October 20, 2011
Better than… bands they've influenced like the Chili Peppers and No Doubt.
We had actually forgotten about one of our gnarliest rock pit injuries — a bruise on the face — received at a Fishbone show some 15 or so years ago. That is, until last night. Planting ourselves right up front for their gig at the Bootleg Theater, we knew we'd be in for some bouncin' (and badass pics), but guess we sort of forgot just how combustible the band still is even after three decades.
Angelo Moore still sweats his soul out and stage dives and crowd surfs, and the crowd follows suit. Fans slam into you to show affection and elation, and the harder it is, the more love you feel. People of all ages and colors communed for a rhythmic celebration that blended mutliple genres at their most visceral: funk, punk, jazz, ska, rock and soul.
The wildly mixed 20-song set last night sort of punctuated the points made earlier in the evening when the band's bio-doc, Everyday Sunshine, screened in Bootleg's adjoining room. Fishbone has always referenced many different styles of music and it's garnered them adoration from fans and fellow musicians in Los Angeles since they began. But as Flea notes in the film, mainstream masses (and record execs) tend to want music more simplified.
The backbone of the band — Angelo Moore and Norwood Fisher — never went the simple route and they never “sold out.” They may not enjoy the level of their peers' success — No Doubt, Jane's Addiction and the Chili Peppers, all of whom sing the band's praises in the film –but it seems they wouldn't have it any other way.
During the Q&A after the screening, someone asked why the above biggies haven't taken the band on tour with them. Fisher said they have, and he revealed that he and Moore have turned down offers as well. “It's gotta be right, ” he said.
In many ways, a Fishbone show cannot be more right than when it's in an intimate setting. Stadiums lose a little of the magic. The last time we saw them was at Sunset Junction, but last night, the power and joy was truly special. The new stuff off their EP Crazy Glue, bubbled nicely into the old stuff, even if the tempos were a less spastic. Faves such as “Ma & Pa,” “Date Rape” and “Ho Fight” were downright nuts. We got knocked down and smashed into the stage repeatedly during those ones, but someone was always there to pick us up. No bruises this time.
Jubilant, jam-like and genial no matter how insane the room gets, Fishbone remain one of the best live bands going. On their recordings they don't fully capture this mojo, though, so make sure to see them live the next time they play. Breaking news on on their big Christmas show and last night's set list below.
Heard in the Crowd: “You get 'cute girl' protection tonight” – dude in Fishbone tee, who tried to body guard us from the bashers and smashers from behind.
Random notebook dump: Wonder what happened to Lawrence Fishburne? The actor — who narrated the doc — was supposed to be there for the Q&A but wasn't. Also wonder: is the “Fish” in his name pure coincidence?
Fishbone will be touring the country supporting the new EP throughout December. They'll be back in LA for “A Crazy Glue Christmas” with openers at The Aggrolites at the Key Club, Dec. 29.
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