photos by Saskia Kahn words by Jamie Frey
Fishbone at Brooklyn Bowl - 7/8/12
Earlier this month, the CBGB Festival (plus everything else going on) made for a pretty exhausting first weekend, and to close it out, I found myself going out to see one of my favorite live bands, the eclectic, electric Fishbone at the late show at Brooklyn Bowl on July 8th (one of two shows for the band at the venue). Earlier this year their trials and tribulations were featured in the rock doc Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone.
In promotion of their new record Crazy Glue, singer/saxophonist Angelo Moore found himself sitting with The Roots on Jimmy Fallon, wailing his mighty theremin, performing on network TV for the first time in a while last Wednesday. They also played a live outdoor show in the scorching heat at Metrotech and a special all ages set for the family folk the afternoon before this Brooklyn Bowl performance Sunday night.
The first time I saw Fishbone was topping a ten band bill (including snorers King's X) at Don Hill's over ten years ago. Their great reception at Brooklyn Bowl this past Sunday gives me a feeling of an upswing in their over thirty year career. While introducing the same song, Angelo thanked The Roots, "taking a bullet" for Fishbone by playing "Lyin' Ass" Bitch upon Michelle Bachman's entrance, which was probably the most press the band has received since the 90's.
The real story of Fishbone is their live show, centered around original members Moore, who is a schizophrenic combination of Cab Calloway, Gil-Scott Heron and Iggy Pop, low down pocket groove bassist Norwood Fisher and recently returning trumpeter Dirty Walt, who started the band in South Central L.A. when they were in Junior High School. They are joined by Rocky George (ex-Suicidal Tendencies, Cro-Mags) on guitar, longtime drummer John Stewart and two younger cats, keeping the youthful vibe.
Fishbone's set was as speedy as ever, warmed up from the earlier performance, speeding through classics like "Ma and Pa" and "Everyday Sunshine" with thrashed out tenacity, including a double speed cover of Sublime's "Date Rape". Their feel good reggae flavored songs were cut with heavier tunes and theremin solos. Their composite of unfashionable genres: ska, funk, metal, new wave, hardcore and soul, makes for a crowd that is gleefully uncool, crowd surfing and moshing like Clinton was still in office. Fishbone unironically had a bunch of ladies come dance onstage with them, I guess Williamsburg really has changed.
The older, nostalgic crowd gleefully cheered on their heroes as they interwove new material, like the political title cut from their new album and the brilliant, swing-flavored "Behind My Sunglasses" with favorites like "Sunless Saturday" and their immaculate cover of Curtis Mayfield's "Freddy's Dead." Things can get silly at Fishbone shows; Angelo overseeing a drunk, stoned circus, but this band can seriously play (with a frontman who entertains, what a dated concept!) and is running strong when other bands would have called it quits twenty years ago.
More pictures from the Brooklyn Bowl show are below.