Concert Review: Reel Big Fish, Anti Flag, Ballyhoo! and PkewPkewPkew

A Concert Tour Worthy to Be Reeled In
by: Song River

What do you get when you mix a night up with PkewPkewPkew, Ballyhoo!, Anti-Flag and Reel Big Fish? Without a doubt you get a packed venue filled with punk fans who are ready to release all their pent-up work day stress in full expressive motions like crowd surfing, death pits, singing along with each band's songs, laughter, new friends and one heck of a great time.

Recently on their double 20-year celebration tour Reel Big Fish Turn The Radio Off and Anti-Flag Die For The Government along with their special guests hit Tempe, Arizona on February 4th at the Marquee Theatre.  The venue was packed, the lines outside were long, the parking lot was overflowing to the next parking garage, the fans were pumped and each band built upon that frenzy of Ska, Punk, Rock, night!

Special guests PkewPkewPkew, and Ballyhoo! Brought in their own deliverance of good times to set the evening up as a complete package. PkewPkewPkew out of Toronto, Ontario began back in 2010 all from a Craigslist Ad. (Hey, bands it works evidently)! PkewPkewPkew were the perfect fit to open up this evening bringing their own style of rock'tude that include lyrics about pizza and beer- can't get much better than that!

After PkewPkewPkew delivered their 20 minute set Ballyhoo! Brought their east coast style of a softer side of Punkish Rock that is flavored well with Reggae influences. Ballyhoo's hometown is Aberdeen, Maryland and this favorite alt-rockers thing to do is hang out with their fans and they mean it too.  As they encouraged their fans to come and hang with them after their set was over more than once, and the band held true to their warm jester as they chatted with those out of the crowd back at their merch table. On March 24th Ballyhoo! Will be releasing their new album, girls on Right Coast Records.

After a brief stage change and last minute, fine tuning long time anti-government/establishment very vocal political activist hardcore punk band took to the stage in front of an American flag hung upside down as their backdrop. There was no question how the band felt as lead vocalist Justin Sane began the show, interjected all through their set and ended it with the band's dissatisfaction over multiple current political events. As each unsatisfactory item was pronounced the crowd grew in vocal agreement over immigration, the wall, and at one point Sane explained why their backdrop, the American Flag, was hung upside down, “During times of distress the American Flag will be hung upside down and right now we are under distress.” At this, the crowd's voices roared and Anti-Flag carried on their music to celebrate their 20-year-old album, Die For The Government.

Anti-Flag will be releasing a new album, American Spring May 25th.

In between the sets times of Anti-Flag and Reel Big Fish, the crowd had time to mix and mingle a bit. Heading out to chat with the bands who had completed their sets, merchandise purchases were being made, along with adult beverages, it was a night for an exchange of dollars to goods, and some stepped out onto the Marquee's patio for a breath of air. Fun, friendships, music, capitalism, anti-establishment all rolled into one. As the set changed completed itself to a bright and colorful funfair of Ska/Punk, Reel Big Fish hit the stage. 

This Huntington Beach Ska/Punk band is everything satisfactorily put together in a California Ska/Punk fan vibe. Reel Big Fish was part of the third wave Ska invasion, it was back in the 90's when they released their album, Turn Off The Radio, which went gold on their new record label, Mojo Records. It was everything anyone could possibly want in this genre of music- fun, kick, feel good, let it all go tunes. Of course, their 1997 hit, “Sell Out” was the crowd's favorite as the fans let loose and sang along and the crowd surfing went into supercharged overload. At one point the security guards were so busy helping fans over the barrier that the photo pit behind the barrier became a blur of security guards and arms and legs of fans coming over. 

This was a complete combination of a wide variety of country and city influences in the genre and subgenres of punk music. Two bands celebrating their 20-year marks with their albums that each made their own boot or trumpet print in rock n roll history. Each with its own feel and message all while bringing together with their special guests the meld that was fit for a perfect evening of smiling fans. As the event came to a close, every fan in the crowd left feeling blissfully exhausted, but rejuvenated to take on the next challenge in their lives. Both albums being such huge successes and a large part of every Ska/Punk's discography collection this tour was the perfect gem to ignite 2017.

This is what makes a great concert experience- a place to let it all go- so you can go on and keep on doing what needs taking care of.

Catch Reel Big Fish and Anti Flag out on tour through February 17th at the House of Blues in San Diego.

More Information:

Reel Big Fish

Anti Flag