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Live Review: Reel Big Fish And Less Than Jake – O2 Academy, Oxford – 11/02/14

Find out what we made of the Less Than Jake/Reel Big Fish double headline tour when they hit Oxford.

Reel Big FishBand: Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake
Support: Zebrahead
Venue: O2 Academy, Oxford
Date: 11/02/14

When three of the biggest names in punk/ska announced they were heading out on tour together across the UK, it was obvious this was not going to be a chilled out, relaxed affair … and it wasn’t. From the first note of the night to the last, few people in the room were standing still for very long – just how a ska gig should be!

First up of the evening were Zebrahead – slightly lesser known but just as capable of making an impact on the already hyped up crowd. Its becoming more and more rare nowadays for support acts to resonate and really capture the audience’s attention – but in those who do, few manage this as well as Zebrahead. In showing the true meaning of ‘support band’, the Californian punk/hip hop pioneers whipped the crowd into a frenzy all ready for the main event.

Next up came the first of the double headliners: Less Than Jake. With a setlist that was packed full of old and new alike, there was nothing not to like about LTJ. From the very beginning to the very end these guys had the crowd in the palm of their hand and didn’t let go until well after the last note had ended.

Crowd interaction was second to none – from sing-alongs to inviting audience members to dance (or make out) on stage, this had it all. Set highlights included ‘All My Friends Are Metalheads‘, ‘The Science Of Selling Yourself Short‘ and ‘Gainsville Rock City‘ – proving that 15 year old songs can still make a crowd lose themselves with excitement.

Ending the night with a bang were ska veterans, Reel Big Fish. With a career that has spanned almost 25 years, RBF have certainly perfected their craft and know how to put on a bloody good show! Their setlist included the old classics such as ‘Beer‘ and their now legendary cover of Aha‘s ‘Take On Me‘ mixed in with other favourites as ‘I Know You Too Well To Like You Anymore‘ and ‘She Has A Girlfriend Now‘.

Reel Big Fish may not have had the crowd interaction that Less Than Jake displayed but in all honesty, who needs that when your setlist already causes the crowd to sing back every word and jump around more than House of Pain could dream of!

The night as a whole as everything a good ska gig should be – loud, fun, bright and energetic. Even if you weren’t a ska fan to begin with, it would have been hard to walk out feeling the same way.


Reviewer: Amy Jones

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