Reel Big Fish

It seems as though pop music has been on the verge of a ska breakthrough for 10 years. But after a recent run of Southern California ska-related success stories --- No Doubt, Goldfinger and Sublime --- it can finally be said that the time for the genre, which combines reggae melodies and punk edge, is right now. Orange County's Reel Big Fish, the latest local ska band knocking on mainstream's door, packed them into the sweaty and sold-out Palladium on Saturday night, the start of a national tour supporting their debut album, "Turn the Radio Off" (Mojo/Universal), that will mostly visit small clubs. The Fish delivered a tireless set of high-energy music that proves the seven-piece band is indeed prepped for national success.

With:
Band: Aaron Barrett, Grant Barry, Andrew Gonzalez, Scott Klopfenstein, Dan Regan, Tavis Werts, Matt Wong. Reviewed Aug. 23, 1997.

Like No Doubt before them, Reel Big Fish combines super-catchy songs with strong musicianship, consummated here by singer-guitarist Aaron Barrett’s sarcastic and often outlandish lyrics about evil girlfriends, bad part-time jobs and other of life’s petty problems.

RBF’s energetic four-piece horn section — two on one side of the stage, two on the other — added sharp brass stings to the band’s exuberant songs. The gig’s highlights were: the slow-rolling “Snoop Doggy Dogg,” which somehow connects a lost love with the Long Beach rapper of the same name; the wink-and-a-nod humor of “Trendy” (“Everybody’s doing the fish/Yeah, yeah, yeah/Please don’t hate me cause I’m trendy”); and a roof-raising version of radio hit “Sell Out,” which featured most of the members of the show’s three opening acts.

Reel Big Fish

Palladium; 3,835 capacity; $13.50

Production: Presented by Goldenvoice

Cast: Band: Aaron Barrett, Grant Barry, Andrew Gonzalez, Scott Klopfenstein, Dan Regan, Tavis Werts, Matt Wong. Reviewed Aug. 23, 1997.

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