On Wednesday the 30th of July legendary ska punks Reel Big Fish returned to Colchester Arts Centre as part of their Don’t Stop Skankin’ tour supported by The Magnus Puto and The Jellycats.
First up were local band The Jellycats. I always seem to be seeing The Jellycats recently, in just over a year I have seen them five times supporting the likes of The Aquabats, The New Town Kings and now Reel Big Fish. The first time I saw them I didn’t think that much of them but since then I think that they have gotten better and better and are now one of my favourite ska bands on the live underground scene. Buoyed on by a hometown crowd The Jellycats were in top form tonight. Playing a selection of songs from their debut album and their brand new EP as well as a cover of the Blues Brothers hit Everybody Needs Somebody To Love they delivered a highly entertaining fun set. The new song Home in particular stood out tonight and should become a staple of their live show for years to come.
Next up was The Magnus Puto from Bristol. I had a quick listen to them earlier that day and found there brand of electro-ska-hip hop quite enjoyable. The Magnus Puto were displaying the more grown up side of the ska genre and I wondered how it would come across as a live act. I am happy to report that live they did not disappoint. Despite the majority of the crowd not seemingly knowing who they were they managed to get the majority of the people down the front moving with their high octane live show. Definitely a band I plan on checking out more in the future.
It was soon time for the main event of the evening, Orange County California’s Reel Big Fish. Since forming in 1991 Reel Big Fish have formed a reputation of being one of the best live bands in the world. During their time together they have gone through many line up changes (lead singer and guitarist Aaron Barrett is the sole remaining original member) and released seven studio albums the last being Candy Coated Fury which was released in 2012. Reel Big Fish always manage to draw a sizable crowd in Colchester. I think that Colchester really appreciates their seemingly yearly trip to England’s oldest recorded town as it’s not often a band of this size visits our town.
Kicking off the set with Everyone Else Is An Asshole the Californian six piece stormed through hit after hit. Sometimes I forget just how many amazing songs Barrett and Reel Big Fish have written throughout the years and what amazes me is whenever I hear them they still sound fresh and new and not twenty years old. It’s a big testament to the band that they can still put as much energy and enjoyment into the songs after playing them for so many years. Perhaps that is because they change them up a bit from the original recordings. For instance tonight they played Darth Vader’s theme The Imperial March before they played Where Have You Been and they broke into a cover of The Offspring’s Self Esteem during fan favourite Beer.A highlight of the show was when they brought out The Jellycats lead singer Emma to provide vocals for the songs She Has A Girlfriend Now and I Know You Too Well To Like You Anymore, this went down very well with the Arts Centre crowd. Reel Big Fishes set flew by and seem to finish just as quickly as it had started. Once again they proved why they are loved so much everywhere.