Less Than Jake/Reel Big Fish @ Roseland, NYC

Live Reviews | Jul 23rd, 2007

Reel Big Fish / Skanksgiving @ Starland Ballroom, NJ (102)

Opening Bands: Streetlight Manifesto, Against All Authority

To help celebrate my 29th birthday, I decided to check out the co-headlining tour of Less Than Jake and Reel Big Fish. What better way to celebrate one’s birthday than a good old ska punk show?! Well I guess hookers and cocaine would be a good time too but where was I gonna find that in New York City..oh wait.

I got to the venue a little after show time but once I got inside, I already missed the opening band. I really wanted to see Against All Authority since the last time I saw them was about 8 or 9 years ago. Streetlight Manifesto was setting up when I arrived so I immediately went to the photo pit and got ready to shoot. I never saw SM before but seen Catch 22 a bunch of times. Thankfully these guys blow Catch 22 out of the water and have such a better sound than the newer Catch 22 has. The band was very energetic and definitely got the crowd into it. I only know some songs off their debut album “Everything Goes Numb” but they did play some songs from “Keasbey Nights, Vol. 2.” What songs they were, I can’t remember. Let’s say the popular ones haha. After seeing Streetlight Manifesto, I want to go back and listen to their albums again since I haven’t really done that.

Reel Big Fish came on next. I thought they would finish last since they had a new album just come out but I guess both Less Than Jake and Reel Big Fish had equal playing time. I thought that was cool that both bands headlined the show. Aaron was in this Elvis-like jumpsuit and made all the rockstar faces & moves. Someone should remind him he’s in a ska band, but that’s probably the joke. The horn section moved around quite a bit but the rest of the guys just seemed to sit there and play. Aaron kept doing these kicks and I kept missing them since he was doing it in front of other photographers. The trumpet player was posing & screaming right in my face but I had my telephoto lens on so I couldn’t get that shot that either. I hate when that happens.

After I got out of the photo pit, I went to the back to take some pictures from afar. I got a few in and this gray-haired, toupee wearing security guard from Roseland walks by me. He saw I had a photo pass, but still wanted to harass me:
“How many songs are you allowed to shoot?”
“um, 3 songs up in the photo pit” I replied.
“Yeah, only 3 songs!”
“Um ok I’m sorry I didn’t know, no one told me I couldn’t take pictures after that”

I just laughed because this power-hungry security guard has nothing better to do than harass me, who actually got authorized to shoot the fucking concert! What was even more ironic, as he’s telling me to not take pictures, there’s a bunch of kids taking pictures with their cameras and cell phones. I’m getting the same shots as they are, yet they are allowed to use their cameras? What a dumb fucking rule that is.

RBF started off with “Sell Out” and played various songs off all their albums. They did seem to favor their newer material than their older stuff but they played the songs I wanted to hear from “Turn the Radio Off” anyway. It’s been quite a long time since I last saw Reel Big Fish. It might have been the Warped Tour in 97, when they were complaining about moshing & crowd surfers. Some of the songs I remember RBF playing were “I Want Your Girlfriend To Be My Girlfriend Too,” “She has a Girlfriend Now,” “Everything Sucks,” “Beer” and “Take on Me.” They played “S.R” and did the million different versions of it. I don’t know about everyone else but I think that’s sort of annoying. Just play one version and move on with it. I’d rather hear them do 2 more songs than play the same song over and over in different genres. I was a little bit disappointed in their song selection but they still put on a fun set.

At this point, it was super hot inside the club and it was also pure mayhem because all the kids were trying to leave the venue to get air. But as it turns out, a lot of people left the concert after Reel Big Fish’s set as well. There were still a lot of people at the show, but you could actually walk around the venue a little. Less Than Jake hit the stage, and their stage was themed as the Price Is Right game show. Chris came out in a suit and said he was Bob Boner.

Less Than Jake opened with “All my Best Friends are Metalheads” and the place went nuts. The band was having a great time on stage, running all over the place. It was hard getting some photos of the JR and Buddy since the stage lighting was really bright behind them. I did get a lot of Chris and Roger though. I’ll be honest, it took me a long time to like In with the Out Crowd’ but now I think it’s a great album! Sure, it’s not as ska punk as they used to be but the band sounds really sharp on that album. They played “Overated (Everything Is)” is next and then “Johnny Quest…” Definitely a great start to the set.

The band brought out 3 contestants (aka fans) to play Blinko. Whatever the little disc thing landed on, they would play a bunch of songs from that album. Much to the crowd’s dismay, it landed on “In with the Out Crowd.” At one point Chris said “he loves that album so much because we all hate it” haha. And he or Roger also said something like “it’s our best album yet no one likes it.” I like it, well now I do..I didn’t when it first came out. They played “Soundtrack of my Life,” “Let Her Go,” “Still Life Franchise” and one other song. I thought those songs sounded great! The next game they played was the big wheel game. A girl landed on “Pezcore” on the wheel. Besides “Liquor Store,” I thought they could have played some better songs from that album. I actually thought it was the weakest part of the show. Since I had to work the next morning, I stayed til the end but didn’t stay for the encores. I would have liked to have heard more from Losing Streak and Hello Rockview but I’m sure they played some songs from those albums in the encore. But it still was a fun birthday and glad I went to the show!


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