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Reel Big Fish

at: Astoria

March 3rd, 2008 · post by jas · Make a comment

Date of the event: 02/03/08

This show was originally scheduled at the Mean Fiddler, but was upgraded and managed to sell out its big sister venue. There was an excited buzz outside, with people of all ages, those seeing the Fish for the first time and those who could probably remember them from the first tour.

Before the venue had even half filled, Sonic Boom Six took to the stage. They have really beefed up the drum’n’bass intros to their songs now, and that really was the overwhelming sound, making it impossible for people not to move. They played a lot of new stuff from latest album ‘Arcade Perfect’, but also threw in a few favourites like ‘Piggy In The Middle’ and ‘Monkey See Monkey Do’, and slowed it down for ‘Northern Skies’. At the end of the said, Barney made a point of saying they would meet people at the merch desk, and it’s really nice to see a band like Sonic Boom Six, on tour with two somewhat more ‘hardened’ bands, still have enthusiasm for meeting their fans.

Crashing into the spotlight with ‘We Will Fall Together’, the first track from their new album ‘Somewhere In The Between’, Streetlight Manifesto have an astounding amount of energy for a band who has been on a marathon tour for months now. On this album, drummer Chris Thatcher got to show off his own skills rather than stepping into another man’s shoes as on previous releases, and his furious stick-work leads the band in a faster-than-album-speed set (previously I thought this was impossible). With a half-hour set consisting mostly of newer material, they still found time to put in ‘Point/Keasbey Nights/Counterpoint’ and a few other favourites including ‘We Are The Few’ and ‘Everything Went Numb’. Ending the set with ‘Here’s To Life’, the venue became dark apart from a few atmospheric spotlights, then the band began to play as furiously as when they had appeared.

When Reel Big Fish took to the stage, it was obvious that most of the crowd had been waiting for them. Whereas the venue had been mainly still for the support, the floor began to bounce to the sound of ‘Sell Out’. The set is an extended one tonight, with the Fish going on just after 9.30pm and playing for an hour and a half. This allows them to play a lot from their new album, as well as some old favourites, even delving back into the ‘Everything Sucks’ era for some lesser-known tracks.

A few years ago the Fish had a bit of a blip, where they went off to follow side-projects, and it actually got a bit cringe-worthy to watch the band as they obviously weren’t getting along very well. However, that appears to be all over now as the banter between members was amusing and relaxed once more. This may be due to the line-up changing almost entirely in the last few years, with Reel Big Fish now resembling former side-project The Forces of Evil with three members of the band now among their ranks.

They have been adapting their show and changing their songs, probably as much for their sanity as for the crowd’s enjoyment, and they power through all of the different versions of ‘S.R.’ from their live DVD, as well as some new ones. Laila from Sonic Boom Six comes onstage in a red dress for ‘She Has A Girlfriend Now’, for the eighteenth time on the tour, we are told. It’s quite a spectacle, and livens up the song more than when Scott was singing the female part.

The encore is a selection of old favourites – ‘Trendy’, ‘I Want Your Girlfriend To Be My Girlfriend’ and ‘Take On Me’, and the band matches the crowd for enthusiasm as everyone else has one more dance.

A few years ago, the future of Reel Big Fish seemed uncertain. But now, it seems they are as strong as ever and relentless in their pursuit of superstardom. It may not happen, but hopefully they will keep plugging at it for a while to come.

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