Live Review

Live Review: Reel Big Fish/Less Than Jake @ O2 Academy Birmingham – 11/11/18

In what promises to be a great night of live music, co-headlining Reel Big Fish & Less Than Jake also bring along fellow ska bands Zebrahead and Suburban Legends, a huge line-up to say the least. Tonight the tour stops off at the O2 Academy Birmingham, and is a near sell out.


Kicking the night off in spectacular fashion is none other than Suburban Legends, I’ll waste no time and cut right to the chase, these guys are one of the best opening bands I’ve seen in quite some time. They pack so much into their set for the first band of the night that it’s enough to easily make your average headline band jealous. From covering Disney classics, entertaining dance choreography, sword fighting with trumpets and even getting the crowd to sing along to Bob Marley’s ‘3 Little Birds’, they certainly achieve the goal of getting the crowd warmed up for the night ahead.  Their covers of Toy Story’s ‘You’ve Got A Friend In Me’ & The Lion King’s ‘I Just Can’t Wait to Be King’ are definite highlights.


Next up are the superb Zebrahead, DJ Matt Stocks introduces them as they walk out on to stage as ‘the most party band in the world, that even makes Andrew WK look like a pussy!’ A pretty big statement but to be fair they live up to it, when a band has their own beer stall set up on stage they’re clearly very serious about partying, and despite it being a Sunday night the crowd are right up for it as well. Hit songs ‘Call Your Friends’ and ‘Save Your Breath’ are standouts, and vocalist Ali Tabatabaee is on top form. They close with ‘Anthem’ and are joined by the Reel Big Fish horns section in doing so!

First up of the co-headliners is Reel Big Fish, and there’s no messing about as they burst straight into their classic cover of ‘Take On Me’, and this sets the tone perfectly for what is to come as they keep the momentum going for their whole set. Their technical ability is amazing, and they do it all whilst looking like they are having the time of their lives up there, because they probably are! Aaron Barrett is a class act, and his vocals are still as impressive as ever. They play an enjoyable setlist consisting of songs from a variety of their albums as well as a few of their well loved covers such as Van Morrison’s ‘Brown Eyed Girl’, Toots & the Maytals ‘Monkey Man’ and Smash Mouths ‘All Star’. To top it off they close on two songs that made them a household name in the ska punk scene; ‘Sell Out’ and ‘Beer!’


What makes this tour so great is that there really aren’t many bands around that are quite like what we have tonight, and we really are spoilt in this instance! It’s now Less Than Jake’s turn to take to the stage and they do so to their hit ‘Gainesville Rock City’. Like the bands before them on tonight’s bill, these guys are on top form, the horns section are a joy to watch and this is highlighted in classics ‘History Of a Boring Town’ and ‘Automatic’. The crowd are also treated to a bit of mischief from Chris DeMakes, who enjoys poking fun at one or two of the audience as well as some of his band mates. For those who have been to their fair share of Less Than Jake gigs will be well prepared for getting covered in toilet paper, shot from the stage out of massive guns. They bring the curtains down on what has been a truly spectacular show with smash hits ‘The Science of Selling Yourself Short’ and ‘All My Best Friends Are Metalheads’.

Reel Big Fish & Less Than Jake are no strangers to touring together, and after tonight’s spectacle long may it continue! Especially if they plan on bringing along support acts as good as the phenomenal Zebrahead and Suburban Legends!

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