had seemingly changed their opinion about the new album, as they kept on going "Hey guys you know we have a new album out, what's it called Dan? Dan: We're NOT HAPPY TIL YOU'RE NOT HAPPY. Are you happy? [to the crowd]" often enough that you would've needed to be deaf to not notice it.

As usual, lots of underwear was thrown onto the stage alongside with a makeup bag, which prompted Aaron to try to (unsuccessfully, he was too sweaty) paint Dan's face with lipstick. Other between songs stageshow included Aaron (and the rest of the crowd) demanding Scott to take off his shirt with chants like "Take it off, take it off", which he repeatedly denied to do. And during the next song Aaron secretly snuck behind his back and tried to take it off by using brute force, causing laughter from the crowd and the rest of the band. Scott's defense was that he is apparently "very self concious about his upper body". And even though the trumpet player took off his pants (UK readers: Pants = Trousers) to convince him, he refused to remove his shirt to the disappointment of the females (and some males, too, as far as I could tell from people's chants).

On top of the wit onstage, their setlist played a huge part into making this a truly unforgettable Reel Big Fish gig. Unlike last time, the useless songs like "Revolution" and "A-W-E-S-O-M-E" were left off of their set, which consisted of, pretty much, my ultimate Reel Big Fish setlist with one or two exceptions like "Dateless Losers". The crowd loved it too, everyone was dancing and having a great time, even though the previously mentioned poseur and his friends tried to ruin it for all by destroying the skanking pits (p.s i hope you guys burn in hell). They were seemingly trying to cause as much damage to their surroundings as possible, so Dan's skanking teachings were pretty much useless tonight (Yes, he actually taught the crowd how to skank, something I had been wanting to learn properly for a long, long time, props for that!). Overall, this was just lightyears better than the show in June. It's been long since i've enjoyed myself as much as I did during this gig. If I could do it: Nine and a half.

9

Setlist:

  • 1. Good Thing
  • 2. Your Guts (I Hate 'Em)
  • 3. Trendy
  • 4. Bad Guy
  • 5. I Want Your Girlfriend To Be My Girlfriend Too
  • 6. We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful
  • 7. Cheer Up
  • 8. Turn The Radio Off
  • 9. A Little Doubt Goes A Long Way
  • 10. Don't Start A Band
  • 11. Suburban Rhythm (S.R.)
  • 12. The Set Up (You Need This)
  • 13. The Fire
  • 14. Boss DJ
  • 15. Where Have You Been
  • 16. Everything Sucks
  • 17. Ban The Tube Top Tonight
  • 18. Story Of My Life
  • 19. Beer
  • 20. Take On Me
  • --encore
  • 21. Monkey Man
  • 22. She Has A Girlfriend Now
  • 23. Sell Out

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