On Monday, January 25th, I went to the Music Farm to see Reel Big Fish (a band I didn’t even know was still together), Suburban Legends, and The Maxies. Having grown up listening to more ska punk than I would like to admit, I can’t lie and say my heart didn’t skip a beat when I received a checkered wristband at the door. I meandered through the crowd, surprised at the number of people I saw decked out in fedoras, spiked bracelets, button-up shirts, and vans. It was nostalgia at its finest, but in the worst way possible. Putting all judgement aside, I started to get excited for the show to begin. But then the first band came on stage.
The opening act, boasting to be “the best band in the world from Greenland,” got my hopes up with their claim. Expecting some punk, Celtic, drum-heavy, Sume-like rock to start off the night was a mistake, as was the conception of The Maxies. I have never seen the likes of such a train wreck before. Their aesthetic was that of a drunken ex-rodeo clown auditioning for a spot in the Aquabats, and their on-stage presence was reminiscent of an Of Montreal show with an eighth of the budget, and a quarter of the talent. Their matching red pants, white shirts, red ties, red hoods, and various creepy masks reminded me more of an NA meeting full of juggalos than—honestly, I don’t even know what they were going for with that. There was a dancing man in a crusty polar bear costume who air humped everyone on stage, tried (and failed) to get the crowd as excited as he was, and put off more of an uneasy than carefree vibe. As if it wasn’t already uncomfortable enough, when the lights went out for a second, the lead singer stated: “Oh shit! I got scared for a second, because I’m Jewish and we’re in the south. Just kidding, let’s have some fun! It’s no more fun than [having sex with] your cousin, or a raccoon, but it’s some fun!” They then proceeded to sing a song about clubbing seals. Here’s the thing: if you want to be raucous, rowdy, and raunchy, maybe make sure you’re actually funny. Or at least a little talented.
I don’t know how things could’ve gotten worse after that, but luckily, Suburban Legends took the stage, and tried to redeem the embarrassment we had all had to sit through. Their synchronized dance moves (especially the trumpeter and trombonist’s), the lead singer encouraging a “friendship mosh pit,” their charming covers of “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” “Kiss the Girl,” and “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King,” and their own catchy tunes like “Forever in the Friendzone,” made me want to see more of them. They were an absolute blast, got everyone in the crowd excited, and created a much more pleasurable vibe than their predecessors had.
As I mentioned before, I haven’t thought about Reel Big Fish since their last album came out four years ago, aside from when “Sell Out” randomly comes on the radio or “Take On Me” pops up on shuffle on the iPod I’ve had since middle school. Therefore, I had forgotten just how much fun they actually are. I can’t remember dancing as hard as I did Monday in quite some time, and I certainly have never come as close to dying in a mosh pit (though I don’t know if that says more about me or them). The crowd sang along to “Beer,” “Brown Eyed Girl,” “I Want Your Girlfriend to Be My Girlfriend,” and “Don’t Start a Band” (which I think was secretly dedicated to their first opener), and the dance floor was as hot as it had been at my 8th grade dance. Everyone was presumably having as much fun as I was, and the show was over as soon as it had started. Be sure to grab tickets if you get a chance to catch Reel Big Fish on the remainder of their tour (no pun intended). Maybe show up 30 minutes late, unless you enjoy spine-tingling, cringe worthy displays of public intoxication and tasteless humor, but definitely go; the numerous trumpet solos will make the night worth it. You may even have so much fun, that you forgive The Maxies of their transgressions against performance art, and end up dancing with the keyboard player at the end of the night. Who knows? Crazy things can happen in friendship mosh pits.