Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tuesday night Fishin' in the City

Reel Big Fish @ Roseland Ballroom, 1/20/09 (Click for full size)

Yesterday I got an email from a buddy offering me and my friends a free ticket to see Reel Big Fish at Roseland Ballroom, a medium sized concert venue in midtown and a staple for any live music-watching Manhattanite. Because I felt like having 9th grade flashbacks of walking the halls of my high school, brooding over my angsty 15-year-old life is while blasting "Everything Sucks" on my state of the art discman that I got for my birthday at Nobody Beats the Wiz, I decided to check out the show. I also figured that it was as good a time as any to show off my spazzed out, 25-year-old version of the skankin' dance moves I first learned in my sleepaway camp bunk at age 11 when I was rockin out to the sounds of Mustard Plug and Skankin' Pickle. To give you an idea of what these moves look like, please direct your attention to my faithful assistant, Dancin' Pants Ross (You have no idea how long I've been waiting for an excuse to get that on here. Actually, forget that - you can probably imagine).

When we got to the show, we were pleasantly suprised to find that despite the abundance of awkward shirtless teenage boys forming mosh pits and crowd surfing, we definitely skewed closer to the audience's median age. This was verified by the security guard outside, who told us that most of the people there were "Around 21 - too young for you guys." I politely assured the gentleman, as I assure any 21 year old girls reading right now, that 21 is just right for us guys.

We made our way inside and caught the end of Streetlight Manifesto's set. We didn't know at the time that the band included members of Catch 22 (New Jersey and third wave ska go together like lamb and tuna fish), but that wasn't going to stop me from singing along to "Keasbey Nights" regardless of what they were actually playing. As it happened, they finished up their set with a rowdy horn-filled jam and a rendition of "Keasbey," which was pretty funny and left us wondering if Streetlight Manifesto really was Catch 22 in disguise. Well, not exactly, but pretty much yea exactly.

Next up was the headliner, the band we had come to see after years of somehow missing them on the Warped Tour, Reel Big Fish. Turns out they happened to be celebrating the release of their new album, Fame Fortune and Fornication, an all-covers album featuring 10 songs in less than 30 minutes (or your pizza is free?), which had actually come out earlier that day (they gave us 2 cuts from the album, "Authority Song" and "Nothin' but a Good Time"). The band sounded every bit the same as I remembered from the days when I'd listen to their uptempo jams to get my blood pumping before my track races, mostly because the one remaining original member is lead singer and guitarist Aaron Barrett, who somehow has retained his gameshow host-meets-Atlantic City lounge crooner voice after all these years. There was a lot of moshing and shoe-throwing, which I couldn't understand. I tried to reason with the guy standing next to me that you'd have to show up for a concert with an extra shoe if you planned to chuck your kicks around a concert hall, but he assured me that this is not necessarily the case. I don't know how you'd plan to get home with only one shoe, especially when you have to walk the streets of New York in (what has been a particularly brick effing cold) January. Stone summed it up: "I could certainly make do with one sock, but not one shoe." Amen, brotha.

The band played all the hits you could have wanted to hear, from "Sell Out" to their cover of "Take On Me," "Everything Sucks" to "Beer," "The Kids Don't Like It" to "Thank You For Not Moshing (aka "In The Pit"), during which I remarked to Smelly Pelly that I love it when concert crowds actively participate in songs that make fun of them. Barrett echoed my sentiments after the tune when he attempted to offer the crowd a basic lesson in sarcasm. They brought out sisters Nicole and Simone Olivia of their other opening act, Tip the Van, to sing on "She Has a Girlfriend Now," at which point Smelly fell in love. Overall, I couldn't have asked for a better first Reel Big Fish experience, even if it probably came well over 10 years late.

Two more highlights: First, there was this guy.

The picture doesn't do a great job of capturing just how "My Giant" this guy was, but he was standing right next to me and Stone at one point and I can promise you that it was the only time in my life when I got to see a living model of what Gheorghe Muresan would look like if he were skankin' in a crowded ballroom, a spectacle made more hilarious by the fact that he was doing so next to three extremely tiny girls (Oh, what's that you say? Touche, Sportscenter).

Second, Schiff Happens discovered an unofficial new anthem in a RBF tune none of us had ever heard before but quickly picked up and sung along to while gratuitously pumping fists. Watch below, learn the words.





Good times had by all, which is of course why you should go see live music in the first place. Since you missed out, I was gonna give you a chance to wallow in the relative shittiness of your Tuesday night by singing along to my home video of "Everything Sucks" from last night, but I got tired of waiting for YouTube to upload the damn thing so you're gonna have to wait until later. I'll embed it here as soon as I can.


1 comment:

stone said...

I love the shot out! Nice take, I laughed out loud about the security gaurd comment