It was a hopping night at San Diego’s House of Blues on Friday, July 26th. Mest took the stage first, immediately jamming out in true late 90s/early 2000s pop-punk fashion. The energy right was away was infectious, which helped them get people to open up the circle pit after half a song. The band was funny and did a fantastic job of hyping the crowd up by making jokes. They played hits from their 90s albums all the way up to 2017. The closing songs were, of course, their big hits, like “Rooftops” followed by “Cadillac”, with brief interludes (during “Cadillac”) featuring brief of The Outfield’s “Your Love”, Eddie Money’s “Take Me Home Tonight” and Rancid’s “Time Bomb”.
Before the closing song, they made us all thankful for pudding, pizza, multi-ply toilet paper and the Chargers… wait not them…
Bowling For Soup was up next! Three fat guys and a bassist took the stage, rocking right away to familiar tunes. The stage presence was fantastic, as the lead singer flipped his guitar picks into his mouth and made jokes in between songs. The song “Punk Rock 101” really got people moving in a circle pit that did not stop the entire time… except, of course, when they paused mid-song for an “exclusive photo opportunity” set to Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” (they didn’t play it, it was just over the speakers as they posed for touching photos with the crowd). They played hit after hit, including “Almost”, “High School Never Ends”, “Ohio (Come Back To Texas)”, the theme song for Phineas and Ferb “Today Is Gonna Be A Great Day” and a great cover of Fountains Of Wayne’s “Stacy’s Mom”. They stopped the music for a little bit for a cheeky comedy routine, where all four members got up and told jokes which the audience then voted on. Before the closing song, they made us all thankful for pudding, pizza, multi-ply toilet paper and the Chargers… wait not them… fuck ’em. Then came the final songs which were, of course, “Girl All The Bad Guys Want” and “1985” (the latter which the brass for Reel Big Fish helped with). Phenomenal set the whole way through. And, we all got free ice with our drinks!
Then it was time for RBF’s “big hit from the 90s!” which of course was… “All Star”? By Smash Mouth?
Then comes Reel Big Fish. And, they were…. well, Reel Big Fish! They opened with “Trendy”, which is where I got into the circle pit and danced my face off. It was perfect showmanship for a bunch of salt-and-pepper ska dudes. They played hits from their most recent album including the title track “Life Sucks… Let’s Dance!” and “You Can’t Have All Of Me”. They then started to cover “Don’t Stop Believing”, but got bored since it’s a long song and lead singer Aaron Barrett was like, “fuck that.” Halfway through, they brought out a freaking 12-year-old on his birthday who only wanted to play with Reel Big Fish, so he hopped on drums and ABSOLUTELY KILLED IT for “Where Have You Been?” It was amazing. That kid got the biggest applause the entire night.
After covering several genres with their song “S.R.” (punk, disco, country, death metal), they brought out Julie Stoyer (of ska band Dick and Jane) to help with “I Know You Too Well To Like You Anymore” from their album Candy Coated Fury. She also helped with “She Has A Girlfriend Now” right after. Then it was time for RBF’s “big hit from the 90s!” which of course was… “All Star”? By Smash Mouth? They tried again with Semisonic’s “Closing Time”. Of course, it was “Sell Out” and it was amazing. The crowd never let up all through the show right until the band left the stage. With enough cheering, we got our encore, featuring three more songs: “Everyone Else Is An Asshole”, “Beer” and “Take On Me”. The show was great. The circle pit never stopped, the music was good the whole way through and smiles could be seen across the entire venue.
Be sure to catch the tail-end of Reel Big Fish’s summer tour at a city near you!
Cover photo by Jonathon Thorpe