It was a night full of girlfriends, beer, being trendy and pizza. It was a night that most people will never forget. I’ve been looking forward to this show since it was booked. All the excitement, anticipation and YouTube playlists of The Aquabats and Reel Big Fish were woefully insufficient for preparing me for one of the best nights of music I’ve ever been part of. The Cabooze was remarkably hot, especially when the capacity crowd filled the sold out show. Doors opened at 5:00 and by 7:00 (when The Aquabats took the stage), there were a thousand people there all for the same reason: to have a fantastic time. This was an all ages show, to which many of the concert goers took their children (single digit ages). This didn’t detract from the quality of the show whatsoever. The adults had fun, the kids had fun (they were even a large part of The Aquabats show), there was absolutly no disparity in the audience, it was actually really cool.

Dog Party:

I hadn’t heard of this band prior to them taking the stage, but they were a thoughtful addition to the lineup. The sisterly duo brought with them a peppy, valley-surf-punk kind of feel with them that really got everyone jazzed about the rest of the night to come. There are other bands that I could compare their sound to, but it really won’t do them justice, they’re unlike any one band out there. If you capture the vocal elements of the Go-Go’s, the raw sticky riffs from The White Stripes and the overall surf-punk feel of Screeching Weasel, you get Dog Party. If you see them on the bill for another show in your future, it would certainly be worth catching their performance.

Aquabats:

What do you get when you mix Saturday morning cartoons and SKA? You get The Aquabats. Fighting crime, having pool parties, eating pizza and fighting sharks is all in a days work for the low budget superheros. Not knowing what to expect from the show, I should have expected everything I got. Many inflatable pool toys from a giant shark and beach balls to a huge inflatable slice of pizza were brought out into the crowd throughout the set. Lots of bottles of water were tossed out into the crowd (open of course), kicked or just flung about to try to keep the audience cool. It was hot, but they weren’t going to let that stop them from deliving a top notch set. Lead singer The MC Bat Commander brought summoned a child from the audience who told the audience she was 8 years old and her name was Olivia. I’m not sure who was more surprised, Olivia or the rest of the crowd when she got to crowd surf atop the gigantic pizza slice for the whole next song (“Pizza Day”). I’m certain that’s a memory that is going to stay with her for a lifetime. As for the rest of us, we were treated to a couple of new songs and lots of other material from well over 20 years of recording. Their set wasn’t particularly short (a bit over an hour), but it seemed to come to a close way too soon. With a small army of children waving to the crowd to close the show, The Aquabats did a fantastic job of making everyone over the age of 20 feel just a little bit younger and a lot more carefree. Given the opportunity, this is a definite must see next time they are in town. You might have thought that your Monday was pretty epic, but it wasn’t “8 year-old girl crowd surfing on a pizza shaped pool floatie” kind of epic.

Reel Big Fish:

What words can I use to describe Reel Big Fish? Overdelivered? Spot on? Holy <censored> <censored> what a <censored> show? None of those really describe the show. Have you ever felt like you were in the right place at the right time? Not geographically, but in life? Everyone had that feeling last night. A series of well calculated or unfortunate events lead me and 999 of my new best buddies to the hottest place in MPLS for a simply fantastic show. I know I’ve liked Reel Big Fish for at least 15 years, but I had no idea that I’d be spending almost two hours singing and dancing (badly at that) and being part of the collective phenomenon before me. They hit the stage with “Trendy” and carried every song and every cover ever played on the radio throughout the set (except “Hungry Like the Wolf”). The venue was barely big enough to fit the sold out crowd, but that didn’t stop the mosh pit and chaotic (yet rythmic) jumping about. They simply put on a show that invoked movement. There wasn’t a single person that was motionless or silent throughout the performance. While I firmly believe that Reel Big Fish would have played The Cabooze simply because we wanted them to, they are on tour promoting their new album “Life sucks… Let’s Dance”. The couple of songs they played from this album (“Life Sucks… Let’s Dance” and “You Can’t Have All of Me”) were true to form. High energy, great breaks, fast, slow, brass, jump jump jump, they stayed true to what makes a Reel Big Fish song. Sure signs that they’re still making music for the people that will buy it, of which I can claim I am faithfully a part of.

Review and photos by Paul Allen