A phenomenal night with Reel Big Fish

Photo by Claudio Zelaya/FIUSM

Claudio Zelaya/Contributing Writer 

It’s weird to think that this night almost didn’t happen. After a tiring day of school, working, and dealing with my allergies, the last thing on my mind was hopping into a concert pit for the night. However, I sucked it up and drove myself and a friend to see Reel Big Fish at Revolution Live.

The show was held outside in America’s Backyard which I’ve never been in. When it comes to size it’s more or less the same as if it were inside, but it looked way better! A wooden balcony, a bar right in the middle, a BBQ going on the side, and nice stage that was close enough to the audience to really give that family feel! There was even an FIU flag hanging from the rafters!

First up were local natives, BUSHWOOD. I felt really bad that I’ve never heard of them seeing as though they live down the street. However, I was in for a delightful surprise.

It was a very calm and relaxing set filled with funky reggae that would act as the climb for a night filled with adrenaline. The crowd wasn’t the most active during this set, but there was a good group head nod of approval going on in patches of the crowd.

Their singer, Steve Voronkov, consistently made sure the audience was having a great time throughout the set by sparking small conversation between songs. The real kickers for me were the sax solos of Curt Windom! They were so powerful and passionate that cheers quickly followed every time he took center stage. At some point, he made his way into the crowd. They were a great opening act and I’ve made sure to look up their newest CD, Tidal Wave.

Next up , surprisingly not long after BUSHWOOD got off stage, were more South Florida natives, Askultura. Wow, I’ve never seen so many people on the stage at once. I’m talking about band members. There were a good ten to eleven people on the stage for this set.

Their songs were really fast paced and definitely fit the ska genre and the crowd ate it up. I really couldn’t hear them announce the names of the songs as I could barely hear their vocalists’ singing due to what I suspect were some technical difficulties or more evidence of my going deaf. Either way, these guys put on a solid set that prompted chants for an encore! They really livened up the mood in preparation for the headlining act, Reel Big Fish.

Reel Big Fish came out to an introduction theme that resembled that of a Hollywood film. Chants broke out a good twenty minutes before they came out so the crowd was livid as the wait had finally come to an end.   Now, this is where a lot happened.

I’ve seen them live before so I needed to get closer to really enjoy the show and this is where I discovered that some really interesting people go to ska shows. I saw a variety of people in the pit from a kid wearing a sweet Deadpool mask, an older man wearing a Rey Mysterio get up, an even older man wearing a suit like he’s my dad and just came from his firm in downtown, to a really buff man who I could swear looked like the Thing before his skin was altered.

The pit went nuts as they started playing some ska hits. I can’t lie, I didn’t know all the songs, but I learned the lyrics as they were playing to really get into the set. As soon as the pit spread to where we were standing, I lost my friend for a good forty minutes. I don’t know if he got hurt, if he fell in love in the pit, or even if he left. He vanished in the pit, but let’s pretend he had a blast.

The horn section of the band was phenomenal and their singer, Aaron Barrett, made sure to hype them up.  Thankfully they played a couple of the newer songs I was familiar with from their latest album. They were “Don’t Stop Skankin” and “I Know You Too Well To Like You Anymore.” I might be exaggerating when I say this but I promise that I saw a good twenty people crowd surf in just “I Know You Too Well.”

I really enjoyed this song because it included the woman who sang on the track who I, unfortunately, forgot the name of. It also transitioned into another hit, “She’s Has A Girlfriend Now.” This part of the set really put my training as Batman to the test. The crowd got way too intense as people were flying all over the place. I got so tired of it that I just chose a spot to plant my feet and pushed a whole row of people away.

The Thing was also passing crowd surfers to the security with one hand while still singing along! Note to self: Reel Big Fish fans definitely lift. They also catered to older fans by playing songs like “Somebody Hates Me”, “Sell Out”, and “Beer.” People were begging for “Beer” the whole night, no pun intended.

Personally, I loved when they played “Take On Me.” Oh, I found my friend at this point. It turns out he didn’t last two minutes in the pit. Throughout the show, the members made sure to crack some jokes to keep the mood going by joking about how long they’ve been playing, asking people to bring them BBQ while they play,  to uttering the worst words a band could ever tell fans: “here’s a new song.”

Of course the second they ended their “last song”, chants for an encore quickly filled the venue. They came back and ended their show on a high note to really tear the place down! To end my night, I shook hands with the Thing and the office worker we’ll call Mr. Suit to signify a job well done as fans and great night with Reel Big Fish on the Don’t Stop Skankin Tour.


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