Date: March 1, 2020
Opening Act: Keep Flying
Deciding to skip out on the Pittsburgh area for this mini-tour, Reel Big Fish and Big D and the Kids Table picked a spot a little further east for this particular night of ska landing at the former Crowbar club not named Stage West.
Coming along for the ride were openers Keep Flying. Keep Flying played a horn-driven punk rock style reminiscent of Survay Says mixed with a little bit of hard rock. The crowd was into them and the band did a good job of riling them up for an evening of third wave ska.
Following up the openers was one of the hardest working; most talented and friendliest bands in the ska scene today…Big D and the Kids Table. Unfortunate circumstances haven’t allowed me to catch them live in quite some time so I was extremely excited to catch them live once again at their old State College stomping grounds and they definitely didn’t disappoint.
Big D kicked things off with the first quarter of tracks from my favorite album of theirs “Strictly Rude” with “Steady Riot”, “Noise Complaint”, “Souped-Up Vinyl” and “Shining On”. Next up and after “Can’t Be Caught” from “Good Luck”, they alternated songs from “How It Goes” and “Strictly Rude”. They also threw in their cover of Operation Ivy’s “Yelling In My Ear” from their cover album “Strictly Covered”.
The crowed enjoyed a great selection of predominately danceable ska tracks and Big D and the Kids Table sounded great and seemed to have a lot of fun while feeding off of the audience’s energy. I was glad to have seen them again after an extended yet unintended absence from their live show.
With Big D and the Kids Table warming up the rudies with the mid-card, it was time for the big bad rude boys of Reel Big Fish to top off the show. Kicking things into high gear right away, RBF showed the crowd that they were both “Pissed Off” and “Trendy”, opening their set with both songs respectfully.
Reel Big Fish had a great mix of both old and new songs with classics such as “Sell Out” and “Where Have You Been” sharing time and space with modern hits like “Life Sucks, Let’s Dance” and “You Can’t Have All Of Me”. As usual, there was a huge mosh pit with tons of sticky, sweaty kids splashing perspiration on their peers.
The sound quality coming from the stage was great all night so kudos to the sound crew and there weren’t any incidents regarding unruly hooligans. Most of the night people were moshing and dancing to the setlist with RBF live staples such as “Everyone Else Is An Asshole”, “Everything Sucks”, “Sellout”, “Another F.U. Song” as well as their typical covers of “Brown Eyed Girl” and “Take On Me”. Some of the more surprising songs on the setlist were “Thank You For Not Moshing”, “Bob Marley’s Toe”…which is quickly becoming a setlist staple…and “Ska Show”. It was such a great selection of Reel Big Fish tunes.
They ended the night with a funny continuous skit where they couldn’t find the way off of the stage so they had to play a song for the encore. They worked their way through three or four songs with “Beer” closing out the ska show.
I feel that this particular show had a very fast pace to it as the start time was 7pm and I was out the door at 10pm. While I was expecting a longer night and a later arrival at home, I don’t feel like the show was lacking anything due to the short run time as the bands had little to know downtime between sets. There was maybe 10-15 minutes between Keep Flying and Big D and the Kids Table and probably about 20 minutes before Reel Big Fish hit the stage. Again, nothing felt rushed as the songs came quickly and the night really flew by. I honestly preferred the fast pace to the show as it was all about the music and the bands just playing with no down time.
Keep Flying was a decent warm up band to start things off while Big D and the Kids Table really got the crowd in the mood for some ska. They were still just as great as I remember them and I loved their song selection for the evening as most of the songs are some of my personal favorites. Last but not least and with this probably being the 45th or so time seeing them live, Reel Big Fish still put on one of the most fun and entertaining shows in any genre. I really like their lineup over the past few albums and those albums are some of the best in their discography. I’m glad to see them representing the ska scene so fiercely after all of these years. Here’s to another 45 or more RBF shows in my future!
Big D and the Kids Table
Reel Big Fish