Turn the CD player up and keep it loud because The Reel Big Fish's new album, Our Live Album is Better than your Live Album, will keep your energy going all night long! When it comes to live albums I am normally weary. After all, in the majority of live elements, voices and songs sound different. However, Reel Big Fish did not let me down. In fact, it was hands down one of the best live albums I have heard in quite some time.
The band is completely in sync on this one and you immediately learn how well they work together. Of course, this CD was a labor of love for the Reel Big Fish. This CD marks the first CD release since their removal on the roster at Jive Records. This is the first time in ten years that Reel Big Fish have been able to call themselves independent artists.
While you might expect a band to show disappointment about losing their label the Reel Big Fish couldn’t be happier. Of course, thinking rationally no talented ska band needs to be saddled with contracts alongside Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys. Think of Our Live Album is better than Your Live Album as a celebration because it’s obvious they were having a party when they made it.
In true ska fashion all of the songs have excellent and upbeat instrumentals. You will hear a mix of trumpets, guitars, bass, drums, and more. The lead singer, Aaron Barrett rarely misses a beat. He is both comical during those moments of live downtime and right on the mark when singing. It is clear that Aaron truly brings the band together though the other band mates Matt Wong, Scott Klopfenstein, and John Christianson definitely do their part. Wong for instance, handles Lead Bass and the falsetto part of the vocals. Anyone who is used to hearing the Fish live or not, knows how important those falsetto parts really are.
Every song in this two-disc set was recorded in January 2006 while the Fish were on the Deep Freeze tour. The discs include 30 songs, including most of the best songs the band ever made. You could easily picture this CD set as the greatest hits of RBF in a live disc. You will be able to enjoy previously unreleased songs such as “So Much for Rock-n-Roll” and a cover of The Cure's “Boys Don't Cry“. As for fan favorites, nearly everything is represented here from “She's has a Girlfriend Now” to “Sell Out“.
Most live albums do not pack the punch of something made in a studio. However, listening to past hits, ”She’s Famous Now” and ”I Want your Girlfriend to be my Girlfriend Too”, made me see that RBF is not only an excellent band, but they are one that every ska fan should see live at least once. Until you can make that happen, I highly recommend this CD.
The very best moment occurs at the end of disc one with the song, “S.R (the many versions of) ”. S.R. stands for Suburban Rhythm and has been a fan favorite for years. This version is a whopping ten minutes where in truly live fashion they decide that every version of S.R. is going to be better than the last. They start with ska and move through styles such as Death metal, Emo, Country, Punk Rock, Disco, Blues, and Run DMC style rap. It is the best moment on the CD not only for the hilarious antics that are shown. but to show the versatility and talent of the band.
Of course, in all fairness a fan of the band will be hard pressed to find a bad part of these CDs. The music is excellent as is the quality. It really gives you the feeling that you’re right there in the middle of the concerts were the music was taped.
In addition to the CDs, an added DVD has been thrown in with some special features and 20 live songs. The live songs on the DVD were filmed during a show held earlier in 2006. Songs on the DVD include “Snoop Dog, Baby”, “Sell Out”, “Take on Me”, “She has a Girlfriend Now”, and “Everything Sucks”. The special features include a photo gallery, interviews with the band, and footage of the band practicing.
If you are a ska fan, you need to check out this CD. It will likely become one of your favorites, as it has mine. If you do not know anything about ska, check out the Reel Big Fish. They are entertaining, original, and well worth the listen.
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