Reel Big Fish Bring Good Times To The Paramount Huntington, NY 3-6-20

There is so much, way too much, negativity and disarray going on in the world that we can easily fall victim to unconsciously or, even worse, purposely allowing mass hysteria to take over our lives. At the end of the day, many of us go to bed worrying more about things like arguing on social media versus just being grateful we have that cozy bed to sleep in. Thankfully, there is music out there to remind us that while things might be a little messy, pressing play on your favorite song really makes the clean up more tolerable.

Keeping all of this in mind, the incomparable legends of Ska Punk famously known as Reel Big Fish have spent well over two decades making devoted Ska fans have a ball skanking their troubles away to witty tunes with a merrymaking horn section and lots of energy. In fact, Reel Big Fish’s latest album, 2018’s aptly-titled Life Sucks…Let’s Dance!, fits these trying times perfectly as it is a champion for good vibes. Luckily for Long Island, NY, Reel Big Fish are touring and the lovable act brought their show to The Paramount in Huntington Village on Friday night, March 6, 2020.

It is a fact, music fans love going to shows on a Friday night and starting their weekend with a grand ole time. This night was no different, as The Paramount was completely sold out by Ska Punk fans ranging in age from five to sixty-five. Not surprising, fans absolutely packed The Paramount to see Reel Big Fish return to the theater’s world famous stage. An incredible atmosphere, a few drinks, and three great bands meant a night of awesome music for hundreds of hard working music fans.

Opening up the night were an exciting and young Ska band called Keep Flying. Calling the New York/New Jersey area home, Keep Flying were making their debut on The Paramount stage to an enthusiastic crowd who was very familiar with songs like “Misbehave” and “Safety Harbor.” Overall, Keep Flying had boat loads of energy, fun songs, and an amazing personality that really warmed up the crowd for things to come.

Next up, playing direct support were Ska veterans and Boston, Massachusetts’ own Big D and the Kids Table. Newer fans may not realize, but Big D and the Kids Table have been around since 1995 and were noteworthy regulars on the Vans Warped Tour. Fans at The Paramount loved them some Big D and the Kids Table who began their set with energized tracks like “Steady Riot” and “Noise Complaint.” Towards the middle, Big D and the Kids Table gave the crowd more mellowed Ska songs like “Shining On” and “Find Out.” A special moment, singer David McWane had the entire place sing “Happy Birthday” to Drummer Alex Brander, who was celebrating his thirtieth birthday. It was great seeing everyone in the band wearing birthday party hats too. To close out, Big D and the Kids Table finished up with the Operation Ivy cover “Yellin’ in My Ear,” “Stepping Out,” and “L.A.X” culminating a great set.

Ding ding! It was soon time for the main event and Reel Big Fish were next on the card. Never a band to overdo their stage setup, a backdrop with the Life Sucks…Let’s Dance! cover art, three amps, and a drum kit was all Reel Big Fish needed to put on the show of the century. Punching the clock, Singer/Guitarist Aaron Barrett, Johnny Christmas (Trumpet), Matt Appleton (Sax), Derek Gibbs (Bass), and Edward Larsen (Drums) took the stage to captivating cheers and adulation from the electric crowd on hand. Many fans who go back to Reel Big Fish’s 1996 era may see that Barrett is the only member left from the classic line-up who recorded their 1996 moneymaker, Turn the Radio Off. While we see some newer faces, most of the guys in the band now have been in Reel Big Fish for between 8-16 years with the newest member, Drummer Edward Larsen, joining in 2014.

On top of their game, all members of Reel Big Fish can really go when it comes to rocking a crowd and on this night they kicked things off with “Ska Show,” giving fans who are old enough a reason to reminisce back to the days of going to Ska shows with their friends. On with it, Reel Big Fish reminded us that it is not so bad being “Trendy” and shared their true feelings with “I Want Your Girlfriend to Be My Girlfriend Too.” Lots of fun, a great circle pit was going already, and business was picking up!

Spreading the word, Reel Big Fish expressed that none of us are making it out of life alive, so hey, let’s have some fun as “Life Sucks…Let’s Dance!” was entertaining as ever. Hold that thought, the next performance nearly went unmatched all night as The Paramount came unglued for “Sell Out,” which was simply amazing. Never holding back, Reel Big Fish kept trucking with amusing renditions of Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl,” “Everyone Else Is an Asshole,” and a fun Ska Punk cover of Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle.”

Another good new song off Life Sucks…Let’s Dance!,  “You Can’t Have All of Me” reminded that it is okay to say no. Later on, “She Has A Girlfriend Now” and the fantastic cover of A-ha’s 1985 smash “Take On Me” were real crowd pleasers. As all good things must come to an end, Reel Big Fish swam off stage for a moment before returning to perform “Pissed Off” and the canny “Everything Sucks.” Though some thought the show was over, Barrett said “Hey, one more thing,” and busted into the opening riff of “Beer,” which elated the crowd once again and put a stamp on a super fun set.

Never ones to disappoint, Reel Big Fish returned to The Paramount with a vengeance for the first time in years. Worth the wait, Reel Big Fish killed a setlist that included a good mix of new and old tunes and it tore the house down. The perfect Friday night, two fun opening bands, one huge headliner, and an adoring crowd made this stop in Huntington, NY, a memorable one for Reel Big Fish and their fans. If you get the chance, put all of your worries aside and see the Ska Punk stars known as Reel Big Fish in the flesh.

Photo credit: Andrew Fiero Photography


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