Emily and I went to see a concert at the House of Blues in Boston this past Sunday night. We were a little worried as we had to go to work the next day, but we were home by midnight, so all was well. I’m pleased we took the chance because the show was called The Aquabats vs. Reel Big Fish and I love the Aquabats and I’ve never seen Reel Big Fish. I waited a little late to get tickets, but we ended up with awesome seats. I’ll be sitting in that section from now on when I go to a show there.

There were two opening acts and much to my surprise I really liked them both. The first was a 2 person act out of Minneapolis called Koo Koo Kanga Roo. They were surreal. They have a backdrop screen with their name on it and behind that is the cd player or tape player or whatever they use for their music. Their bit is singing and dancing. What makes them surreal is they’re essentially a kids show, singing about the alphabet and dinosaurs and the hokey pokey to house music with their own weird dance moves. The best part is that they treated the audience like a kids show audience and had everyone doing all the dance moves, showing them what to do first, and singing along with every song, telling them what to sing. It was kind of like Pete Segar for the 21st century.

The highpoint of their act was at the end when they did the hokey pokey. They actually went out into the audience and had the kids make a circle and had a mosh/slam pit/hokey pokey. It was awesome. They also made a point of mentioning all their stuff is available for free on-line.

The second act was a band called Suburban Legends. They’ve apparently been around for over 10 years, despite all looking like they’re barely 21. They were a fun band with 2 horn players, 2 or 3 guitars, a bass and drums. The lead singer was occasionally the third guitar. Part of what made them so much fun was the elaborate and enthusiastic dancing done by the horn players. They’ve got quite the synchronized dance routine set up. They had excellent audience interaction and seemed to be having a lot of fun. Aside from liking the music being played, that’s what I look for most in a show so I was happy with both of the opening acts. That doesn’t happen very often. If we get to a music store over the holiday, we’ll be looking for their cds.

The Aquabats were as awesome as ever. They seemed a little more rushed than the last few times I saw them, but that’s probably because they weren’t the headliners. Unfortunately, there never ended up being any “vs” between them and Reel Big Fish. That would have been very amusing. There were no phony commercials, no movie and no throwing small children into the audience, but it was still a great show. Bat Commander did his backflips, monsters were fought, costumes were worn, a robot and a hot dog ran about the stage what more could you really want? Oh, right, music! The music was fantastic as always. Sometimes I think Bat Commander was trying to see how much of a song he could let the audience sing, but that was funny.

Tons of audience participation, audience mocking and ad-libbed shtick made up for them not being the main focus of the show. They have an EP out now and a new album coming out early next year. I’ll be looking forward to it. The Aquabats always have fun pandering to the city they’re in and they really went over the top this time. Name checking sports teams and figures, talking about Boston food, New England, Massachusetts, everything they could think of. They even went on about the revolution and how great it was and how New England rocked and Old England sucked. My favorite part of all this was how he kept referring to the locals as the New English and said that we had a reputation for being polite. Hilarious!

Finally, Reel Big Fish came out. I was worried that after the Aquabats there was no way Reel Big Fish could keep the energy going, but they managed to transition into their own show just fine. The lead singer had good patter, the band was tight and they kept the audience going. They did a few cover songs: Take On Me and Brown Eyed Girl. It was hilarious to watch the teens and 20-somethings moshing while singing Brown Eyed Girl. I would have been really happy if they’d done Hungry Like the Wolf, but you can’t have everything.

They took the encore shtick as far as they possibly could, pretending to leave after just one encore song, then coming back and doing Suburban Rhythm, then pretending to leave, then coming back and doing Suburban Rhythm as a disco song, then pretending to leave, then coming back. They repeated this with Country, Metal and a bunch of other styles before finally ending with Beer. An appropriately silly end to a silly and thoroughly enjoyable evening. Makes me want to start going to more concerts again.

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