After only being in Nottingham five months earlier playing with Less Than Jake and Zebrahead, The Fish brought their skatastic selves to the city again, this time at a more intimate venue than the usual Rock City next door. This time taking the stage at the Rescue Rooms for what was set to be a night filled with skanking and Hawaiian shirts which is never not fun.
First to take to the stage were Exeter’s The Jellycats. Unfortunately after travelling issues, they had only a ten minute set leaving a mere three songs to tease the crowd of what they were about. Despite the unfortunate short set, they certainly didn’t pull any punches when it came to energy on the stage, packing in a full sets worth into only ten minutes. Combined with the infectiously catchy and danceable songs that sounded like a cross between The Skints and early Aquabats they effectively set the night in motion.
Second on the line-up were Bristol’s The Magnus Puto. Though they did manage to get some energy into the crowd, they seemed like an odd fit to be sandwiched between The Jellycats and Reel Big Fish as they had a much more serious tone about them than either of the other two bands. Melding the reggae and rap genres, they got the audience moving and warmed the room ready for the Fish.
When it was time for Reel Big Fish to take the stage, they opened with their track ‘Everyone Else is an Asshole’ from the 2012 album ‘Candy Coated Fury‘. The place was whipped into a frenzy immediately. Like always, The Fish were playing throughout their back catalogue, including all the hits such as ‘Sell Out‘, ‘Beer’ and ‘She Has a Girlfriend Now’, they also added a few more for the long time fans such as ‘241‘ and ‘The Bad Guy‘. With numerous duets on the set, Matt Appleton filled in with on the female side on the tracks ‘I Know You Too Well To Like You Anymore‘ and ‘Hiding In My Headphones‘ (and was somewhat worryingly convincing).
The Fish also brought with them one of the things that has made them one of the most prominent and loved third wave ska bands and that is their stage presence. Even after over 20 years as a band, no space on the stage goes unused. With John, Matt and Billy making up the horn section showing many different uses that brass instruments can have in addition to their synchronised dancing to the many versions of S.R. (their square dancing was particularly impressive). Aaron was as always dressed in uniform of a Hawaiian shirt and chequered sunglasses in addition to his razor sharp wit and loveable arrogance which involved playing a whole solo flawlessly behind this head and also joining in with some synchronised dancing with the rest of the band.
Though all said and done, all there was to kick up a fuss about was the extremely short Jellycats set, but unfortunately that could not be helped. But with a whole lot of energy throughout the entire night and one thing Reel Big Fish never fail to do is draw the ska kids out and prove that wherever they are, ska still has a good deal of life in it yet.