Reel Big Fish

support The Capital Beat
author PP date 03/03/09 venue Lille Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

The ska institution known as Reel Big Fish are regulars in the Danish live scene, having been here at least four times (if my memory serves right) in the last four years, where they've played more or less every single medium sized venue in Copenhagen. Each time it seems like the crowd is loving them, so I'm somewhat surprised to see they still haven't garnered enough support over here to play a venue like Store Vega or something instead. Perhaps next time they will, considering how Lille Vega was packed close to its limits tonight. But before we get to their show, lets discuss Finland's own skasters The Capital Beat, who were selected as the opening band.

The Capital Beat

Why Streetlight Manifesto wasn't on the mainland dates, I have no idea, but it's a shame they weren't because I'm almost certain they would've wiped the floor with The Capital Beat's mediocre performance tonight. First of all, these guys rely much more on reggae than punk when it comes to their brand of ska music, so that's already a bit of a letdown for a Reel Big Fish crowd. Sure, their frontman was visibly enjoying himself doing his reggae/ska moves, but when the band doesn't actually have energetic enough songs, let alone quality songs on any level, not much can come out of it. Perhaps the band just isn't experienced enough just yet, but they also seemed a little too try-hard in the banter between the songs, it just wasn't genuine enough to make an impression on me (or the majority of the crowd, it seemed). Top that with the notion that there are eight people in the band and the vocalist was really the only one moving about, it's just not good enough.

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Reel Big Fish

It was a whole other story with Reel Big Fish (as it always is, since they rarely seem to disappoint live), who kicked into their set with the obvious set opener "Trendy", which has the classic singalong line "everybody's doing the fish". Within seconds into the song, most of Lille Vega indulged in a great atmosphere full of skanking and dancing, which would follow through the ridiculous 26 tracks the band would go on to play tonight. "Another F.U. Song" and "The Kids Don't Like It" are both crowd favorites, and especially the light 'fuck you' humour of the former fortified the feel-good vibe tonight by a few notches. Then it was time for a cover song from their newest cover album, "Authority Song" by John Mellemcamp, a good choice to introduce the new album for people who might not have heard the record just yet. And here's exactly why I think Reel Big Fish are always brilliant live, they know how to mix in the setlist with the great old and the good new, as "Ban The Tube Top" is one of the best songs they've written if you ask me.

"Lets play a song in e-minor", says vocalist Aaron Barret, and trumpeteer Scott concurs, and to the surprise of everyone present, the familiar heavy riffs of Metallica's Enter Sandman blast out the speakers for a short while before the band moves onto another half new song in the form of "The New Version Of You". People are still dancing and having a good time, and then it's time for us to have a quick skanking lesson by John and Dan, something that the band has liked to do at shows for as long as I can remember. There isn't enough space for people to skank properly though, and it all becomes a little chaotic in the process, but who cares, everyone's having a good time and that's what counts. The band then strolls through a great selection of songs from more or less all their albums, which is all good, but something's missing compared to the other five Reel Big Fish shows I've seen. Where's the in-between song banter? Usually Scott and Aaron engage in hilarious charades about every two or three songs or so, but tonight the band just seems to play song after song after song without much more than the obligatory thank yous every now and then. Have Reel Big Fish matured beyond the funny jokes? I certainly hope not - but tonight it didn't look like the band was having as much fun on stage as usual. That being said, when you throw in classic after classic after classic in the form of "Don't Start A Band", "I Want Your Girlfriend To Be My Girlfriend Too", "She Has A Girlfriend Now", "Where Have You Been", and "Beer" before the encore, I don't think anyone can seriously complain, because the entire room had more people dancing than I've previously seen to a show at Lille Vega. Finally, the band re-appears after the encore to the familiar óle, óle football chant, before they finish off with another five ska anthems, and the audience leaves the venue sweaty, happy and satisfied.

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Setlist:

1. Trendy

2. Another F.U. Song

3. The Kids Don't Like It

4. Authority Song

5. Ban The Tube Top

6. Metallica - Enter Sandman cover (short)

7. The New Version Of You

8. Everything Sucks

9. The Bad Guy

10. Veronica Sawyer

11. She's Famous Now

12. A Little Doubt Goes A Long Way

13. Nothin' But A Good Time

14. Good Thing

15. Your Guts (I Hate 'em)

16. The Long Run

17. Don't Start A Band

18. I Want Your Girlfriend To Be My Girlfriend Too

19. She Has A Girlfriend Now

20. Where Have You Been

21. Beer

--Encore--

22. Ole ole (football song)

23. You Don't Know

24. Monkey Man

25. Sell Out

26. Take On Me

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