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Reel Big Fish Swim In HOB's Pond


October 22nd, 2018


Ska band Reel Big Fish brought their Tickle My Tikki TOURch as well as a clashing sense of style to the House of Blues Friday night. The stage was overflowing with the band’s six members: frontman Aaron Barrett; John Christianson on trumpet; Derek Gibbs on bass; saxophonist Matt Appleton; Billy Kottage on trombone and Edward Larsen behind the kit.

Founded in California in the early 1990s, the band has undergone several iterations as members have come and gone; Barrett is the only original member of the initial lineup.  Since the halcyon days of their biggest hit "Sell Out," they've gone from a successful recording outfit in the early years of their existence to a cult outfit that has released music on independent labels.  Known for their kinetic live shows, punctuated by frenzied percussion, the band has maintained a rigorous touring schedule since the early aughts.


At Friday's show, fashion was all about anything that could’ve been pulled from a dusty old wardrobe. A full suit, Hawaiian shirt, polo or clout goggles were adorned by the band, represented a fun, irreverent night of music. Although the stage was crowded, not one member stood still during the set; their kinetic energy had a Looney Tunes vibe as they ping-ponged back and forth with a manic energy.

Kicking off the show, the sextet bounded onto the stage with a classic cover of a-ha's “Take On Me." As soon as the song started, audience members began to jump around and form a mosh pit in the center of the audience. The twenty-three tune set kept fans engaged for the better part of two hours.  Offering an inordinate amount of covers, the band clung to their cover band roots by offering songs “All Star” by Smash Mouth and “Closing Time” by Sublime, among several others.


Lead singer Barrett interacted with the audience throughout the entire show; he encouraged audience members to jump around and feel the power of the music.


Reel Big Fish recently released a new tune “You Can’t Have All of Me” just a few weeks ago. Their fans must have been Spotifying the heck out of this song as everyone belted out the lyrics in unison.


Their album Turn The Radio Off  hit its 22nd anniversary this past August; from this album, they played their monster hit “Sell Out.” It was the last song of their set before they reached the five song encore.

Returning to the stage for more, the sweaty, all-smiles outfit offered up a rousing version of Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl," the aforementioned Smashmouth hit "All Star," and a fun version of "Beer."


For well over a quarter of a century, Reel Big Fish has been successfully rocking out around the globe and they don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

Photos and review by Madison Brattoli

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