The 20th Anniversary show with Reel Big Fish

Since the 1990’s, Reel Big Fish has been showing up and playing some of the best ska shows around. Along with bands like Save Ferris and Mustard Plug, Reel Big Fish has been promoting their name for over 20 years. Recently Reel Big Fish started a new tour to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their album “Turn the Radio Off”. It has become a tradition for me to see Reel Big Fish whenever I get the chance. I wasn’t about to break that tradition now.

The show was at The Depot, which is one of my favorite venues. Each step I took up the stairs I got more and more anxious to see who was opening. I walked onto the main floor and saw the banner “Ballyhoo!” hanging up. I immediately went into fan-girl mode. Ballyhoo! is a band that I have recently started to follow with the start of my reggae and ska show on the radio. They have a great up-beat tempo and can put a smile on your soul. It was a good surprise for the expecting.

Ballyhoo!

Pew Pew Pew was the first opener, followed by Ballyhoo!. Their performances got me warmed up for the later bands. Then it time came for Anti-Flag, the floor was crowded and the pit crowd seemed ready to go. You could see the patches on the jean vests that were all different punk bands logos. Those fans were ready to let go of their limbs and let them fly and I was at the edge to see it all happen. Their set was incredibly entertaining and they kept the crowd moving. Up next, was Reel Big Fish.

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    Ballyhoo!

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    Ballyhoo!

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    Ballyhoo!

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    Ballyhoo!

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    Ballyhoo!

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    Ballyhoo!

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    Open Stage

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    Pew Pew Pew Opening

For the anniversary of their album “Turn the Radio Off”, Reel Big Fish played the entire album from beginning to end, starting with “I Want Your Girlfriend”. This album released in

Stage Set List

August of 1996 and was Reel Big Fish’s second full-length album. This album included their hit single “Sell Out” that received success in 1997. Through the years, Reel Big Fish has continued to make their name more known is the world of ska and punk music.

For the first two songs of Reel Big Fish, I was up front against the railing. It was so incredible to be that close to a band that I had always had a dream about meeting. Though after the first couple of songs, I wanted to enjoy the show and not worry about getting trampled so I moved back to the edge of the skank pit. I was waiting for the right time to join in one the pit. When Sell Out came on I jumped in and started kicking my legs and swinging my arms with a grin on my face and music in my ears. I took breaks here an there to catch my breath but I never stopped dancing for Reel Big Fish.

Each song they sang, I sang and every time they said jump, I jumped. From “I want your girlfriend” to “Take on me” they had my attention. This show was one for the books and was unforgettable. There was a smile on my face from Pew Pew Pew to Reel Big Fish. I always look forward to seeing ska shows and live shows in all. There is magic inside of live concerts and shows and it is every persons right to see a live concert at least once in their lifetime. The next time a ska show comes into town you can count on seeing me there.

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Young the Giant’s Home of the Strange Concert

On January 2011, the song “My Body” hit the airwaves and entered this generation’s collective consciousness. The song was very energetic and catchy. It was one of those songs that made you want to get up and dance or shout along. For starting indie-rock band Young the Giant, they never thought they would make it big. Little did they know that they would be a bigger band than they had ever imagined.

From the early days of their self-titled album to the current Home of the Strange, Young the Giant has always been a favorite band of mine. Each of their albums has an undeniable charm that has matured the more they write music. I was constantly on alert for when they would tour since the release of their newest album. There was no doubt in my mind that I would go, especially considering it had been three years since they last came. Once the dates were announced, I was able to get a ticket for the, no surprise, sold out concert.

I could tell this was going to be a big show with the amount of people bustling everywhere. The densely packed crowd stirred with commotion as they awaited the appearance of the main event. The stage was decorated with flags and the backdrop of Young the Giant’s new album. As I reached to get my phone from my pocket, the lights shut off and I was pushed forward by the current of fans eagerly wanting to inch closer to the stage. It was time.

The band had appeared and opened with the heart pounding, rock-ridden “Jungle Youth”. Each guitar strum and beat of the drum packed a punch. Sameer Gadhia, front man for the band, may have kept a bit of a poker face throughout the show, but his dance moves truly reflected his excitement for performing.

Young the Giant have quite a diverse repertoire that range from rock heavy songs like “Somebody to Believe In” to more soothing ones like “Titus was Born”. They easily transitioned from one to the other without having it seem strange or out of place. Songs like “Elsewhere” and “Art Exhibit” provided a nice, tranquil atmosphere that provided for a more intimate performance.

I couldn’t help but think how extremely talented each of them were as they played songs like “Cough Syrup”, “Mr. Know-It-All”, and “Mind Over Matter”. Payam Doostzadeh on the bass with a calm eloquence. Jacob Tilley and Eric Cannata on the guitar with astonishing dexterity. Francois Comtois drumming with smooth swiftness. And Gadhia not only had an impressive control over his voice, but a remarkable skill on various other instruments.    

They closed the show with “Home of the Strange”, where the whole band let loose and hopped from one side of the stage to the other. As they walked off the stage the crowd had become louder than they had ever been. Ears were ringing as we all enthusiastically cheered for an encore. It was not a wasted effort as Young the Giant returned to play three more songs.

“Amerika”, “Silvertongue”, and “My Body” brought out different excitement levels for both the band and the audience, increasing with every song. They brought an extra cheeriness to “My Body” as the entire crowd bounced to the highest of their abilities.

The show was exceptionally memorable and spirited. While I can recall many parts that were unforgettable, the one that catches my attention has to be when they played their song “Firelight”. This song mainly puts its focus on soft guitar string plucks and Gadhia’s airy vocals, but introduces some subtle drum beats towards the end. Gadhia requested that the audience take out their phones and lighters when the drums come on to light the venue. The dimly lit area transformed into a room as bright as a spotlight. It felt magical.

It’s no wonder that the Young the Giant show was sold out. They managed to play the entire Home of the Strange album plus some favorites from prior albums. There was such a joyous energy that rippled from the stage to the very last person in the back of the crowd. They played an incredible show that was worth going to despite being sick. I congratulate Young the Giant for how far they’ve come and I can’t wait to see what’s to come of them.