By Julia Bertino – Contributor
Reel Big Fish’s recent return to the metro on Nov. 13 was another show for the books. The fun started at Sokol Auditorium with the quirky duo Koo Koo Kangaroo. Suburban Legends were up next, with an almost-boyband approach to ska music. These California boys had their horn section dancing most of the show, and closed out their set with the whole band doing a synchronized finale, reminiscent of N*SYNC.
With the audience sufficiently riled up, The Aquabats took the stage and made up for their 10-year absence from Omaha. From the matching, skin-tight outfits and entrancing video clips of everything 1970s from cartoons to Godzilla, The Aquabats had the audience hooked from start to finish. If it wasn’t for the eccentric actions of the band, one could get lost in the bizarre videos being shown behind them.
The best part of The Aquabats set, though, was seeing two small boys, no older than 10 years old, suited up in Aquabats costumes. These little guys even got to be on stage with their bat-brethren and with the assistance of lead singer MC the Bat Commander, had their first crowd-surfing and stage-diving experiences. After the excitement from The Aquabats, it was time for Reel Big Fish to shine. The band opened its set with its best-known song, “Sellout.” Rocking the biggest muttonchops and Elvis glasses imaginable. lead singer Aaron Barrett got the crowd pumped with silly antics. After each of the first few songs, Barrett announced that the band was done and left the stage, leaving the audience rowdy and loud. Finally the band decided to stop yanking everyone’s chains and finish out its set without interruption.
Barrett and the boys played a lively set of what I like to call oldies, but goodies. Leaving out songs from their newer albums, Reel Big Fish opted instead to play older fan favorites such as “I Want Your Girlfriend,” “Ban the Tubetop” and “She Has A Girlfriend Now,” along with a fun ska rendition of “Enter Sandman.” Reel Big Fish closed the show with my personal favorite, “Beer,” and closed another chapter on my ska concert-going experience.
I’m not sure if it is the band, the dancing or all of the 16-year-olds, but going to see Reel Big Fish makes me feel young again. So until the boys stop touring, you can find me right up front just like I always have been, singing along and dancing my heart out.