Tonight I visited the 02 Academy Leicester for Fuelling The Fire Tour; sponsored by Fireball UK. The venue itself, located next to the University; and the students came in their masses to witness this Ska Punk extravaganza. I found the venue to be a good size and security to be efficient and also friendly.
First up, Mad Caddies. I’d previously heard of this band a few times and was glad I finally got to catch them; punky and rocky with added trumpets typical of the ska punk genre.
An early blast of confetti got the crowd in the mood for a dance; which they most certainly did.
Lead singer Chuck Robertson took time out after the first three songs to address the audience and state that ‘Outside these walls there is racism, sexism and other forms of bigotry. Not tonight, we are going to be free of all of that’.
Anti Flag jumped on stage and dived head first into their energetic set. This band was definitely more punk than ska which was totally fine by me; the lead singer Justin Sane instantly giving off a Billy Joe Armstrong vibe with his guitar which had ‘No Gods, No Regrets’ taped onto it.
‘Fuck Police Brutality’, summarized their rebellious nature; equally celebratory themed with the trumpets involved.
Billy, Matt and John from Reel Big Fish came onstage during their ‘When the Wall Falls’ performance and played a little segment; which drove the fans crazy. A nice little taste of things to come. Trumpets and trombones all around.
Before the headliners arrived onstage we had Fireball reps running up and down the photopit; pouring pure Fireball into the fans mouths and throwing out some inflatables/t-shirts. It looked a right laugh and credit to them for keeping the party going in style.
Reel Big Fish arrived on stage with the classic ‘Everyone else is an Asshole’; their style being evidently tongue in cheek and non chalant from the get go. ‘I Know You Too Well to Like You Anymore’ was a joy to watch live; the overall band has such a joyful and carefree nature to them. Positive vibes all around.
‘Everything Sucks’ amplied their trendy nature; keeping the firm punk vibe alive. Comparisons can be made with Less than Jake and Goldfinger; edgy and punky; but not too serious. The trombones give a deeper sound than the squeeky trumpets and both wrap around each other nicely. Matt’s saxophone work giving an overall more casual flow to the song and of course the bass plodding along as usual.
‘Sell Out’, their most popular song by far, caused an absolute riot amongst the crowd. Fireball balloons were being thrown around, straw hats being chucked, beer was projectiled and crowds were surfed. It was electric.
‘Beer’ was a good song to end on as many many pints were consumed this evening. The overall vibe of the night was great, everyone was having a great time. Their cover of ‘Take on Me’ was saved until the encore but went down equally well with the fans who couldn’t be more thankful for the bands enthusiasm and humbleness tonight.
One last confetti blast to end on. Magical!
Review and Photographs: Neale Hayes