Reel Big Fish perform ‘Sell Out’ at Town Ballroom - VIDEO
Reel Big Fish came to Buffalo on Saturday night -- with fellow ska throwbacks Goldfinger -- and for a moment I was thrown back into the mid-1990s, when Warped Tour was at LaSalle Park, the Showplace Theater was a hot venue and ska music still felt...well, if not dangerous, not quite so cartoon-ish. Indulge me, kids, as I take a walk down memory lane.
I remember getting a cassette sampler of Reel Big Fish at one of those early Warped Tours and proceeding to play it death over the course of the summer (was this 1995? 1996?), blasting it from tape decks in cars and battery-powered radios at parties out in the woods. Strange times, when Brad Nowell's death was still an open wound, Gwen Stefani and No Doubt were only just wiping off the dirt of the underground, Tim Armstrong and Rancid were culturally relevant, seemingly smart music fans were into Less Than Jake and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones were suddenly the godfathers of a brewing movement.
Ska was cool for a couple years, and then -- like everything else -- the mainstream chewed it up and tossed it out. In my hometown, about 50 miles south of Buffalo, ska was killed dead by a sudden, virulent strain of the Wu-Tang Clan. We all went from pogo-ing at obscure club shows in the city to scowling like Method Man in our own imaginary Shaolins. It's nice to see that there is still an audience for a band like Reel Big Fish, even if that group's roster has been emptied and reloaded more times than the spit valve on Dan Regan's trumpet. Enjoy the video, and skank a little in your office or living room for old time's sake.