Reel Big Fish

support Fandangle + Zebrahead
author JM date 23/02/06 venue Warwick University, Warwick, UK

The venue is a strange one, with a main crowd area in front of the stage and section further back on the ground floor, as well as an upstairs part which has a balcony looking down upon the stage. The upstairs leaves you looking down at the band, the downstairs back section leaves you too far away from the band and the main crowd area sometimes to lively for the non-moshers. Yet this was the setting for tonight's gig, which was entirely sold out with many wanting to buy tickets. To my surprise the venue never seemed at full capacity and either many of the people that purchased the tickets didn't show up or the venue had limited their numbers for another reason.

Fandangle

The starting band Fandangle started while people were still coming in and only few were in main section in front of the stage. Yet they gave it all they had and started off with lots of energy with their first song "My 9 - 5". Fandangle being the local band from the UK was surrounded by there local fans who did a bit of moshing on the otherwise empty crowd space. Walk around assessing the venue I did manage to solve the mystery of all the people that I had seen pile in earlier after having patiently waited for the doors to be open after my interview with Reel Big Fish. The small mass of people having decided to show up immediate when the doors opened were all to be found in the large cue in front of the cloak room and in the otherwise empty upstairs section of the venue. Fandangle continued through several good acts and despite being completely ignored by the majority of the crowd kept their energy and enthusiasm high. Their energy and good spirits did also manage to increase the small crowd dancing in front of the stage and as more people arrived at the venue a substantial crowd gathered around me, in the back by the bar which was still in view of the stage. Most reluctantly stood back and enjoyed an enthusiastic performs and some good ska music, which was after all what the crowd was here to enjoy. Thus despite fandangle's failure to lure the crowd they did a honourable.

5

Setlist:

  • My 9 - 5
  • Shits & Giggles
  • It Came To This
  • You're Next
  • Lucky For Some
  • Homeland
  • Oliver Twist
  • Hello Goodbye
  • At Least I Tried
  • Once Over

Zebrahead

The second support band, Zebrahead, kicked off with the same energy as Fandangle, but had the advantage that a far larger crowd had entered the venue at the start of their act. They started out hard with "Rescue Me", following swiftly with "In My Room" and "Jag Off". By this time the crowd in front of the stage has become a considerable size and the crowd seems to be getting into it. The band manages to interact well with the crowd with jokes on stage as well as random messing around to the joy of the crowd. The crowd do occasional moshing and even a couple of crowd surfers appear to my surprise. Seeing crowd surfing and this amount of moshing for a support band is not all that common, but like everyone else I too can help be ripped in by the music (to the slight bemusement of my photographer, still standing a bit lost in the more subdued crowd in the back). The fun continues to the joy of the increasingly involved crowd, with the drummer joining in with random jokes and the craziness climaxing with the Matty Lewis taking off his shirt and throwing it across stage. The crowd turns yet more active and the moshing and crowd surfing increases. The crowds complete exhilaration for the band, yet even more so for Reel Big Fish, becomes very evident as Aaron Barrett, lead singer of Reel Big Fish, joins Zebrahead on guitar for a few of the last songs. They truly manages to incorporate and engage the crowd more than any support band I have seen recently, which certainly deserves recognition, even though they of course were helped by their close connection to Reel Big Fish by also being an Orange County band and with Aaron's appearance on stage. Yet its impossible to argue against the truly great atmosphere present at the end of their act and the excitement of the crowd.

8

Setlist:

  • Rescue Me
  • In My Room
  • Jagoff
  • Postcards From Hell
  • Someday
  • Back To Normal
  • Into You
  • Hello Tomorrow
  • Anthem
  • Playmate of the Year
  • The Set Up

Reel Big Fish

The venue though not seemingly packed appeared crowded none the less as the crowd waited expectingly for Reel Big Fish to emerge. The crowd already extremely energetic from the tense performance of Zebrahead erupted into volcanic explosion as Reel Big Fish emerged onto the stage. They started with the upbeat and cheerful song "The Set Up", following it with "Ban the Tube Top" and "Everything Sucks" kicking off an amazing gig. During the interview earlier that evening I had already gotten confirmed that Reel Big Fish was pumped for the gig, enjoying our small photo shoot with some hilarious photos for the cover of the interview. The gig included the classic top songs such as "She's Famous Now", "She Has a Girlfriend Now", "Cheer Up", and of course "Beer". The only classics I really wish would have been included on the set list would have been "I Want Your Girlfriend to be My Girlfriend Too" and "Dateless Losers", yet not everyone's wishes can be fulfilled at every gig. The tremendous atmosphere was captured by the fact that crowd surfing was visible already during the 2nd song "Ban the Tube Top", and continued consistently throughout the concert with the moshes crowd stopping rarely, even for breadth. At the beginning there was little of interaction with the crowd that Reel Big Fish is known for, but this changed and towards the end the band and the crowd were interacting beautifully. Among some of the great interactions on stage John Christianson was challenged by Aaron to redo his trumpet solo after a member of the crowd had screamed out "NO" when Aaron asked the crowd whether they were having a good time. This resulted in John making another solo, which u can say he truly put all his effort into, and with which he truly silenced any unhappy members of the crowd. Ali from Zebrahead joined Reel Big Fish for Unity, the second last song, and made his mark upon the song with his great screaming voice. The crowd created smaller dance circles around the venue allowing the middle section in front of stage for the many moshers. The overall feeling, from random members of the crowd question about the gig afterwards, was that of content and excitement, though some carried sentimental values from earlier gigs in their home towns and therefore attributing those gigs as better. Several member of the crowd also commented on the arrangement of the venue. The overall gig performance by Reel Big Fish was undoubtedly that of high quality none the less.

9

Setlist:

  • The Set Up
  • Ban the Tube Top
  • Everything Sucks
  • She's Famous Now
  • Don't Start a Band/ SR
  • Trendy
  • The Bad Guy
  • Kids Don't like/ In the Pit
  • The Fire
  • Cheer Up
  • She Has A Girlfriend Now
  • Where Have You Been
  • Good Thing/ Your Guts
  • Kiss Me Deadly
  • Sell Out
  • Unity
  • Beer
  • Take On Me

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