[Concert Review] Reel Big Fish and Anti-Flag (2017)

Even if you’ve seen a band before and enjoyed them, you should always go in with low expectations. Either they or the other bands on the bill could disappoint. There is also not enough conversation about how boring concerts can be: the downtime before the show, breakdown and setup between bands, and even during the show if the band doesn’t engage the audience. I’ve seen Anti-Flag now three times. How did they fair?

Better than these knuckleheads:

Pkew Pkew Pkew
Most bands draw inspiration from select bands then expand those sounds. The ones that don’t are destined for obscurity. This band has some potential with their faster songs, though that’s generous, because every song sounded the same, with lyrics about hanging out or wasting time. Should draw inspiration from motivation.
Swag: Not until better
Rating: ★★☆☆☆ [2/5]

Well, that was boring.

They sound like a studio band with music statistically written by a team of well-dressed marketers to best manufacture positive reactions from unsuspecting audiences nationwide.
Swag: How about no?
Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ [0/5]

I’d rather be sleeping.”

[I keep out of political discussion.]
This tour was a nostalgic look at twentieth anniversary albums so both Anti-Flag and Reel Big Fish played their respective albums in their entirety. Not just a marketing technique, this was also a good choice because while I haven’t listened to their discography enough to decide on a favorite album, listening through Die For The Government twice before the show and now does capture the energy they bring to their live performances, so that could be my favorite album of theirs. I should “research” more.
After the disappointment of the first two bands, I didn’t expect to enjoy the show right away even after seeing them twice before, and it did take until their second song “You’ve Got to Die for the Government” with its noisy and borderline atonal punk overtones to invite me in and let me get comfortable. They remained exciting and creative through their album playthrough, then launching into a series of hits like “1 Trillion Dollar$,” and their cover of “Should I Stay or Should I Go” did not evoke the cover song red flag, a trick to play a song to get an easy rise out of the crowd, because their cover was faster and grittier than the original. They made it their own.
Besides the singer’s political commentary, he often encouraged staying safe and respecting others, which you’d more likely hear with straight edge and riot grrrl bands than you’d hear with most punk bands. I always like those small touches best.
Swag: No cool shirts
Rating: ★★★★☆ [4/5]

Just hanging in there…

Reel Big Fish
I heard two of their albums and liked them well enough. Stuck around through the obligatory three songs and while good they didn’t impress me enough to last through the fatigue. I haven’t really got into ska. I’d see them again out of convenience or if I were feeling better.
Swag: Not this time
Rating: N/A

Good five hour nap.

My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.