Gig Review

Reel Big Fish
Big D And The Kids Table, Sonic Boom Six
Birmingham, Academy
25th January 2010
Reel Big Fish               Big D And The Kids Table    Sonic Boom Six
Photo Of Reel Big Fish © Copyright Helen WilliamsChristmas is over, it’s raining, it’s cold, it’s dark, and the recession is still going strong. January isn’t the happiest of months, but what better way to beat the blues than an evening of ska? Tonight’s roster is jammed packed full of goodness with Reel Big Fish headlining, and two strong support acts, Sonic Boom Six and Big D and the Kids’ Table, who are successful bands in their own right.

Unfortunately, the evening doesn’t start off well, when Sonic Boom Six fail to hit the mark. Expecting good things, and annoyed I’ve missed the start of their set, I walk into the Birmingham Academy to the sound of ‘Piggy In The Middle’. The girl-guy ratio in the ska music scene is pretty poor, so when women show up in an act, it can really add a feminine spark (Save Ferris and No Doubt spring to mind), but Sb6 front woman, Laila Khan doesn’t seem to be able to pull this off. In fact, she’s just, well, annoying. She looks as though she thinks she owns the show, but the uninterested crowd think otherwise. The constant ‘whoop whoop’s throughout the set doesn’t help matters either, and brings me uncomfortable reminders of S Club 7.

Photo Of Reel Big Fish © Copyright Helen WilliamsLuckily, Big D and the Kids’ table come to the rescue. I’ve been looking forward to catching these guys live for years, so I’m excited to see them for the first time. They put on an outstanding show, worthy of a main act performance. It’s hard to keep track of all the members of the band, and they even have a couple of backing singers dancing on a plinth. They put on a carnival of a show, and set the room up perfectly for the veterans of ska.

After a short break, RBF take to the stage amid chants from the crowd, and launch straight into what is probably their most famous track, Sell Out. With most of their songs clocking in at around the 3 minute mark, it’s impossible to get bored. RBF’s energy seems unending – even more impressive when you think that they’ve been going for 20 years, and are well into their 30s. They keep up their wild momentum up for an impressively long set and maintain their full force, punchy ska for well over an hour and a half.

I saw Reel Big Fish in the same venue last year for the first time, and couldn’t believe I’d been missing out on them for so many years. This year, if it’s possible, they’re even better. Most of the material they play is old, but this is what the crowd crave, who have grown up listening to them, and want an evening of reminiscence.

Photo Of Reel Big Fish © Copyright Helen WilliamsLeila Khan makes a reappearance to duet on ‘She Has A Girlfriend Now’, and redeems herself somewhat. It’s a really fun song, and everyone, on and off stage, is jumping along. Other highlights of the night include RBF’s brilliant cover of ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ (Aaron introduces it by calling it one of their best songs, ‘and we didn’t even write it’), ‘Good Time’, and one of their newer classics, ‘Monkey Man’.

The guitarist from Big D (and formerly of Suburban Legends) makes a special appearance, dressed in a raunchy leather outfit, complete with missing seat… before they finish their main set with another of their covers, A-Ha’s ‘Take On Me’. The crowd bring them back out for an encore though, and first we’re treated to a demonstration of RBF’s ability to ‘master all musical genres’. They play us all kinds of snippets, from Country to Death Metal, before finishing with one of their oldest and best loved songs, ‘Beer’.

Sonic Boom Six – 2/5
Big D and the Kids’ Table – 4/5
Reel Big Fish – 5/5

Review By Helen Williams

 Reel Big Fish

Aaron Barrett
Scott Klopfenstein
Derek Gibbs
Dan Regan
Ryland Steen
John Christianson

 Big D And The Kids Table

David McWane
Sean P. Rogan
Steve Foote
Derek Davis
Dan Stoppelman
Ryan O'Connor
Paul E. Cuttler

 Sonic Boom Six

Laila K (Vocals)
Ben C (Guitar, Vocals)
Barney Boom (Bass, Vocals)
Neil 'Madfish' McMinn (Drums)
Nick 'The Blade' Horne (Guitar, Trombone)

 Band Related Links
Reel Big Fish Myspace
Big D And The Kids Table Myspace
Sonic Boom Six Myspace
 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?