Having not seen Reel Big Fish perform in three years, I decided to attend the Coast To Coast Roast, a five-band show somewhat similar to the 2001 Crouching Fish Hidden Finger tour. So even though I didn’t care to see the new Catch 22 and was a bit uncertain about some of the other acts, I ultimately decided to go to see one of the better live bands in the world, Reel Big Fish.
But before soaking in some RBF, the Suburban Legends, dubbed the “greatest ska band in all the world” by Aaron Barrett, opened the show with “High Fives.” Donned in black, the Legends proved to be quite entertaining with their choreographed routines and other zany antics such as playing catch with their horns. Their music was slower paced ska though this tempo did not deter from their set with “Bright Spring Morning” proving to be a guitar driven highlight. They managed to work the crowd rather well encouraging everyone to clap along to songs and jump up and down. Overall, the Suburban Legends were a highly amusing
spectacle and played quite well.
Catch 22 quickly prepared to play a bit earlier than usual launching into “Lamont’s Lament,” their best song off “Dinosaur Sounds.” So it is certainly lamentable that Catch 22 were unable to write more songs of such caliber for their latest album as the lackluster “Rocky” proved to be the set’s lowlight. Predictably, “It Takes Some Time” followed as the band asked us to dance and bounce around. Kevin then encouraged us to sing-along to “On & On & On” as he marred Tomas’ masterpiece. “Motown Cinderella” and “Chin Up” sandwiched a mediocre “Day In Day Out” as Kevin simply walked about the stage without any real enthusiasm as the song was played rather sloppily. Ryan took the microphone for “9mm” as another Keasbey-era masterpiece was rushed through before “Keasbey Nights” closed the set with both Ryan and Kevin taking the microphone to this sing-along before bidding adieu with “We’ll see you in hell!” Somehow, the crowd seemed less enthused than those who had seen Catch 22 at the Ascot Room last year. The masses didn’t sing along to “Keasbey Nights” or shout “Day In Day Out’s” “Alone in my room...” verse loud enough volume to drown out the band. Catch 22 performed haphazardly to a fickle audience.
In contrast, many of those in attendance seemed excited for the R.X. Bandits to take the stage. Matt Embree told the audience that he wanted to see an old school dance party not a dumb jock party before the Bandits started their set with the swift “Who Would Have Thought” managing to elicit many to sing-along. Despite the opener’s potent speed, the R.X. Bandits set possessed a slower, reggae-like groove for the most part as they often added extended jams to their songs including a long drum solo near the set’s end. Though the songs were slower, the band
still played with vigor and vitality never seemed very lethargic or unenthused-each band member moved around while playing. Diverging from the aforementioned tempo, “Decrescendo” was a powerful conclusion to their performance.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the Lucky Boys Confusion having only heard them once before on the Craig Kilborn show. But about 40 seconds into “Hey Driver”, I was already bored. The Lucky Boys basically play pop-rock with some hints of ska and rap mixed into their style. They were rather pleasant to the crowd with many fans in attendance and managed to name drop both Story Of The Year and Zebrahead, the latter
of whom I would’ve liked to see on this tour. In terms of stage presence, LBC jumped around in sync with their playing but I really couldn’t stand their lead singer’s vocals that were very obnoxious in a New Found Glory/emoy way OR his decision to wear his hat
sideways, a fashion trend that desperately needs to die. As LBC dragged on, I realized that unlike 2001’s Crouching Fish, Hidden Finger Tour, I wouldn’t enjoy all five bands’ sets so I sipped some water and cooled off for Reel Big Fish.
Following LBC’s exit, some metal (Cannibal Corpse perhaps?) played over the PA as I searched for a good spot for Reel Big Fish. The Quest was nearly sold out and Reel Big Fish would certainly meet a better reception than on their aforementioned 2001 tour with Goldfinger when many believed the Fish had been
upstaged by their So-Cal peers. After a half hour wait, Justin pounded the intro to “Dateless Losers” as Dan, Scott, Matt, Tyler (bottle of Jack Daniels in hand) and Aaron, blond mohawk and all, took to the stage greeted by many cheers. Next up was the TTRO
classic “Everything Sucks” though it was played a bit sluggish as the band struggled to keep up with the swift tempo. But “I Want Your Girlfriend To Be My Girlfriend Too” was played perfectly to form as I realized that the band merely needed to warm up. Typical of Reel Big Fish shows, Aaron was in fine form leaping and running about the stage with vigor and energy although his vocals did sound a bit peculiar. Unlike other RBF shows and their Kung Fu Records DVD, stage banter was kept to minimum with Aaron commenting on Justin, Tyler (who later changed into a Jacque
Jones jersey), and Scott’s matching red t-shirts. And unlike my previous RBF experiences, they actually tried to work the crowd as he asked us if we were “ready to sing” before we proceeded to belt out “Join The Club’s” first verse and later, along with Scott
and Tyler encouraged us to sing the chorus to “Cheer Up” during an extended breakdown with each member trying to illicit a greater response. A tease of “I Try To Fuck The Bitches” preceded a trio of older songs including the newly staples “Say Ten” and “Big Star.” I never imagined that “Big Star” would be performed live but it was an amazing sight as lighters were raised and masses sang along. Following the concession to older material, the “Cheer Up” heavy setlist rolled on with “Good Thing” which found Scott and Aaron playing solos together. “Boss DJ” featured an extended instrumental break and it seemed as though they were going to break into “Caress Me Down” but I suppose one Sublime cover is enough for one night. “Where Have You Been?” might have been the lowlight of the night seeing how 1) Aaron has stated that he
doesn’t like playing it so why would he bother putting it on the setlist in the first place 2) I liked it better the first time when it was called “Beer” and 3) “Valerie” or “Brand New Song” would’ve been a nice fit here. Predictably, Reel Big Fish ended with the traditional “Take On Me”/ “Sell Out” kiss-off which both caused a frenzy among the audience. But, Scott came back for an encore along with Matt and Justin to play a new staple, “Drunk Again,” one of the set’s many highlights as the rest of the band later joined
him. “Beer,” Reel Big Fish’s first “hit,” would conclude the Coast To Coast Roast as (oddly enough) Scott played guitar and Aaron held the microphone out into the pit for the “who-ah’s.” The song, sans an extended breakdown, served as a wistful vestige of the Fish’s prior popularity and a poignant reminder of the band’s ability to write a truly great song.
Overall, the Coast To Coast Roast was a bit hit or miss. While I thoroughly enjoyed the R.X. Bandits and the Suburban Legends, Catch 22 and the Lucky Boys Confusion were quite forgettable. But ultimately, it was Reel Big Fish who were the true highlight of the show. On this current tour, they have been delving deeper into their catalog with numbers such as “Brand New Hero,” “Say Ten,” “Big Star,” and “Drunk Again” as a possible thank-you to their hardcore fans and as always, each song is played nearly perfect to form proving the band’s proficiency in the live venue . So, as Reel Big Fish continue to divert from mainstream popularity as their commercial aspirations go down in flames, the Fish will persevere and cater to those loyal fans who really understand and truly care about those who liked their band.
Suburban Legends (4:56 P.M.-5:28 P.M.)
1) "High Fives"
2) "Do It For The Kids"
3) "Bright Spring Morning"
5) "Autumn In The Park"
6) "Up All Night"
7) "Powerful Game"
Catch 22 (5:45 P.M.-6:20 P.M.)
1) "Lamont's Lament"
3) "It Takes Some Time"
4) "On & On & On"
5) "Motown Cinderella"
6) "Day In Day Out"
7) "Chin Up"
8) "9mm And A Three Piece Suit"
9) "Keasbey Nights"
R.X. Bandits (6:32 P.M.-7:14 P.M.)
1) "Who Would Have Thought"
2) "Sell You Beautiful"? ("change my feelings" lyrics)
3) "Taking Chase As The Serpent Slithers"
4) "Never Slept So Soundly" ("feels so good" lyrics)
5) "Overcome (The Recapitulation)"
6) "Mastering The List"
7) Drum Solo
Lucky Boys Confusion (7:30 P.M.-8:07 P.M.)
1) "Hey Driver"
2) "Saturday Night"
4) "Breaking Rules"
6) "Not About Debra"
8) "Anything, Anything" (I'll Give You) (Dramarama cover)
9) "Sunday Afternoon"
10) "Medicine And Gasoline"
11) "3 To 10"
Reel Big Fish (8:35 P.M.-10:00 P.M.)
1) "Dateless Losers"
2) "Everything Sucks"
3) "Ban The Tube Top"
4) "I Want Your Girlfriend To Be My Girlfriend Too"
5) "Join The Club"
6) "Rock 'n' Roll Is Bitchin'"
7) "The Set Up (You Need This)"
8) "Thank You For Not Moshing"
9) "Brand New Hero"
10) "Cheer Up"
11) "I Try To Fuck The Bitches" (tease)/"Say 'Ten"'
12) "She Has A Girlfriend Now"
13) "Big Star"
14) "Good Thing"
15) "Boss DJ" (with extended instrumental break)
16) "Where Have You Been?"
17) "Take On Me"
18) "Sell Out"
19) "Drunk Again"