Music » Livewire

Reel Big Fish

With Catch 22, RX Bandits, and others. Friday, July 2, at the Agora Theatre.

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Reel Big Fish is one of the SoCal ska-punk horde, the most famous of whom were bands such as No Doubt and Sublime. When these bands first came out, a lot of folks called them the Ska Revival. All of those people were wrong. The Specials and Madness were ska revival; the Skatalites were ska. Bands like Reel Big Fish are sort of a ska-revival revival, and there are two ways to look at this -- either it's a music form so cool that it keeps getting brought back, or else it's utterly lacking in originality and we need to move on. To some, it's a bit of both -- the early Specials were good, and the Skatalites were great, particularly in the early 1960s heyday of staggeringly insane trombonist Don Drummond. But do we still need ska? The stuff out there now is more like punk rock with horns, but is even that better than no skankin' at all? Judge for yourself when Reel Big Fish plays the Agora on Friday. And hey, wear your two-tones and see whether anyone notices. Then ask yourself if this is a ska revival.

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