I've been a Fishbone fan since 2004 and the one I heard that defines them more than their music is their live show. Fans told me that they were outrageous live and hearing their albums doesn't do their shows justice. So when I had the chance to see them for only $15 in Hermosa Beach, I jumped at the chance. Even better that I found out my old college roommate would be meeting me and my lady there.
What happened over the next two hours? Pure energy and madness. Mosh pits and wild times!
|Angelo starting the show off explaining how he got confused on the freeways.|
They covered acts that showed their influencs – Half-Pint "Greetings", Chuck Brown's go-go classic “Bustin Loose”, Suicidal Tendencies “Institutionalized”, Parliament “The Goose”, Sublime “Date Rape”. It’s why you can’t pigeonhole them by genre. They’re a band. A band that does punk, funk, ska, reggae or whatever they feel like doing.
How can I put the band into words? The deep funk of Norwood’s bass. The awesome horn section of Dirty Walt, Angelo and Jay Armant. The subtle but furious guitar playing of Rocky George, formerly of the Suicidal Tendencies. The energetic keys of Dre Gipson who also added some reggae in his vocals. The synergy! The energy!! Walt, Angelo, Norwood and Dre interchanging vocals.
Jay and Dre crowd surfed with no mercy. Dre actually almost knocked my glasses off when he stage dove during Date Rape but I loved EVERY BIT of it.
|Jay Armant on trombone, Dre on the keys and Rocky George on guitar.|
Security tried to stop the mosh pits but Angelo told em “Let them mosh!” then told security “Make them work out there” It added a whole new dynamic trying to enjoy the music and not be tempted to skank and mosh with the folks. Sometimes you just gotta do what the crowd say do!
I took off my glasses and just gave in to the fun. Last time I did that? 5 years with Rage Against the Machine at Rock The Bells.
By the way, Angelo’s a master showman. Jokes, spoken word, telling us stories of getting lost/stuck on the freeways like any Angeleno can relate to. But Fishbone’s about the band and I was so happy to enjoy Walter and Norwood, the last original members of the band besides Angelo, talking to the crowd as well.
|The 3 remaining OG's of the group. Angelo, Dirty Walt and Norwood on the funky bass|
I’m glad I listened to their older albums before I came because they played joints from their first 2 albums and they still sounded as fresh as their newer songs from the Crazy Glue EP. “Everyday Sunshine” felt as much a religious experience as it sounds on an album. “Skankin to the Beat” had folks skanking and moshing together as one.
|Walter and Norwood getting ready before the show.|
It was just raw energy and with the venue being so intimate, you got to literally smell and feel the funk around you. “Party at Ground Zero” had the place going nuts as a closer and after nearly 2 hours of funk, all you could say is wow!
I left Saint Rocke with a drenched shirt like I had come from a club or the streets of New Orleans. Fishbone are an incredible live act that just keeps getting better with age. You can see why nearly every great L.A. band of the last 30 years either loved them or owed a lot to them.
I saw folks there young and old who were vibing to the show, including one family where the parents saw them in the 80's and their daughter, who appeared to be in her 20's and saw them for the first time. The day after, I was wearing my Fishbone shirt and someone randomly said they were a fan from back in the 80's. Today? A coworker told me the same thing. They are loved deep by the folks who know them.
|My souvenir from the show.|
Next goal? Get my hands on the official documentary. As for y'all. Go see Fishbone live. They must be seen to be believed!