red lights


Skankin' good time

Reel Big Fish / Catch 22
The Rave
Milwaukee, W
Aug. 12, 2005
Reel Big Fish
Reel Big Fish
Catch 22
Catch 22
Reel Big Fish
Reel Big Fish

Story and photos by Karen Bondowski

Hailing from Orange County, California, Reel Big Fish made for a "skankin" good time at The Rave last Friday night. Playing third wave ska for over 14 years now (and hopefully another 14) they danced and dug their heels deep into the Rave's stage. Their homage to ska is true, but the evolution of the genre lands squarely on their colorful beats. The fans will continue to get the same hilarious, long ass shows while the band clearly takes pleasure in the special delivery. They've found a style that totally fits them and the fans have flocked to the party. They dont try to evolve into what other people want. They're not trying to be the biggest band in the world, or even trying to win the number one spot on TRL.
Catch 22 Reel Big Fish has never tried to be your common "dead serious - let's get to the point" type of band. They joke around, they make mistakes and laugh it off. Even when drummer Ryland Steen is in the middle of keeping the beats nice and smooth for "She Has a Girlfriend Now," his left drum stick went soaring through the air behind him. His band members casually looked back at him as he missed a beat or two (while grabbing another drumstick) and everyone just smiled and laughed.These next two hours were devoted entirely to their fans. They could have at least warned them to drink up on the coffee or Mountain Dew just so they could keep up with them.
Vocalist and lead guitarist Aaron Barrett, wearing a green t-shirt, baggy pants, lamb chop sideburns and even sporting his own band name on his wristband introduced the band and quickly jumped into the horn-driven "The Set Up." It's feisty, kinetic brand of fidgety ska-punk that hit the nail-on-the-head.Reel Big Fish With lyrics somewhat forgotten to "Where Have You Been," Aaron and Scott Klopfenstein (trumpet, guitar) took turns trying to make the song right, and after Scott had challenged him, Aaron was in perfect tune and the song took on a life of it's own. It was a smooth, relaxing piece which gave the audience, as well as the band a chance to catch their breath.
Finishing their encore with their biggest hit from 1997, "Sell Out," the band let loose with a high, fast groove. It was definately the high point of the night. With its uplifting beats, catchy lyrics and body bender dance moves - it had everyone dancing like there was no tomorrow. Friends who watched from backstage quickly joined the dance floor with the band and proceeded to create a Mardi Gras festival onstage which quickly spread into the audience and created a giant street party.
With fourteen years under their belt, five full length CDs, a couple of EPs, and countless shows, Reel Big Fish are going as strong as ever. Sharing the same type of passion with others dedicated to ska, goofing off and living life to it's fullest and putting humor and fun back at the forefront of one's life. With all the years invested into this band, finding the right band members, the miles put on tours, the hard impact and influential sound they have given to many others, they do it all for the love of music. Would they ever really "sell out"?
Not a chance.

Openers Catch 22 did an admirable job of heating up the stage for Reel Big Fish. The band's adept mixture of post punk and humorous ska had the Rave's patrons skankin' (a form of dance that is special to the ska movement) with fervent abandon. Is this the birth of a new movement called skamo (ska and emo)?

Reel Big Fish Set list for 8/12:
"The Set Up"
"Join the Club"
"The Fire"
"Ban the Tube Top"
"Don't Start a Band"
"Everything Sucks "
"She's Famous Now"
"Turn the Radio Off"
"She Has a Girlfriend Now "
"A Little Doubt Goes a Long Way"
"Where Have You Been?"
"Good Thing/Your Guts (I Hate 'em)"
"The Bad Guy"
"Take on Me "

"I Want Your Girlfriend"
"Snoop Dogg Baby"
"Sell Out"
Catch 22
Catch 22
Reel Big Fish
Reel Big Fish
Catch 22
Catch 22
Reel Big Fish
Reel Big Fish

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