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Reel Big Fish – Reel Good Gig

February 9, 2012

Reel Big Fish

Portsmouth Pyramid Centre
Date: 26/02/11

After beginning their annual European tour in Norwich, Reel Big Fish made their way to Portsmouth to please the locals with their brutally happy repertoire of ska genius.
After 20 years and still going, with Aaron Barrett (guitar and lead vocals) representing the original founder of Reel Big Fish, the band still manage to produce the brilliant music that causes you to grin and mosh simultaneously.
I started my Reel Big Fish experience with a chat to Aaron and John Christianson (trumpet and backing vocals) learning of Aaron’s bitter but upbeat personality that inspires their music.
Support bands will always have the hardest job and this proved very true with Reel Big Fish’s support bands Orange and The JB Conspiracy.  Both bands didn’t set an overly powerful atmosphere and Orange, in particular, made Reel Big Fish style, but failed attempts to add humor to their performance; wearing stupid outfits and making lame attempts of audience participation
I was intimidated not only by the Reel Big Fish’s success but how they are still going strong after all this time. The music is not influenced by anything more than Aaron’s wit and quirky lyrics, but they have become a group that influences the younger generation.
I was surprised to see people younger than myself at the gig and was more expectant of people in there twenties and over, but it was refreshing and gave a mass of energy to the atmosphere of the show.
I was disappointed to not hear a few of my personal favorite songs such as Average Man, or the hit that put them on the big screen, Why Can’t We Be Friends? But the night still included the great hits such as Ban The Tube Top and I Want Your Girlfriend To Be My Girlfriend Too.
The static brass instruments that Reel Big Fish are so famous for can make it harder for them to give a ‘performance’ as such. A lot of modern artists will dance about the stage and sing their music whilst flying into the air for the grand finale. But the band was still able to produce an epic element of performance, with the brass boys provoking the audience’s joyous anger at every possible moment.
As this was one stop of their annual European tour, the set list never really differs from year to year. The same classic but always enjoyable songs are played and a highlight for myself was their many varieties of the song S.R. Reel Big Fish take the song and play it in a variety of genres, from heavy metal to line dancing.  Working the audience in such a comic way is what makes their live shows so unique and entertaining.
Of course, a Reel Big Fish gig would never be complete without their cover of Take On Me, which closed the show in all its glory. However, I was surprised, but not disappointed, to hear a cover of Brown Eyed Girl.  Taking these timeless songs and giving them a combination of jazz vibe and metal aroma, is what has always labeled Reel Big Fish’s ‘sound’.
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