Checkers, plaid, mohawks and mods amid a sea of bright red lipstick made up the look of the audience gyrating to the ferocious keyboard riffs, blaring trumpets and choppy electric guitar strums at Viva Ska Vegas.
A who’s-who lineup—including the Maxies, the Skeletones, Suburban Legends, Lets Go Bowling and the Chinkees—entertained the appreciative, sausage-eating and beer-guzzling patrons who waited for headliners Reel Big Fish to take the stage. When they did, it was to “The Imperial March” from Star Wars blasting from the speakers as lead singer Aaron Barrett addressed the masses: “May the 4th be with you!”
As the first chords of “I Hate Your Girlfriend” rang out, the audience became one large mosh pit with inflated fish flung onto the stage while crowd surfers flew through the air. The band moved through the set with the jump-inducing “P.S. I Hate You,” “Where Have You Been” and “Skatanic,” during which fans eclipsed the band’s vocals, singing out every word. Chart-topping “Sell Out” had fists pumping in the air.
After asking for requests, Barrett’s introduction—“This is about my girlfriend leaving me … for another woman ”—led into “She Has a Girlfriend,” followed by a hilariously entertaining cover of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.” Finally, they closed the show with fan-favorite “Beer,” during which ring circles erupted everywhere, the audience acting like a cult rally performing for their leader.
“Reel Big Fish! Reel Big Fish!” the crowd shouted, receiving an encore cover of A-Ha’s “Take on Me,” climaxing an evening of sweat, cheers and a ska-tastic time. ★★★★☆