After completing a nationwide tour last weekend, Huntington Beach ska bands Reel Big Fish and Suburban Legends returned home to Orange County on Saturday for a final tour performance at the City National Grove of Anaheim.
Kicking off the show, the Maxies, a pop-punk band from Greenland, played humorous songs to get the crowd riled up. Although a different genre than the rest of the bands on the bill, the Maxies proved that they were still welcomed by the crowd of ska fans.
Throughout their set, they poked fun at the other bands, such as the "dancing girls" in Suburban Legends — referring to the group's onstage choreography.
"Who likes to go clubbing?" vocalist Maximum Maxie asked the crowd, who roared in response.
With that, the Maxies played "Clubbing" and put a spin on the word by actually meaning clubbing baby seals. The catchy yet tasteless song named various types of arctic animals and even had a man in a polar bear costume dance onstage.
After the Maxies, Suburban Legends gave the first taste of ska for the night. Beginning with the upbeat "Bright Spring Morning," the Surf City band was truly welcomed home. As the band danced, the majority of the audience was also moving and kicking their legs to the tunes.
"The Grove always gives the best hometown shows," said vocalist Vincent Walker. "Even more than our shows at Disneyland."
Suburban Legends played original fan favorites like "Just Be Happy" and "My Friend," which they wrote about Reel Big Fish lead vocalist Aaron Barrett.
The group also played its covers of the popular YouTube song "Bed Intruder" and "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" from Disney's "The Lion King."
Suburban Legends ended its set with the infectious "High Fives," which inspired audience members and the band to high-five each other, before breaking into a cover of Queen's "We Are the Champions."
Big D and the Kids Table, a ska-punk band from Boston, ignited a fury of mosh pits throughout the crowd as soon as it began its set with "Steady Riot."
Vocalist David McWane, who often sings about activism and political issues, appeared fascinated with the recent riots, as he asked the crowd about them. He also touched on other local tidbits, such as the new No Doubt song.
"What do you guys think of it?" McWane asked to the crowd, who mostly responded positively. "Let's tell No Doubt to stop playing pop music so they can help save the ska scene."
Like Suburban Legends, Big D and the Kids Table also mentioned how enjoyable the tour was.
"The Summer of Ska tour was the best summer tour of this summer," McWane said before thanking Reel Big Fish and dedicating the singalong "Hell On Earth" to them.
Big D and the Kids Table finished its set with "LAX," a comical tune that makes fun of stuck-up people from Los Angeles. As the band played, McWane frequently jumped into the crowd and sang along with the fans, who pushed toward him.
Reel Big Fish concluded the show with its witty and sarcastic songs. Not only was the band celebrating the final night of the tour, but the show also served as the band's CD release party.
However, Reel Big Fish only played "Punisher" and "Don't Stop Skanking" from the new album, "Candy Coated Fury," which was released July 31. "Punisher" told of an obsessive girlfriend, while "Don't Stop Skanking" was mostly instrumental and inspired the crowd to "skank," a form of dancing to ska.
While Reel Big Fish's sets are usually entertaining because of the band's humor, Saturday's performance fell a bit flat because of its unoriginality. Not only did Reel Big Fish play the same songs as Wednesday's performance at the House of Blues Sunset Strip, but it also told the same jokes, as if scripted. This made the set somewhat predictable for fans who had attended previous nights of the tour.
Nevertheless, the repetitiveness did not affect the set too much, as the crowd continued to dance and sing along to songs like "Ban the Tube Top," "Good Thing" and "Trendy."
The band's set also included a cover of Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" as well as a slew of other nostalgic hits, into which they inserted the lyrics of "Ban the Tube Top."
Reel Big Fish finished the night strong with its 1990s hit "Sell Out" and its popular cover of A-Ha's "Take On Me."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun