My ears are ringing, my back aches and I feel like a hundred years old this morning as I took Liam and Emma and a friend of theirs to see Reel Big Fish play at the Portsmouth Pyramids. Now, as a youth worker, I am used to being surrounded by young people, and it doesn’t normally bother me, but maybe because I hung back from them so as to not cramp their style, because I was effectively there as a bloke on my own (and haunted by the words of the Smiths: So you go on your own, and you leave on your own, and you go home and you cry and you want to die -“How Soon Is Now?” has untold influence on my inner monologue). The audience were made up of teens: a wild menagerie of School and Sixth Form College with a few Uni Students thrown in, and I felt old.
I was there in the 80s and I saw The Selecter, The Specials, the Beat and Madness in that flourishing of Ska from the Midlands. I had forgotton how much energy was implicit in Ska, as today it is given a much more punky edge. As well as enjoying the band, I was just captivated by the exhuberant dancing (not just in the moshpit) and the sheer joy of watching young people enjoying themselves in a unstudied way. In this postmodern world, RBF seem to cross a lot of boundaries and cultures: a melting pot of music and influence. It was great.
…and now my shoulder is killing me. Need an appointment to sort this out by, I suspect, surgery. This is the price you pay for touching base with your youth: Lou should have come too and then we could have experienced this together and it makes me realise that we should get back out to small, sweaty gigs a lot more.
Reel Big Fish “Sellout”
Reel Big Fish Fish “Take on me” – they do a good line in Ska-based covers, even launching into Mettalica’s “Enter Sandman” at one point.