Halloween, the night where witches, ghosts and other ghouls come out of their caves to celebrate the darkest and coldest months to come… But wait! In London, a bunch of friends from sunny California and Florida came to fight the evil spirits. Rockshot Magazine went down to investigate, and met up with none other than Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake.
Ska punk Halloween? Now we’re talking. Those at Brewdog Camden last night got the opportunity to meet and greet both bands prior to their gig at the Kentish Town Forum. In a laid back and chatty atmosphere, they welcomed their fans, signed posters and posed for photos. The lads were obviously delighted to be back in London. A real treat before winding our way through the crowd in Kentish Town later.
Once in good old K-Town, it becomes harder and harder to move as the colourful crowd comes in mass, most of them in fancy dress. Suburban Legends start the show with their explosive punk rock and lead the way to Zebrahead. Introduced by Team America‘s famous “America, f*ck yeah!”. Rock’n’roll is the only way and Zebrahead are here to show you. The pop punk combo enters the stage dressed as beer bottles with stage crew in lederhosen.
Let’s talk about beers! Dude, you’ve never seen Baseketball? Dude? Dude! Every 90s kid right now would literally be melting of excitement. The crowd is made of all ages, but it doesn’t matter, we’re all shamelessly fourteen again, having ourselves a beer – legally this time.
Reel Big Fish burst onstage with Take On Me and moving onto Everything Sucks. Lead singer Aaron Barrett wears a plastic devil mask, Derek Gibbs smashes his 5-string bass and Billy Kottage pulls faces at the camera behind his trombone. We get all the tunes including She Has a Girlfriend Now and Headphones.
They’re treating us with new singles too and let the cat out the bag : their new album Life Sucks… Let’s Dance will be out on December 21st, just in time for Christmas! Their one hour set of happy ska punk music goes by way too fast, and they finish with Sell Out, a cover of Monkey Man by The Specials – a special wink to the British crowd, and of course beer.
Now it is time to let the headliner march into the arena. Less Than Jake do not keep us waiting, and the band wastes no time to show us what they are made of. Faithful to their reputation, with their clever mixture of angry punk rock and ska, they keep our feet moving and our faces smiling until the very last second. They play their best tunes, accompanied by toilet paper guns, plenty of stage-diving, trombone-extraordinaire Buddy Schaub jumping about and interacting with the audience.
Less Than Jake are really happy to see so many fans singing along and they make time to let us know. We can all relate to History Of A Boring Town and Look What Happened, both about growing up in a “hole” and making your way out to seek a better, less boring future. Their set finishes on an encore with All My Friends Are Metalheads, inviting Reel Big Fish on stage for an epic final sing-along.
Would you trade an evening of fright with monsters and vampires for a night of fancy dress, American ska-punk? No one who was there last night regretted it, and we cannot wait to see what Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake will bring us in the new year.
Live review and photography by Pauline Di Silvestro at Reel Big Fish & Less Than Jake at The Forum Kentish Town on 31st October 2018.