Music » Livewire

Reel Big Fish

With Goldfinger, Zebrahead, and Homegrown. Tuesday, July 31, at Nautica Stage


No of-the-moment mid-'90s ska-punk outfit suffered more guilt than Reel Big Fish at cashing in on the of-the-moment mid-'90s ska-punk craze. Case in point: "Sell Out," the hit single that made these boys. With it, Reel Big Fish hung its "workin' for the man" shtick on song lyrics, interview sound bites, and T-shirts. It was a rarity: a trendy band that realized how ephemeral its time in the spotlight was. And how laser-accurate trendy the single had to be to catch the spotlight at all. This doesn't make RBF a bad band -- just a lucky one, and now a guilty one. Maybe now it can get comfortable. The market for giddy, boppy, self-deprecating ska-pop smarm is steadily plummeting, but the Fish will slip into Nautica and bang out tunes from an upcoming album that will probably be released on a label so obscure that the ultra-indie chick behind the counter at Record Exchange won't even have heard of it. That's fine with RBF, which is content to be selling at all anymore. As for Goldfinger: Well, these boys soldier on with much the same career arc. Behold a California pop outfit not ashamed to base every decent song on its own past hit single, "Here in Your Bedroom," and cap it off with a cover of "99 Red Balloons." Not a bad band, either, but ironically, Goldfinger's ska-revolution-that-never-happened sound is nearly more nostalgic and outdated than the tunes the band covers now to appear relevant.

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