Less Than Jake + Reel Big Fish @ O2 Academy Bristol

2nd February 2014
Review by Connor Flello

RBFPut three bands on a bill and you know you’re in for a good night. Put down three bands who’ve got more dancy tunes than Michael Jackson can bat an eyelid out then say hello to Zebrahead, and some of orange county’s finest ska bands Less than Jake and Reel Big Fish.

They didn’t just make it a good night, it was chaotic. And that makes it a hell of a better time than just your simple night out down the local.

Unfortunately I was late to see Zebrahead but from what I heard their performance was exceptional, even giving LTJ and RBF a run for their money! But as Less Than Jake went on stage, they showed that Zebrahead didn’t really give them a run for their money, rather a slow jog. The band were on fire, Chris DeMakes (vocals/guitar) made fine banter with the audience as Roger Lima (vocals/bass) made as many cannabis puns as he could.

From all the hits with “Look what Happened” to “My Best Friend’s a Metalhead”, you couldn’t help but notice that is was a bit forced, from inviting the crowd to skank on stage with them to win a prize of some sort. Even with that criticism, it felt fulfilling walking away from finally being able to watch your childhood heroes lay waste to the o2 academy in Bristol.

Once everyone cooled down and got a fresh of breath air, the dramatic music that blasted through the air was the big announcement for Reel Big Fish’s arrival. They may have lost the mainstream media’s love, but the cult following still shows how loved they are. Playing hits such as “Sell Out”, “She Has A Girlfriend Now” and songs off their latest album “Don’t Stop Skanking”, “I Know You To Well (To Like You Anymore) and “Everyone Else is an Asshole” with making interludes with Darth Vader’s theme tune and making the occasional joke of Arron Barrett claiming most of the songs were about his ex’s – Adele, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and Justin Beiber all made the hit list – and even covering another one of his “Ex’s” songs “Call Me Maybe” (for those who don’t know, it’s by Carly Rae Jespen) and after the first chorus Arron announced “You know what? Fuck it. This one’s called Beer!” To which the crowd retorted with moshpits and crowd surfing.

The only thing I could say is that it felt like a greatest hits live performance, as there were few people in the audience paying attention to the new songs, to which Arron said “Fuck it, this one’s Sell Out” to get the audience going once again. Whether that’s from the crowds exhaustion is a different story entirely, but Reel Big Fish showed that you don’t need to be in the limelight to have a good time.

It’s always fine to go down the local to have a few pints and a talk with your friend. But there are times when that’s not enough, just fork out the same amount for a gig ticket and support the scene as much as you can. With alcohol, most people have a tendency to forget their evenings. With Reel Big Fish, they gave you a night with memories you’ll cherish. And a sore body from too much skanking.