Fireball Tour Sept 17

Fireball - Fuelling The Fire Tour

The Ritz, Manchester, UK

11th October 2017

Rating: 4.5/5




Fireball AF 5Tonight is the opening night of the second annual Fireball – Fuelling The Fire Tour, I rarely encounter sponsored tours but everytime I do it seems to be by a whisky of some description, tonight’s Fireball Whisky sponsored tour boasts an impressive five band line up featuring Anti-Flag, Mad Caddies and Reel Big Fish with support from Sweet Little Machine, ‘Fireball’s Hottest Band 2017‘, and finally the winner of the open call to local bands, Everyone And Anyone, with a different act opening each night of the tour. What’s almost impressive as tonight’s line up is the fact that tickets for tonight’s show were a mere £10, which is a bargain by anyone’s standards.

Fireball EAAWelsh five piece Everyone and Anyone are the first band up, despite the early start for the local opening act there’s still a healthy crowd present in The Ritz which steadily grows as people work their way through the stringent but friendly security. Everyone and Anyone are an eclectic looking quintet who deliver an frantic and all too brief set of pop punk, which includes a Blink-182 cover to confirm their pop punk credentials. Everyone And Anyone don’t look or sound out of place opening the Fireball – Fuelling The Fire Tour, and from their short but sweet set you can see why they won the place as the local support on the first night of the tour.
Fireball SLM 3Early into the evening I’m already regretting the decision to drive tonight as the Fireball Whisky is quite literally flowing freely tonight. There’s a short break as there’s a swift changeover to Fireball’s Hottest Band of 2017, Sweet Little Machine. They are touring in support of their freshly released Monsters EP, and their set contains almost every track from their impressive sophomore release. Sweet Little Machine take the stage and treat tonight’s set like they’re headlining, and the doors that being Fireball’s Hottest Band of 2017 has opened for them has resulted in a band whose confidence and following has increased dramatically. 
Fireball SLM 2Sweet little Machine carry elements of Green Day in their sound and their frontman, Alex Lantrua, has more than a touch of the hyperactive stage personae of Billy Joe Armstrong about him, and they close their impressive set with the anthemic title track of their latest release. Sweet Little Machine‘s material and stage presence is something that is all their own, the leg up afforded them by being Fireball’s Hottest Band 2017 would seem to have only speeded up the inevitable based on their new EP and tonight’s show, and I get the feeling that Sweet Little Machine are a band that we’ll be hearing a lot more off in the coming years.
Fireball MC 1Next up is the Mad Caddies with a long overdue return to the UK, despite the lack of new material, it’s been three long years since the Dirty Rice album was released, they remain as effervescent as ever. They channel the roots of two tone and ska and blend it with dub, punk, moments of hardcore and touches of ragtime jazz to create something that is unique and rather special in the overcrowded world of ska punk, and from the first song in its clear its been too long since they paid a visit to our shores. Their set is heavily reliant on their recent albums at the expense of their earlier and more frantic material, meaning that this a more laid back set than the times I’ve previously encountered them.
Fireball MC 2The Mad Caddies haven’t completely abandoned their early days though, their set gains a degree of momentum and the inclusion of Leavin‘ and Monkeys, from their classic sophomore album Duck And Cover, brings a party atmosphere to The Ritz, but for the most part the Mad Caddies deliver a ska and reggae heavy set that keeps the crowd happy, although the exclusion of tracks such as Road Rash leaves me feeling that an encore was warranted. The Fireball- Fuelling The Fire Tour has been well named as it’s the sold out crowd is warming the venue up to melting point ahead of the next act, the highly anticipated return of Anti-Flag.
Fireball AF 1By now The Ritz is at capacity and the floor is awash with discarded beer and whisky glasses, from the start of Anti-Flag‘s set wherever you were that’s where you’re staying as almost everyone is rammed into the downstairs of the venue for their set. Their rabble rousing set of course carries their signature fuck you to the right to right wing, and to say that Anti-Flag were stunning tonight is an understatement. Mid set they are joined on stage by the Reel Big Fish horn section and each song they launch into really does make you think that things can be changed for the better when they call for equality and unity, and of course a hefty dose of their venom is reserved for Donald Trump.
fireball AF 2If an Anti-Flag show indicates anything it’s that the resistance is alive and well and has a strident and eloquent voice, and it is also having a fucking good time. We need bands like Anti-Flag more than ever now, and they’ve stepped up to the plate as tonight they delivered a perfect set of resistance fuelled punk rock. Anti-fascist, anti-sexist, anti-racist, Anti-Flag walk the walk and their 45 minute set is as good as anyone I’ve seen live this year. They throw a frantic rendition of The Clash’s Should I Stay Or Should I Go into the set, a band that had a huge influence on them both politically and musically, and this is accompanied by a delerious circle pit and they end the set with half the band, including drummer Pat Thetic, in the middle of the pit.
Fireball RBFOver the course of the set tonight’s DJ has steadily transformed into Pennywise the clown, or at least a close facsimile, and the transformation is complete prior to the appearance of Reel Big Fish. They kick the party up a notch with their brass heavy ska, tracks like Everyone Else Is Asshole gets a rousing singalong from the crowd and it’s clear that this is a band that know how to deliver a set of feel good ska. The relentless upbeat party doesn’t stop, and neither does the sold out crowd that are crammed onto the dance floor. Monkey Man returns things to the roots of ska with The Maytals classic causing a unified front to back bounce
Fireball AF 3From my vantage point there literally no one who isn’t skanking, bouncing or dancing anywhere in the venue. This continues throughout Reel Big Fish‘s set, inflatables are batted about, and the atmosphere is about as good as you get, with something to suit everyone who is of a punk mentality and they deliver a set of crowd pleasers and covers that is their hallmark. Tonight’s opening date of the Fireball – Fuelling The Fire Tour has contained five very different bands, everything from the pop punk of the local openers, through, the slick punk rock of Sweet Little Machine, the hybrid ska of Mad Caddies and the politically sussed punk of Anti-Flag, that was all topped off with the party ska of Reel Big Fish

Fireball AF 4Anti-Flag‘s website is here

Mad Caddies website can be found here

Reel Big Fish‘s web presence is here

Sweet Little Machine‘s Facebook page is here

Everyone And Anyone‘s Facebook presence is here

Live photography is by Dean Unsworth, his Instagram account is located here 

You can click on any of Dean’s photos to view a slide show of the images

Reel Big Fish Appear On ‘Loud, Fast & Scary’ Compilation

Loud Fast ScaryReel Big Fish joins a host of veteran punk acts and young up-and-comers such as The Adolescents, Anti-Nowhere League, 999, UK Subs, Dwarves, The Vibrators, Riverboat Gamblers, Buck-O-Nine, Guttermouth and many more, on Punk Rock Halloween – Loud, Fast & Scary! The album is available now on CD and digital, so stick it in your goody bag and make this year’s Halloween frighteningly fun! You can purchase Loud, Fast & Scary via Cleopatra Records on CD here and digitally here

You can view Reel Big Fish‘s tour dates below Read More…

The Bottom Line Added To ‘Fireball – Fuelling The Fire’ Tour

Fireball Tour Sept 17London pop-punks The Bottom Line have been added as very special opening guests to the 17th October London date on the Fireball – Fuelling The Fire Tour. Fresh from a European tour supporting Waterparks, they will be appearing alongside Reel Big Fish, Anti-Flag, Mad Caddies and Sweet Little Machine, with The Skints replacing Anti-Flag at the Liverpool and Sheffield shows. The Fireball – Fuelling The Fire Tour is your only chance to see some of the finest live bands the international punk scene has to offer on one stage this October .
You can view the video for I Still Hate You, and the Fireball – Fuelling The Fire tour dates, below

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Sweet Little Machine Reveal ‘Monsters’ Video

Sweet Little Machine Monsters Sweet Little Machine have revealed a brand new video for ‘Monsters‘, the title track from their new EP that is set for release on 6th October 2017. The band will be opening every night on the forthcoming Fireball – Fuelling The Fire tour in October 2017 playing alongside Reel Big Fish, Anti-Flag, Mad Caddies and The Skints.

The Monsters EP can be pre-ordered here

The Fireball – Fuelling The Fire tour dates, and the Monsters video, can be viewed below Read More…

Sweet Little Machine To Release ‘Monsters’ EP

Sweet Little Machine MonstersMonsters is the new EP from Fireball’s Hottest Band 2017, Sweet Little Machine, that is due to be released on the 6th October. Monsters is an EP packed full of the kind of arena ready punk rock songs that were made for the big stage and the radio waves, and you can catch the band on tour throughout the UK with Reel Big Fish, Anti-FlagThe Skints and Mad Caddies next month on the Fireball – Fuelling The Fire tour.
You can pre-order the Monsters EP here
You can view the Fireball – Fuelling The Fire UK Tour dates below

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The Skints Added To The ‘Fireball – Fuelling The Fire’ Tour

Fireball Tour Sept 17The Skints have been added as very special guests to the Liverpool and Sheffield dates on this year’s Fireball – Fuelling The Fire Tour alongside Reel Big Fish, Mad Caddies and Sweet Little Machine, Anti-Flag will be appearing in the same slot on all other dates. In addition to The Skints being added to the line up the regional support acts for all dates have now been confirmed and there will be a special DJ set at each date from Matt Stocks, presenter and punk fanatic for the likes of Kerrang! Radio, Scuzz TV and Team Rock Radio.
You can view the Fireball – Fuelling The Fire tour dates with the regional support acts below

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Sweet Little Machine Release Stream Of ‘Monsters’

Fireball Tour 17Sheffield pop punk quartet Sweet Little Machine have announced the release of their new EP, Monsters, on the 6th October 2017, ahead of the release the band have unleashed a stream of the EP’s title track. Sweet Little Machine were chosen last year as Fireball’s Hottest Band 2017, and the band will be opening every night on the forthcoming Fireball – Fuelling The Fire Tour in October 2017 playing alongside Reel Big Fish, Anti-Flag and Mad Caddies each night.

The title tracks from the Monsters EP can be streamed here

You can view the Fireball – Fuelling The Fire tour dates below Read More…

Win The Chance To Open The UK ‘Fireball Fuelling The Fire’ Tour

Reel Big Fish Anti-Flag Mad Caddies October TourAcademy Events in association with Fireball have announced a return of the open call for local bands to play their respective hometown date on this year’s Fireball – Fuelling The Fire Tour, joining a bill that already boasts three of the biggest international names in punk and ska music in Reel Big Fish, Anti-Flag and Mad Caddies. The overall winners of the competition will be crowned Fireball’s Hottest Band 2018 and will win a place as the opening band on the entirety of next year’s tour, as well a whole host of further support throughout the year. Bands can enter the competition here until the 21st August 2017.
You can watch a teaser trailer for Fireball – Fuelling The Fire tour, and the tour dates, below

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Reel Big Fish, Anti-Flag And Mad Caddies Announce UK Tour

Reel Big Fish Anti-Flag Mad Caddies October TourAcademy Events in association with Fireball have announced the line up for the second annual Fireball – Fuelling The Fire tour which hits the road in the UK throughout October 2017. The run of dates will feature a star studded line-up of the best in punk and ska, headlined by California’s legendary ska punk outfit Reel Big Fish, with support from Pennsylvania punks Anti-Flag and California based ska punks Mad Caddies. In addition to the announced line up, Fireball’s Hottest Band 2017 winners, Sheffield quartet Sweet Little Machine, will take the opening slot on the 2017 leg of the tour. Yet again, tickets are eye wateringly cheap at just £10 each and go on general sale on Friday 26th May with O2 priority tickets on sale at 10am on Wednesday 24th May.

You can view the dates for the Fireball – Fuelling The Fire tour below

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Reel Big Fish Announce ‘The Beer Run’ US Tour

Reel Big Fish The Beer RunReel Big Fish are hitting the road again for a summer tour dubbed The Beer Run, tapping into the band’s passion for craft beer, several venues and markets on the trek will be participating in an experiential beer festival, which will include tie-ins with local breweries, tastings, lectures, drinking games and more. Joining Reel Big Fish on all dates will be The Expendables, The Queers and Tunnel Vision.

Tickets for The Beer Run go on sale today, Friday the 28th April.

You can view Reel Big Fish‘s tour dates on The Beer Run below Read More…

Reel Big Fish / Anti-Flag / Ballyhoo! / Pkew Pkew Pkew

Reel Big Fish / Anti-Flag / Ballyhoo! / Pkew Pkew Pkew

Live in Vancouver (02/09/17)

The Commodore Ballroom - Vancouver, BC




There are several types of concerts. Among others, there are some that you go to just for the hell of it with no real expectations. Sometimes you go to check out a new band you’ve never seen before. Sometimes you go just to hang with friends. Sometimes you’re bored, sometimes you’re engaged. There are times you see your favorite band for the umpteenth time and they put on the show you expect but don’t wow you – sometimes they do. You get shitty shows, and good shows, bad shows and great shows. Shows you enjoy than instantly forget, and some that stay with you long after the final chords ring out. Then you get shows that resonate so hard within you that you’re remembered why you fell in love with concerts in the first place.

Thursday’s show was that one.

A rather large four band bill topped by co-headlining sets by two wildly different bands (Reel Big Fish and Anti-Flag) celebrating twentieth anniversaries of major albums (Turn the Radio Off and Die For Your Government respectively), the show was a throwback to the old school punk tours that used to happen all the time but are an all too rare occurrence now.

Starting the night’s festivities was Toronto four piece Pkew Pkew Pkew who immediately put on the best show I’ve seen in months.

Although they would’ve been more at home in a smaller venue like the Cobalt, Pkew Pkew Pkew made the large Commodore Stage feel intimidate. With their straight forward skate-punk style,  and three alternating vocalists yelling chaotically into the microphones, Pkew Pkew Pkew put on the type of show that pulled me into this crazy scene so many years ago.

Their songs are goofy and sometimes moronic, but fun and seeped in earnestness. Songs about trying to skateboard (Mid-20s Skateboarder) and failing (Blood Clot), the need for pizza (Lets Order A Pizza), growing up (Glory Days), and drinking (Drinking In The Park, Hanging Out, Before We go Out Drinking) fill their catalog. These aren’t serious songs, but man are they fun.

You sing, you dance, you let loose in the two minute blasts of passion. For an opening band, the set was almost unheard of in terms of quality and control – this is the type of set that creates punk careers and Pkew Pkew Pkew will be at it for a long time if this is any indication of what to come.

Maryland’s reggae quartet Ballyhoo! came next and performed one of those shows that were enjoyable, but oddly forgettable.  Having just passed their twenty year mark together as a band, Ballyhoo! know how to work the stage – frontman Howi Spangler alongside keyboardist Scott Vandrey sufficiently wave their arms around and engage with the audience as they work through their Jamaican flavored tunes but it missed a certain punch.  Pulling from the likes of Pepper and IllScarlett, Spangler’s vocals are smooth and the set picked up the pace by the end; yet it still felt like what you’d expect to see from an opening band.

With a giant American flag hanging upside down behind the stage, Pittsburgh’s Anti-Flag came next celebrating twenty years of Die For Your Government and ripped into ten tracks from their debut album. It was a smart move to not play all seventeen tracks because their musicianship has definitely grown since their early days and it would’ve been a disservice to ignore some of their newer material. Nevertheless, those ten songs they played showed the foundation of what was to become from the political punk band and helped fill out the best set I’ve seen in years.

With an added guitar now, the songs are fuller and fiercer than they were as a three piece. Justin Sane’s vocals are more confident than they were twenty years ago and Chris #2’s take on Andy Flag’s original vocals fit in their modern incarnation of the band much better. You could sense the teenage angst in the songs of You’d Do the Same, Drink Drank Punk, Davey Destroyed the Punk Scene,  and Summer Squatter Go Home. Not to mention their two mainstays You’re Gonna Die For Your Government and Fuck Police Brutality that make their way into every set whether they’re celebrating the album or not. They ended the ten songs tribute portion with  Your Daddy Was a Rich Man, Your Daddy’s Fucking Dead – a song, ironically, written about Donald Trump twenty years ago and is possibly even more relevant today.

For the second half of their set, they powered through some of their biggest numbers starting with Turncoat and focused heavily on For Blood and Empire tracks including The Press Corpse, This is The End (For Your My Friend),Cities Burn and One Trillion Dollars.  Playing so many from that album made sense since that was released just over ten years ago as well.

Whether they were playing their cover of The Clash‘s Should I Stay or Should I Go or All of The Poison, All of The Pain, it didn’t really matter. Anti-Flag were always Anti-Flag.

I’ve said it before, but Anti-Flag know how to put on a show. Yes, it’s not always spur of the moment anger or unplanned outbursts – the sets are structured and planned to a T, yet the bands’ anger seems real. Chris #2’s guttural screams pull at you, Justin Sane’s political rants ring true, and Pat Thetic’s never ending smile is contagious.

It’s a set full of venomous anger and passion, orchestrated to perfection by the Pittsburgh foursome; and even though they ended the set with Bradenburg Gate instead of Drink Drank Punk, they still moved everyone back and set up the drum kit in the crowd for the final verse. It’s a shtick they do every set, but it still seems just right.  Especially since Pat Thetic stays in the crowd for ten minutes hugging everyone he sees.

It was only an hour long set. There was no encore. Without any glitz or glamour, they lowered the massive American Flag and started setting up for Reel Big Fish – but during those sixty minutes, you were able to lose yourself. Momentarily transported to another plane of existence, Anti-Flag successfully put on a set that rocked you to the core and reignited my love for live shows.

And somehow, the night still  had another sixty minutes of music.

Swapping out the angry fist pumping and circle pits, Reel Big Fish brought out the horns and skanking shoes for their co-headlining spot of the evening. It was an almost 360 degree spin in tone and performance as Aaron Barrett and his co-horts pull in the crowd through comedy and goofiness rather than anger and speed.

Starting with the Ole chant, the band began their real set with three of the famous sarcastic songs: I Want Your Girlfriend to be Mine, Another FU Song and Your Guts (I Hate ‘Em). It immediately set the pace for skanking and sing alongs before Barrett reminded everyone why they were really here: to celebrate 20 years of Turn The Radio Off.

From then on, it was Turn The Radio Off front to back – Sell Out, Trendy, Everything Sucks, S.R. (and all the possible iterations of it), Say Ten. You name it, they played it.

As Monique Powell of Save Ferris was nowhere to be seen, saxophonist Matt Appleton took over her parts on She Has A Girlfriend Now. It was a good effort, but part of me missed how Scott Klopfenstein used to deliver her parts. In fact, the entire night missed the comedy styling’s of Klopfenstein who left the band several years ago. Him and Barrett’s on stage banter used to be the icing on the cake of a Reel Big Fish set. Without him, Barrett seemed somewhat lost and no longer had that comedic edge that made Reel Big Fish what it was.

Nevertheless, the crowd was there for the music and they delivered. After completing Alternative Baby, the band celebrated the album before realizing they missed the biggest song on the album. This led them to play The Mighty Mighty BosstonesThe Impression That I Get segueing into Beer (the missed track) into The Offspring‘s Self Esteem and back into Beer. It was a nostalgia trip if you ever wanted.

A quick encore comprised of Where Have You Been and Take On Me and the night was complete. It was a punk filled, ska filled evening by two of the longer run bands in our scene. Tonight showed why it is that they’re still around.

Interview: Reel Big Fish

Reel Big FishReel Big Fish is one of those bands that appeal to large audiences, both within and outside of the punk rock community. They’re loved by die-hard fans, ska kids and punk rockers. Hell, you could play their songs in preschool and get the toddlers skanking.

The band got “mainstream big” with a few solid hits during the 90’s and early 00’s. That’s probably when  most of you reading this got to know Reel Big Fish. These days the band releases their material independently, “Candy Coated Fury” (2012) being the last studio album to have come out.

So when we  got the chance to sit down with Aaron Barrett, the face and only remaining founding member of the band, we finally got to ask him about being Sell Out‘s on MTV and about his favourite Beer. I even asked for some fashion advice.

Read the interview here.

Reel Big Fish

Reel Big FIsh

Aaron Barrett

Rock Ridge Music
By on November 13th, 2015 at Het Depot - Leuven, Belgium



Reel Big Fish is one of those bands that appeal to large audiences, both within and outside of the punk rock community. They’re loved by die-hard fans, ska kids and punk rockers. Hell, you could play their songs in preschool and get the toddlers skanking.

The band got “mainstream big” with a few solid hits during the 90’s and early 00’s. That’s when I, and probably most of you reading this, got to know Reel Big Fish. These days the band releases their material independently, “Candy Coated Fury” (2012) being the last studio album to have come out.

So when I got the chance to sit down with Aaron Barrett, the face and only remaining founding member of the band, I finally got to ask him about being Sell Out‘s on MTV and about his favourite Beer. I even asked for some fashion advice.

Read More…

Tours: Less Than Jake / Reel Big Fish

Less Than JakeGainesville, Fla., ska-punk legends Less Than Jake announced the second part of their co-headlining tour with fellow ska act from Orange County, Calif., Reel Big Fish. After finishing up a winter tour, both bands will be back this spring and summer. Check out the dates below.

Less Than Jake are touring in continued support of their 2013 release See The Light via Fat Wreck Chords.

LTJ frontman Chris DeMakes commented,

“The second (and third) leg of the Less Than Jake / Reel Big Fish tour is coming soon to a town near you! If this proves to be anything like the January and February run that we did, I cannot be any more excited. Every night was like a party that I was never invited to growing up. All of the shows were sweaty and packed with beer soaked sing-alongs. I couldn’t be happier to fly the ska-punk flag in 2015 with our friends, Reel Big Fish!

Touring in support of the headliners on select dates are Pacific Dub, The Interrupters and BALLYHOO!.

Less Than Jake and Reel Big Fish spring/summer tour dates:

Read More…

Reel Big Fish Announce Christmas EP; Announce Winter Tour

Reel Big FishReel Big Fish has announced plans to release their first holiday album.  

The disc will be titled Happy Skalidays and will be available this Winter. The EP will feature the long running ska-rock act’s twisted spin on holiday classics.

The band will also be heading on tour in late November through February of next year.

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Stream: The Jellycats – ‘Home’

jellycatsFollowing a support slot on the recent UK tour of ska punk legends Reel big Fish, Essex, UK ska/pop/punks The Jellycats are streaming a new track online. The song, Home, is taken from their upcoming EP A&E (Alcohol & Egos) which the band themselves aim to release in October. 

Check out the stream below.

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Tours: Reel Big Fish

Reel Big FishLong standing O.C. ska-punk Reel Big Fish has announced summer tour dates.  The band continues to support their 2012 full length, Candy Coated Fury, available now via Rock Ridge Music.

New tour dates are available below.

Read More…


Tours: Reel Big Fish

Reel Big FishLong standing O.C. ska-punk Reel Big Fish has announced additional dates to extend their current tour into June.  The band continues to support their 2012 full length, Candy Coated Fury, available now via Rock Ridge Music.

New tour dates are available below.

Read More…


Tour: Reel Big Fish

Reel Big FishLong standing O.C. ska-punk Reel Big Fish has has kicked off the third leg of their “Don’t Stop Skankin’ Tour.”  Dates include South American destinations with U.S. dates following and string of UK and Europe summer festival dates.

Tour dates are available below.

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Live Concert Review

Reel Big Fish, Zebrahead, Wakefield, The Matches

Live (June 26th, 2003)

Red's - Edmonton, Alberta




Around 8 o’clock The Matches started playing their set to a fairly small crowd. Being in a small crowd does have its advantages and disadvantages. If you’ve ever been in a mosh pit, then you know that with it comes a sort of excitement and energy, but also a somewhat bad view of the stage at times; in a small crowd you lose some of that excitement, but then get a perfect view of the stage. Incredibly energized, the three guitarists and vocalists of The Matches, Shawn, Jon and Justin, were jumping around all over the place singing loudly and getting you pumped up. Halfway through the first song the guitar strap on front man Shawn Harris broke and he was forced to hold his guitar is a more unusual position. After the song he told the crowd “Well I now know I can’t last three days without changing my guitar strap“. Their set was really good, the only downside was that the vocals were drowned out a big by the powerful musical instruments. After their final track, Chain Me Free, they started putting away all their gear and wires. Doing it all themselves in true do-it-yourself fashion. Once they were done they went into the crowd and talked to everyone who was there. Handing out free stickers, signing stuff, and getting e-mails for their e-mail list. These punkers are true followers of the Do-it-Yourself tradition.

Wakefield came up on the stage next, the pit was a bit fuller but not by much. They played a good set, but not as good as the opening act. They played songs like Positive ReinforcementSold Out,Infamous, and many more. They ended their set with their single, Sold Out, and left as the crowd got ready to be awed by Zebrahead (at the announcement by Wakefield that they were coming up, somewhat was nice enough to yell “How do you give a zebra head?“. Which was  received by an onslaught of laughter).

By the time Zebrahead was playing, the pit was practically full and really energized. Everyone was jumping around and singing along with the band, this by far was the best set of the night. They played a load of songs from their new album and some old classics (like Playmate Of The Year and The Hell That Is My Life). One of the crowd favorites from the new album (let’s call it the “Fuck Song“) started off with a chorus which everyone was able to sing along with:
Fuck, Fuck, Fuck, Fuck, Mother Fucking Fuck, Fuck, Mother Fucking Fuck” (or something like that). This got an amazing cheer from the pit. Halfway through the set the vocalist/guitarist, Justin Mauriello, asked who was in a band. A couple hands shot up and yelled out loud, he then carried on saying “Ever hear a song on the radio or TV and wonder why that song is on but yours isn’t? Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret, it’s all because of four chords.” He then played four chords and they went into a song. It started off as Swing Swing by The All-American Rejects (which, coincidently, the guitarist from Wakefield was wearing a shirt off the set before), it then morphed into another song (I am not sure what one) then once again into What’s My Age Again by Blink182, then ending the song off was another one (which, once again I forget which). “Ya, all four chords” they then went into Playmate of The Year (another crowd favorite).

Finally the headliners stepped onto the stage and received a loud cheer as they opened with Sell OutReel Big Fish played for a set little over an hour long, singing songs like BeerWhere Have You Been and Good Thing. Plus many older tracks from their previous releases. Tyler and Dan (trombones) continually energized the crowd as they did many different tactics. Maybe it was the bee costume Dan was in, the freaky afro type hair-do of Tyler, or the beer that they continually drowned down, they were always doing something when they had a spare moment. Once they were done their set, the crowd cheered for an encore. Tyler came onto the stage saying that it was the most excruciating night of his life, and instead of playing their encore, he was going to go backstage and drink beer. He left and 30 seconds later the band came on with Aaron and Scott talking. Just before they went into a song, Tyler wandered onstage with a beer bottle in his hand, saying since we paid for the show, he might’ve well get drunk and have some fun! They played a couple more songs before really leaving and the crowd slowly separated after a night of terrific entertainment!

Tour: Reel Big Fish / Goldfinger / Five Iron Frenzy

Reel Big FishReel Big Fish has announced that they will be touring with Goldfinger and Five Iron Frenzy this fall.  Dates include South American destinations.  A UK co-headliner with Less Than Jake and special guest Zebrahead kicks off in late January.

Tour dates can be found below.

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Live Concert Review

Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, The Flatliners

Live (Sept. 21st, 2008)

Edmonton Events Centre - Edmonton, Alberta




Yes, it was Sunday night. Yes, I had an eight o’clock class the next morning. Yes, I was battling a cold that had been going around. But no, it wasn’t time to sleep and get a good’s night rest. It was, instead, a time to put on your dancing shoes. To go out with friends, head down to the world’s largest shopping mall and see one hell of a good ska show. After all, it had been far too long since a good ska show came to Edmonton (the last one featured Reel Big Fish almost two years ago) and we weren’t about to let this one pass us by.

Unfortunately, I ended up missing the opening band, The Real Deal as I did an interview with Less Than Jake backstage. But I was able to get back in front of the stage by the time Toronto’s The Flatliners came on. While not really a full fledge ska band – in fact they lean much more towards the dirty punk rock sound with a few ska upstrokes thrown in for good measure – they still pulled the crowd into it with the lightning fast drum kicks and nassally vocals delvivered at breakneck speed. Patrick from The Hostage Life was filling in on guitar for the tour as they ripped through most of their Fat Wreck debut – includingJuly! August! Reno!, Mother Teresa Chokeslams The World,Mastering The World’s Smallest Violin, Meanwhile In Hell and Eulogy. Of course, no Flatliners show would be complete without some cuts from Destroy to Create and there’s no better track from that record than Fred’s Got Slacks.

After a short set change the kings of comical ska, Reel Big Fish hit the stage. They immediately broke into Sell out which got the pit moving and dancing in rhythm. It was quickly followed by Another F.U. Song and everyone knew they were in for one hell of a night. The band’s energy filtered through the crowd, who – if their frantic feet were any indication – had waited way too long for a ska show of this caliber. Each and every song was treated to a raucaus applause and loud sing-alongs. From I Want Your Girlfriend to Be My Girlfriend Too, to Where Have You Been, Revolution, She Has A Girlfriend Now,and Your Guys (I hate ‘Em), Reel Big Fish continually delivered their comical, angry and lovelorn ska songs mixed with in between banter that was often snuffedout by chants of Beer and Kiss Me Deadly (both of which were later played). On top of doing a cover of Metallica‘s Enter Sandman and their many renditions of Suburban Rhythm, they capped their set off with their cover of a-ha‘s Take On Me. Even though their set ended way too soon, it would’ve been a good night if it had ended there. Alas, we were still treated to Less Than Jake who not only blasted through more than a dozen tracks ranging fromJohnny Quest Thinks We’re Sell Outs to Conviction Notice, but also rememebered that a show can be memorable for more than just the songs.

Yes, they got the circle pit running in Summoning Monsters. Yes, they broke out the reggae for The Science of Selling Yourself Short; and yes, they hit fan favorites like All My Best Friends are Metalheads, Does The Lion City Still Roar, Plastic Cup Politics, Dopeman, The Ghost of Me & You andThe Last One Out Of Libery City among others. But in between all of those, the Gainesville group filled the gaps with jokes, bass solos, Buddy dancing in a George W. mask and an onstage contest to discover who’s armpit smells the worst. For the encore they shot streams of confetti – something which I guess they were charged 200 bucks for by the venue – and kep the crowd not only laughing but engage throughout the whole set. Something which made the entire show, not just the songs, that much more memorable.

Reel Big Fish - Our Live Album is Better Than Your Live Album

Reel Big Fish

Our Live Album Is Better Than Your Live Album

Rock Ridge Music

Rating: 4/5




Live albums are always a tricky thing to do, because for it to work, everything needs to fall into place. The band has to have a solid reputation with a strong back catalogue to dive into. The sound has to be perfect, and you have to get a strong feel for the band’s performance – because when it comes down to it, a live album is basically just a “best-of” album and there has to be something unique there to get the fans, who already own all the songs on the actual CDs, interested in buying. And somehow, Reel Big Fish made all those pieces fall into place, to give one of the best live albums in recent memory.

First, the sound is impeccable. The album has been recorded perfectly, everything is evenly mixed – and it sounds incredibly smooth. Of course, the band had some help in creating this so called “perfect live show” – because really, you know there’s always some slight mistakes in a live show; but to prevent those mistakes, the band recorded 37 songs over the “Deep Freeze Tour” in January 2006 picking the best songs to make it seem like an seamlessly perfect show. This does hurt the flow of the album at certain times, but those times are barely perceptible, and other than the slight lack of chatter that is so common within aReel Big Fish, you could hardly tell. And while the sound is impeccable, that does take away from the “live performance” aspect of the album because the crowd is barely audible during the songs and a big part of any concert is the crowd.

Although, probably the most impressive thing about Our Live Album Is Better Than Your live Album is just the shock and awe you get by looking at all the track listing, and realizing “wow, Reel Big Fish have released some any songs over the past decade.” I mean, there’s Beer, The Bad Guy, Everything Sucks, Valerie, Turn The Radio Off, Where Have You Been, Don’t Start A Band, Dateless Losers, I Want Your Girlfriend to Be My Girlfriend Too, She Has A Girlfriend Now (featuring guest vocals by Rachel Minton of Zolof The Rock & Roll Destroyer), Sell Out and more. Of course, they also through in their signature cover songs like Take On Me, Boys Don’t Cry, Talkin’ Bout A Revolution and Kiss My Deadly. The only song they’re missing is, in my opinion, Suckers; but you can’t always get every song you want. Plus, on top of the two disc live album, Reel Big Fish also threw in a live DVD of a performance in it’s entirety at the Alley in Fullerton.

So while the title may be arrogant, it is true, Reel Big Fish‘s live album is better than most live albums out there; and I, for one, can’t wait to see them live again and skank along to these songs in person once again.


Reel Big Fish - Monkeys for Nothin & The Chimps for Free

Reel Big Fish

Monkeys for Nothin & The Chimps for Free

Rock Ridge Music

Rating: 4/5




Free from their label and ready to go out and do what they’ve always wanted to do, Reel Big Fish are following up their successful live album with a new full length – Monkeys for Nothin & The Chimps for Free; and it’s clear that they’re enjoying this new found freedom.

The songs are just teeming with excitement and a kind of energy that has been missing from their recent studio recordings. The entire album is full of skanable beats and upstrokes and every song features that special Reel Big Fish comedic charm to them. There’s the minute and a half romp through expletives withAnother F.U. Song and the “love” song I’m Her Man (which the Fish have been playing live for a few years now) with lyrics “I can see you looking down her shirt, I can see you looking up her skirt and I’m sick of your shit… you better stay away from my girlfriend” – a nice contrast to their older I Want Your Girlfriend To Be Mine track. Everybody’s Drunk is sure to be the summer drinking song with a shout along tribute to Twisted Sister (We’re all gonna get drunk! Oh! We’re all gonna get drunk! Oh wait, we’re already drunk!) and Hate You is an explosive, horn heavy, pissed off song that only The Fish could produce.

The nicest thing about this gigantic comeback is the diversity that the album brings. While every song is distinctly Reel Big Fish, the band plays on all aspects of the ska genre. Slow Down slows it down with a reggae tune and Why Do All Girls Think They’re Fat sounds like Hello Rockview era Less Than Jake. The album is more cohesive this way and never becomes repetitive. The only thing missing is a cover song; but in a way that’s good, because it proves that Reel Big Fish don’t need to rely on cover tracks to make it.

The only downside is the length as the final few tracks do often run a bit longer – particularly the 6 minute closer Cannibal, on another album the songs could work – but with 17 songs and close to 60 minutes in length they just lose the intensity near the end.

However, this album is still a great ska record from the kings of third wave ska. The freedom from the label has clearly rejuvenated them and Monkey’s For Nothing just shouts that out. A lot better and more cohesive than We’re Not Happy Till You’re Not Happy, the album will surely be one of the best ska records of the year (it’s only competition will be the ever illusive Streetlight Manifesto record.)


Reel Big Fish and Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer - Duet All Night long

Reel Big Fish / Zolof The Rock & Roll Destroyer

Duet All Night Long

Reignition Records

Rating: 3.5/5




Reel Big Fish are notorious for doing ska-filled cover tunes. Every one of their albums feature at least a few cover tracks and they have become staples in their live shows. Everyone from Duran Duran, Operation Ivy, The Cure, Sublime, Social Distortion and more have been hand chosen by the third-wave ska act, restructured and spat back out in their newly energized form. On Duet All Night Long they’re up to their old tricks again, but this time they didn’t go at it alone. The six song EP sees them doing three cover songs and Zolof The Rock & Roll Destroyer filling out the remaining half. But that’s not the charm of the album; instead of just stopping there, the bands help each other out on every track with vocalists for each band sharing singing duties during every song. And if that’s not good enough for you, the six cover songs are all classic (and less classic) ’80’s tunes.

Reel Big Fish gives us their take on tracks by The Smiths, Fishbone and the Disney movie, Pete’s Dragon while Zolof spits out three covers of Madonna, The Human League and Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney. Of course, Reel Big Fish tends to give the songs a more fun, energetic, ska-tatsic feel to the songs – like they normally do. This means that The Fishbone track is the most effective because it was already a ska tune back in the day; but the Californian ska band is still able to make it their own with some slightly rejuvenated lyrics. On the other hand, Zolof The Rock & Roll Destroyer gives their songs a more sythn-pop feel to them, which helps cement the ’80s feel in the album and shows a distinct contrast between the two bands. Because really, it wouldn’t be fun if it was all the same; and the transition from Lyin’ Ass Bitch to Don’t You Want me Baby couldn’t be any more different if they tried.

But like I said before, the charm of the album comes from the duet portion of it. Aaron from RBF sings on two songs with Zolof (Scott sings on the final track instead of Aaron) and Rachel of Zolof lends her voice to Reel Big Fish‘s three cuts. This helps give the EP an identity of its own because it’s not something done every day. It also gives the songs a more authentic feel as you get both the guys and girls perspective in the varying love songs instead of hearing it all from one side of the spectrum.

Really,if you like anything by either Reel Big Fish or Zolof The Rock & Roll Destroyer then you’ll like Duet All Night Long. It’s a fun, entertaining, six song EP with an interesting concept. Simple as that.

Reel Big Fish - Fame Fortune and Fornication

Reel Big Fish

Fame, Fortune and Fornication

Rock Ridge Music

Rating: 2.5/5




Reel Big Fish are famous for taking classic songs and turning them into high energy third wave ska songs. In fact, you’ll be hard pressed to find any of the band’s CDs without a least one cover song on it and their live show is always peppered with them. It was always a treat to hear their unique take on some classic songs but when you sit down to listen to the band’s newest full length, which contains ten cover songs, you find yourself asking “why?”

Why make an album of only cover songs? Why not write some new songs with their classical comical flare? And why, out of only ten songs, do they cover Poison twice? It just makes no sense. It takes away from their uniqueness. It was great to hear them add their spin to a song and mix it seamlessly into the album, but now that attraction isn’t able to hold through when every song is a cover.

Musically, the band has done what you’d expect from them. Each song sounds exactly like Reel Big Fish. Aaron Barrett’s vocals are spot on, the horn section is tight, the guitars create an upbeat rhythm and newcomer Derek Gibbs lays out some fantastic bass lines (particularly on Tom Petty‘s Won’t Back Downand The Eagles‘ The Long Run). Even the opening seconds of Veronica Sawyer sounds like Where Have You Been? – everything here is classic Fish.

Unfortunately, as you get past the halfway mark the record just feels bland and starts to blend together. So while Poison‘s Nothing But A Good Time kicks it off and introduces the album with a high energy party song and the inclusion of The Clash‘s I Fought The War in the midst of John Cougar Mellencamp‘sAuthority Song was genius, Fame, Fortune and Fornication still lacks a punch to really keep the listener’s full attention. It makes it so that somehow Desmond Dekker‘s reggae flavored Keep A Cool Head passes by without notice and Talk Dirty To Me (which features Tatiana DeMaria of Tat on vocals) is abysmally boring.

Not terrible by any means (Authority Song and Brown Eyed Girl are some of the best covers the band has ever done) but it still lacks an identity and I expected more from the Fish.


Reel Big Fish - We're not Happy Till Youre Not Happy

Reel Big Fish

We're Not Happy Till You're Not Happy

Jive Records

Rating: 3.5/5




It’s been a long time in the making, too long in fact, but Reel Big Fish‘s triumphant return to the ska scene is well worth the three year wait. And although 2002’s Cheer Up! was laced with weak tracks, We’re Not Happy ‘Til You’re Not Happy takes all of the positives aspects of that album and multiplies them ten fold.

Keeping true to Reel Big Fish tradition, We’re Not Happy ‘Til You’re Not Happy is full of fun, skank inducing sarcastic ska songs. For a follow up to their widely popular Beer, they have the song Drinkin’. Then album also comes along with cover songs from Tracy Chapman (Talking ‘Bout A Revolution),Morrissey (We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful) and Social Distortion‘s Story Of My Life. And of course, they have the always “positive” songs like Don’t Start A BandSay GoodbyeThe Bad GuyTurn The Radio Off and last, but definitely not least, the fist pumping Your Guts (I Hate ‘Em) which sports classy lyrics like “I wrote this song about, just to let you know that I hate your guts, and I think you suck. This is your song, congratulations! You’re the inspiration, I hate you so much that I wrote this song“. Front man Aaron Barret’s vocal chords haven’t changed a bit over the years and still have the classic Reel Big Fish howl to then while Scott Klopfenstein’s is still able to back him up like he always did too.

Listening to We’re Not Happy ‘Til You’re Not Happy, you can’t help but feel the need to skank and sing along with the band’s famed ska sound. Of course, like always, they don’t stick solely to the ska sound but let it a slight more punk feel into to it too at times, maybe even more so then they have other times with slightly harder bass lines and more driving guitars, the horn selection isn’t always quite as obvious as it was in the past. All of which has its up and downs, but luckily for Reel Big Fish there’s more ups then there are downs.

We’re Not Happy ‘Til You’re Not Happy is a good, solid ska album from one of the genre’s best bands. It does have a slightly rawer punk sound added to it then before, but fans will still love to skank along with it.

Video: Reel Big Fish – Your Girlfriend Sucks

Reel bigSka-punks Reel Big Fish have posted a new music video for their song “Your Girlfriend Sucks” – it can be seen below.

The track comes from their album Candy Coated Fury that was released last year. 

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Video: Reel Big Fish – Don’t Stop Skankin’

Reel Big FishSka-punks Reel Big Fish have posted a new music video for their sing Don’t Stop Skankin’ – it can be seen below.

The track comes from their album Candy Coated Fury that was released last year.

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Tour: Reel Big Fish, Goldfinger, Zebrahead (Australia)

Reel Big FishReel Big Fish has announced details for their upcoming Australian tour with friends Goldfinger and Zebrahead.  The tour kicks off November 29th, and should be a good one.  MxPx bassist/vocalist Mike Herrera will be joining Goldfinger on the tour.

Tour dates can be found below.

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Tours: Reel Big Fish / Suburban Legends

Reel Big FishReel Big Fish has announced that they will be heading on tour in the new year with Suburban Legends.  The ska bands will hit the road for a three month tour running between January and March 2013.  Reel Big Fish continues to support their brand new full length, Candy Coated Fury, released earlier this year.

Tour listings can be found below.

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