Live: Reel Big Fish – London Shepherds Bush Empire

By Tom Aylott


THE JB CONSPIRACY kick things off tonight and are on form as ever, getting the whole crow skanking early in the night with their tasty ska-punk and reminding us why we love them. ORANGE on the other hand don’t get the crowd moving anywhere near as much. Maybe it’s because their ‘Green Day-esque’ punk doesn’t really appeal to these ska fans, or maybe it’s their dodgy attempt at humour – either way, there have been and will be far better performances from these guys.

It’s snowing outside, but luckily REEL BIG FISH are the perfect band to warm things up a little. The band have been going for 20 years, and that is something that comes across when you see a crowd of all ages and genders – RBF really do appeal to everyone. And for a band who have been around for so long, it’s amazing that they have the energy of bands who’ve barely been around half as long.

Sometimes, the seated areas are for people to sit and relax, but looking upwards tonight, the same level of enthusiasm is being exerted from every single person in the building. The energy remains non-stop throughout, as do the hits, and it’s a great contender for the most fun you can have at a gig.

Something that Reel Big Fish are very good at, and are famous for, are their covers. Their rendition of Van Morrison’s ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ gets the loudest reaction of the night, creating a truly crowd uniting moment, and the same thing happens during their cover of A-ha’s ‘Take On Me’. Of course, covers aren’t the only thing RBF do exceptionally well, ‘Sell Out’ and ‘Beer’ receive equally as rapturous receptions.

Aaron Barrett is a truly amazing frontman who effortlessly exudes humour, flanked by the rest of the band, and for the period of time they were, nothing of the outside world mattered. Tonight has been another perfect display of a REEL BIG FISH live show, a night full of fun and energy, where everyone got along and had a good time together. Excellent.