Reel Big Fish brought a steaming hot slice of ska to a packed Princess Pavilion on Saturday, turning a humid evening into a sweaty and sweltering night.
Starting with the wonderful Everyone Else Is An Asshole, the band played hit after hit, with the massive sounding brass and uptempo guitars building an onstage maelstrom that was mirrored by the frenzied, skanking crowd, who pogoed from start to end, only catching their breath between songs as nattily sideburned bandleader Aaron Barrett fired his quips at the steaming masses.
After being joined onstage by Emma May from support band The Jellycats (whose name I had to find out later, I was too busy being enthusiastic to pay attention: she was ace) for I Know You Too Well To Like You Any More and perennial favourite She Has A Girlfriend Now, the band fired relentlessly through hit after hit, trumpets blazing, humidity rising by the minute.
Reel Big Fish are old hands on the live music circuit, but just because they’ve played these shows a million times before doesn’t mean it’s in any way old and jaded. Getting everyone together to kick, headbang, hoedown and so-forth through several varying renditions of SR, the audience had just as much fun as they did ten or fifteen years ago, and the circle pit was still full of kids having just as much fun, even if Barrett’s quiff should now be showing streaks of grey.
The sweaty, ecstatic masses jumped energetically through set closer Beer, and a cover of The Offspring’s Self Esteem, before the group rounded an encore off with their brass drenched version of Take On Me.
The Pavilion is a small venue, and the atmosphere was electric, driving the adrenaline up to eleven, before everyone spilled out sated and sticky into the cool of Gyllyngdune Gardens, to roll themselves post-coitally in the dewy grass.