THE HAPPIEST BAND ON THE PLANET TOP THIS YEAR'S FIREBALL TOUR LINEUP
REEL BIG FISH PERFORMING AT O2 ACADEMY, GLASGOW - 19/10/2017
PICTURE BY: PAUL STORR PHOTOGRAPHY
Kicking off tonight's 5 band bill we have local lads Lost In Stereo. Due to the early start, the venue is barely filled but this doesn't put them off at all. Blasting through a performance of mainly original material which has an early Sum 41/Blink 182 sound to it, with a superb cover of Jimmy Eat World's "The Middle" thrown in, they take their set in their stride. Highlight has to be watching drummer Dean McClory pull of some amazing expressions whilst keeping things in perfect time.
Up next we have Sheffield's Sweet Little Machine. From the minute they hit the stage you could be forgiven for thinking that they were fronted by a much younger Billie Joe Armstrong, as frontman Alex Lantrua Kissack works the crowd effortlessly. Getting the ever growing crowd fully involved in a singalong for "War" is a definite highlight of their set, as is his run through the audience during the raucous "Monsters". If Sweet Little Machine aren't hitting venues of this size of their own accord in the next few years, I'd be very surprised!
Third on tonight are ska legends Mad Caddies. With the venue now nearing capacity, as soon as they come on everyone seems to find their dancing shoes. We're treated to a hit laden set, with "Monkeys" from 1995's "Duck and Cover" album to "Shoot Out The Lights" from newest release "Dirty Rice" being definite highlights. Having formed in 1995, the Mad Caddies are still going strong and don't look to be letting up any time soon!
Punk rock legends Anti Flag race onto the stage and kick into "The Press Corpse" from 2006's "For Blood And Empire", making it immediately evident that they're here to take over. Bassist Chris #2 (Chris Barker) can't seem to keep his feet on the floor as he leaps about everywhere without missing a note. We have a guest appearance from Reel Big Fish's brass section on new single "When The Wall Falls", which gets everyone even more hyped for their headline set.
Anti Flag have always had a political agenda, and this is cemented tonight with frontman Justin Sane telling the crowd to 'sing so loud we strike fear into every racist, fascist motherf*cker from Glasgow all the way to the Whitehouse and Donald Trump' before launching into "All Of The Poison, All Of The Pain". Set closer "Brandenburg Gate" sees Chris #2 climb into the front of the crowd, and leaves everyone completely blown away.
Headliners Reel Big Fish take the stage and one thing is clear...they came to party! As is standard with every one of their shows, the happiest band on the planet give their all for the performance of the evening. The whole venue is bouncing and skanking (ska dancing) from start to finish. Frontman Aaron Barrett (the only original member since the bands formation in 1992) is joined by the insanely talented brass section of Johnny Christmas, Saxl Rose and Billy Kottage with bassist Derek Gibbs and drummer Ed Larsen making up the rest of the band. Looking around the crowd, there isn't a soul here without a smile on their face.
"Everyone Else Is An Asshole" from 2012's "Candy Coated Fury" carries it's tongue in cheek vibe perfectly in a live setting, as does "Another F.U. Song" from 2007's "Monkey's For Nothin' And The Chimps For Free". If we're going to be brutally honest, Reel Big Fish could have played any song from any album they've released tonight and it would have had the same impact, as everything they have released has the same happy, trumpet ridden sound to it, you can't help but enjoy it!
We get a medley of 'hit songs that weren't actually our own hit songs, as Reel Big Fish never had a hit!' featuring Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit", Lit's "My Own Worst Enemy", The Proclaimers "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" and Mighty Mighty Bosstone's "The Impression" which adds the comedy factor to the evening. Set highlights are the insanely catchy "Sell Out" and when Anti Flag's Chris #2 joins the band for their big hit "Beer" (turns out they did have one!)
An encore of "Where Have You Been" and a cover of A-Ha's "Take On Me" (a live staple in Reel Big Fish's set) round off what has been a perfect evening, and everyone leaves still dancing their way into the night.
THE FIREBALL FUELLING THE FIRE TOUR CONTINUES:
Fri 20th October 2017 - LIVERPOOL O2 Academy
Sat 21st October 2017 - SHEFFIELD O2 Academy
REVIEW + PHOTOS BY: PAUL STORR PHOTOGRAPHY