On their Turn the Radio Off album’s 20th anniversary, Reel Big Fish teamed-up with Anti-Flag, also celebrating 20 years since the release of their LP Die for the Government, on tour to show the world that these guys can still kick your ass … musically. This go-round, the bands landed to a packed Hell Stage of The Masquerade in Atlanta.
Starting the night were Canadian punk rockers Pkew Pkew Pkew. Although the quartet played a limited timed set to get things kicked-off, they took a quality over quantity approach to get the crowd warmed-up. Teaming up with these big players in the musical scene would surely attract notoriety to these up-and-comers in the near future.
Second opener Ballyhoo! hit the stage to a warm reception. The Maryland veterans make the most of their set by taking the crowd down memory lane with renditions of tracks from the 2011 LPDaydreams. Howi Spangler and the boys constantly put on display the ability to keep a crowd engaged, especially when the boys require the assistance of the crowd to deliver the chorus on track “Outta My Mind”, this garners the biggest cheers of the night before the boys delve into track “Cerveza” to close out their 45-minute set and give way to first headliner Anti-Flag.
The clock striked 9:00 PM when Anti-Flag rush to the stage. Their fuck-fascism approach is quickly noted by a stand-out performance to “Die for the Government”. Justin Sane performs like man on a mission, a man that’s been spreading his anti-establishment message for over 20 years without letting up. Bass player Chris “Dos” Barker is the embodiment of punk rock. His stage antics, soaring bass-playing jumps and backing vocals are the things legends are made of. Chris Head and Pat Thetic round off an impressive performance that held the attention of all in attendance for every second of their 75-minute set.
Highlighting their set was Sane’s confession that track “Your Daddy Was a Rich Man, Your Daddy’s Fucking Dead” was inspired by a well-known New York real-estate mogul that came to be quite powerful only by receiving a “small” loan of millions of dollars and learning everything he knew from his father. This song was written as the ultimate fuck-you to Donald and Fred Trump. Sane goes on to perform this explosive track and follows it with a clear message that everyone should reject the lunacy of the current president. The energy set forth by the Pittsburgh, PA. natives alone is worth the price of admission. The music makes it a steal. The band exits the stage leaving big shoes to fill for Reel Big Fish.
At last, the moment everyone was waiting for comes at 10:30 PM.Reel Big Fish land on stage to deliver a show that would have the fans dancing, moshing and crowd surfing for the better part of an hour and a half. Although the Ska-Punk veterans channeled this tour to celebrate the 20th anniversary of LP Turn the Radio Off, the crowd was made up of individuals of nearly every age, a testament to the wide appeal the Californians have obtained over the years.
The band is well known for their garish fashion sense, and led by Hawaiian lime-green shirt wearing Aaron Barrett. The members of RBF performed a lighthearted set which paraded a striking contrast with the previous performers. Delivering opening track “I Want Your Girlfriend to Be My Girlfriend Too” the boys quickly set their own fun-loving atmosphere, and the crowd was happy to oblige.
Barrett is quick to add that the night belongs to album Turn the Radio Off, stating that every great track will be performed and then jokingly adds “all the bad ones too”; yet any RBF fan that night could tell you that bad tracks were nowhere to be found.
It’s been well over 20 years since Reel Big Fish first exploded onto the scene and while Aaron Barrett is the only founding member left, the boys are still quite the attraction. Don’t believe us? Go catch the boys at any of their upcoming jam-packed shows as they continue their Turn the Radio Off celebration tour or learn more about them by visiting their website at www.reel-big-fish.com.