How can it be, that twenty years have passed since California’s Reel Big Fish released their “Turn Off The Radio” album. Touring in celebration of the two decade mark of possibly the groups most well received work, the boys brought their high energy Ska styling to Montreal’s Metropolis. Alongside them, also celebrating their most well known album, was Pennsylvania’s Anti-Flag. Celebrating the twentieth anniversary of their “Die For Your Government” record. The two bands couldn’t have a larger contrast in styles. With the aforementioned Reel Big Fish being a fun loving, beer chuggin’, cover song making band that gets your feet dancing. While the other is a politician’s nightmare. A rebel rousing voice of rebellion and change. Also on the tour, are Ballyhoo and Direct Hit.
Reel Big Fish
Reel Big Fish began their ode to their own record with their third song, and trooped along, trumpets and saxophones blowing for fifteen rambunctious numbers, including the fan favorite track, “Beer”. Hoping and jumping and stomping about the stage in colorful Hawaiian shirts, and appearing to be having at least as much fun as the rowdy crowd were. Just one of the band members was actually around when the album was written and recorded, that being guitarist and singer, Aaron Barrett. That didn’t distract from the rest of the troupe as they proudly presented their adopted baby. The group came back to play a few more songs for an encore, including a fantastic cover of A-Ha’s “Take On Me”.
Anti-Flag had played before them, and were the polar opposite. Playing in front of an inverted American flag. Ironically mere days before the least popular President for as far back as anyone can remember officially takes office as the nation’s leader. Starting off playing the first three tracks from their “Die For The Government” album. Playing eleven of the seventeen tracks in all, before select others including a cover of The Clash’s “Should I Stay Or Should I go” classic punk rock anthem.
I still find it baffling to lead off with something serious and purely political. Calling for change and revolution, for their fans to stand up to oppression and all manor of inequality in the world, and then cap off the night with lighthearted silliness. Fun and dancing. The irony of course being, that both of these things are needed in a modern society where the United States seems on the brink of tearing itself apart.
Lets talk serious for a second, then have a beer and get dancing, baby!