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Live Review: Reel Big Fish, Goldfinger, Zebrahead

5 December 2012 | 8:47 am | Andrew Wowk

The trademark Reel Big Fish silliness was almost in overdrive throughout and it was wonderful to see a band that has been around as long as them still having that much fun.

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Almost like clockwork, Reel Big Fish returned to Australia for yet another animated, light-hearted and stupidly fun performance.

It's not that Zebrahead are untalented or that they can't faithfully reproduce their songs live. Indeed, they are all great musicians and they delivered a tight live performance with the occasional bit of improvisation (watching Ben Osmundson playing bass at a million miles an hour was definitely impressive). It's just musically they were so out of place amongst the rest of the line-up that it was almost impossible to really appreciate the set. The seriousness and “fuck you” nature of their set was such a huge contrast to the playful, almost total piss-taking of Goldfinger and Reel Big Fish.

Goldfinger, featuring late ring-ins Aaron Barrett from Reel Big Fish and Mike Herrera from MXPX, delivered exactly what we've come to expect from their shows: frantic on-stage energy, plenty of crowd participation (the left vs. right side of the room singing contest was particularly great), hilarious banter and a wide cross-section of their material. Classics from their earlier work, like Here In Your Bedroom and 99 Red Balloons, were given a fresh coat of paint and still sounded as poignant as ever, while newer cuts like Get Up and even some as-yet-untitled gear from a new album in the works demonstrated that they still have it.

As bold, brash, animated and downright hilarious as they've ever been, Reel Big Fish took to the stage with the kind of grandiosity only they can get away with. The departure of Scott Klopfenstein last year was disappointing as he had been a vital part of the band for such a long time, but his replacement, Matt Appleton, did an amazing job stepping into such a huge role and in some ways the recent line-up shuffle has been invigorating for the band. The setlist, usually filled with the same rotation of crowd favourites, was considerably more varied and even featured a fair chunk of material from their latest album, Candy Coated Fury, as well as some of their often overlooked gems such as Thank You For Not Moshing. Of course the classics like Everything Sucks, Trendy, She Has A Girlfriend Now, S.R. and Where Have You Been? received a run, but it was great to hear them slightly reinterpreted and tweaked, and often filled with hilarious mid-song breaks for crowd participation and on-stage banter (the Star Wars Imperial March midway through Where Have You Been? and Billie Jean breaking up She Has A Girlfriend Now were especially epic). The trademark Reel Big Fish silliness was almost in overdrive throughout and it was wonderful to see a band that has been around as long as them still having that much fun.

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