These fish still make a Reel Big splash

Reel Big Fish **** (4 stars out of 6); March 30 at Lille Vega

Living Denmark, you must accept that there is no distinct time that the trees will begin to blossom and spring will arrive. With the seemingly endless winter still looming, a Reel Big Fish concert seemed to me the most foolproof way to escape the malaise often caused by the season, known for their festive live shows. Having been blown away by this California-based punk band once before, my expectations were astronomical. While they’d aged a bit, which put a slight damper on the energy level, their performance still satisfied the appetite of the party-hungry audience.

Fellow Californians Suburban Legends were set to open the night, and the choice for a supporting act could not have been more suitable. Their fun-loving ska punk sets will make you dance until you’re dizzy, and tonight’s showcased some hilarious synchronized dancing, anchored by a brass section that would make 90s boy bands green with envy.

After a short 25-minute intermission, Lille Vega had filled up considerably and was set to receive the night’s main attraction. Reel Big Fish entered the stage in the most heroic manner possible with Superman theme music. Opening with “The Kids Don't like It”, Reel Big Fish cemented their presence on stage as the premiere act, and the crowd quickly heated up the arena. Aaron Barrett, the last remaining founding member of the two-decade old band, stood out like the torchbearer in a shiny white blazer, fruity Hawaiian shirt, and a pair of ‘these are so ugly, they are cool’ sunglasses.

After a selection of songs based on the theme of love/hate relationships, during which the twenty-somethings could sing along nostalgically, Reel Big Fish dropped their biggest hit. Ironically called ‘Sell Out’, this song was released in 1997 and to this day, remains one of the catchiest ska punk songs on the market. Other highlights in the main set included classics like ‘Where have you been’ and ‘Everybody's Drunk’, and culminated with the hit song ‘Beer’, made famous by the soundtrack for the 90s cult comedy BASEketball.

Following the show, the energy remained strong in the arena as the audience cheerfully anticipated the band’s return. Their encore opened with the twangy and funky ‘Monkey Man’, followed by the instrumental ska-punk anthem ‘Don't Stop Skanking’. As Reel Big Fish tradition dictates, the reggae inspired ‘Suburban Rhythm’ was performed and then repeated in a selection of styles that inspired everything from vicious head banging to dorky square dancing, and from flamboyant disco boogie to bluesy nods. It was downright hilarious to watch, and as a compliment to the Danish fans, they received the award for ‘best head bangers’.

Reel Big Fish ended the night with a brilliant cover of Aha's ‘Take on Me’.  Despite the predictable set, the old crooners rocked the hell out of Vega, and the audience left ‘skanking’ their way out into the cold Danish night.