The weather may have been gray, but Reel Big Fish was vibrant as ever. Stony Brook University students chanted the band’s name in anticipation as they waited for the musicians to take the stage. Without warning, the Superman theme blared over the Staller steps and the crowd fell silent.
As the theme continued to play, the members of Reel Big Fish stormed the stage, dancing wildly in wacky outfits and funky sunglasses. Students sitting on the steps immediately rushed down to join the mob that had formed in front of the stage.
Finally, lead singer and guitarist Aaron Barrett introduced the band and began playing a jazzy tune. Despite the randomness of the events that had just ensued, the crowd went crazy and began to flail and jump—a sure sign the concert had begun.
Reel Big Fish performed at Stony Brook as part of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) Back to the Brook concert series. The members of opening band All I Can Say, which hails from Stony Brook, showed their appreciation for being included on the ticket by dedicating their first song to the USG president, Anna Lubitz. Although the band managed to get the crowd warmed up during the first half of their set, attendees went wild as All I Can Say played a rock cover of the classic Backstreet Boys song, “I Want It That Way.”
Once Reel Big Fish took the stage, the real fun began. Organized chaos in the form of skanking, a rhythmic skip-hop-mosh dance usually performed to ska music, instantly overtook the crowd as the musicians of Reel Big Fish wailed on their horns and played some of their well-known songs, such as “I Want Your Girlfriend to Be My Girlfriend,” “Beer” and “Sell Out.” All the while, the band members kept up a bond with the students by casually talking to the crowd between songs, as if they were just hanging out.
Jake Littman, a sophomore undecided major, had heard of Reel Big Fish, but had no clue as to the type of show the band would wind up putting on. “It was my first time seeing them, so I didn’t really know what to expect,” Littman said. “I hadn’t really heard much of their material before, but I had a great time, and I was thoroughly impressed.”
The band members would also tweak their songs in keeping with the whims of the crowd. One of these little changes started a trend that persisted throughout the show, in which someone would shout, “Blues ending!” and, regardless of how the song really ended, the band would play a classic blues styled refrain.
Another thing the band enjoyed doing was incorporating well known songs into their set. During “She Has a Girlfriend Now,” Reel Big Fish began playing the chorus to Carly Rae Jepsen’s hit “Call Me Maybe.” Of course, the band then proceeded to joke about how the songs sounded similar, but how theirs had been created first.
During the bridge of “Where Have You Been?” trombonist Dan Regan took the opportunity to break out into a solo of “The Imperial March,” better known as the signature theme of Star Wars character Darth Vader. Even when he stopped, the audience filled in the rest of his solo by continuing to hum the rest of the song.
As they neared the end of their set, Reel Big Fish thanked the students of Stony Brook for being a great crowd and went straight into “Take On Me.” The crowd responded by lip syncing, skanking and sending students crowd surfing in defiance of the warning given prior to the show.
Once the show ended, students were a bit disheartened when the group did not come back out for an encore despite the crowd’s pleas for more. However, Kieran Cassillo, a sophomore English major and self-proclaimed “number one fan,” was plenty happy with the show ending as it did. “I loved it. That was the fifth time I’ve seen them, and they get better every time,” he said.