Horns-based ska music is pretty much commercially dead these days, but Huntington Beach’s Reel Big Fish, which has been at it since the mid-’90s, remains one of the few bands of the genre still making a national impact. At the sold-out Palace on Friday, the final show (along with Goldfinger and others) of the cross-country “Crouching Fish, Hidden Finger” tour, the party-minded sextet gave an extra-energetic performance that rewarded the rowdy crowd with a variety of radio hits and other tracks from their three Mojo albums, as well as the requisite cover tunes and even a few new ones from their upcoming release (“Ban the Tube Top” and “Suckers.”)
Opening strong with an charged run at 1998’s “Down in Flames,” the band worked the room as if this was one of the first shows of a long tour, not the last. Led by the antics of singer-guitarist Aaron Barrett (with AC/DC and Zeppelin stickers on his instrument), the players raced about the stage as they played their infectious music, stopping only long enough to shout some frat-minded chorus into the mike.
Among the hour-plus show’s highlights was the segue of “She Has a Girlfriend Now” into a brief high speed cover of a Hepcat tune (“Push ‘n Shove”), followed by a fast and hilarious take on metal queen Lita Ford’s hit “Kiss Me Deadly,” plus RBF’s 1997 anthem “Beer,” which included a visit from bald Goldfinger guitarist Charlie Paulson.
“I lost my virginity to Goldfinger,” shouted Barrett with glee.
The recharged L.A. punk-pop foursome Goldfinger played before Reel Big Fish and worked the room into an early frenzy with selections from its four studio releases. Homegrown up-and-comers Riddlin’ Kids played first.