The horns ushered in a line up fit for a king last week at the Congress Theatre. Milwaukee Ave. was a rumble with music that could only end in mass dancing and good times. Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, Streetlight Manifesto, and Against All Authority quenched the thirst of Chicago ska fans currently dealing with a lack of touring bands in their genre.
The show started almost an hour before it’s listed time causing many, including myself, to miss out on the openers Against All Authority. As a long time fan of the band, I was truly disappointed to find out my early arrival was really late. I swallowed my initial sorrow of the evening and looked ahead to the remaining seasoned performers on the bill.
By now the crowd had filled out and Streetlight Manifesto took the stage to a screaming audience. Security pulled surfing body after surfing body over the railing as the horn section danced away between riffs. The set climaxed with an all venue sing-a-long to the Catch 22 ska anthem “Keasbey Nights”. Streetlight put on a performance of headliner caliber and set the pace for the bands to come.
Less Than Jake followed with a stage made to look like the long time running show The Price Is Right. The performance included fan participation in games like “Plinko” to choose what albums Less Than Jake would play from. The result led to the band performing material mainly from Hello Rockview and Losing Streak. The crowd gave there mass approval and the song list included “Scott Farcas Takes It On The Chin” and “Just Like Frank”.
A jumping, dancing, guitar wielding Aaron Barrett led Reel Big Fish to close out the night of fun and games. The band is out supporting their latest studio album “Monkeys for Nothin’ and the Chimps for Free” while bringing their lively stage show to venues around the country. The set list spanned there 10+ years of music including tracks “Beer” and “She Has a Girlfriend Now”.
Performances by all the bands reinforced the idea of a concert as an atmosphere for camaraderie. No CD or computer screen could ever provide the certain something that being a part of the crowd gives. The tour finishes up its run later this week in Iowa and fans across the nation will be sure to keep an eye out for the next round.