Last Tuesday, The Regency Ballroom in San Francisco played host to three amazing bands – Authority Zero, Reel Big Fish, and Less Than Jake. The fans turned out in droves, and the energy exuded was something you would typically see at a weekend show, not on a Tuesday night. All three bands were meant to perform together – they share a similar style of music, and there was a definite progression from band to band. Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake have split headlining duties this tour, and during their SF stop, LTJ was tasked with rounding the evening out. Brilliant!
Authority Zero plays a unique blend of ska, punk, funk, and reggae, and is one of my favorite bands to see open a night. Half-full venue? No problem. No one dancing? Not yet. Authority Zero changes all that and before they’ve wrapped up their set, the crowd has filled in, legs are loose, and everyone is warmed up. I love the band’s intros and bridges and so do fans – with jumps, kicks, skanks, fists, and woah’s abound. I would love to see some new material from these guys.
It has been a couple of years since I last saw Reel Big Fish and I gotta say it was much better than I remembered. I’ve been a fan of RBF since my wee teen years, and have watched the band progress and really solidify their presence in the ska/punk world. It’s like a trip down memory land every time the guys come into town. The band played a lot of material off “Turn The Radio Off” and “Everything Sucks”, and during “She’s Got a Girlfriend Now”, saxophonist Matt Appleton filled in on female vocals. Amazing! He sounded like a young Gwen Stefani! The band seemed to really be enjoying themselves, and it shone through in the music. There was only one thing that could make this night better – Less Than Jake.
I was as happy as a little girl as the Gainesville natives prepared to take the stage. The band was fundamental in my musical upbringing, and really holds a special place in my heart. It had been several years since I last saw LTJ, and I admit I was a bit anxious to see what their set list would offer – but I was extremely pleased with the amount of ‘old stuff’ that they played. I always prefer that bands I like perform my favorite songs later in the event, so I can get my shots out of the way. Of course, I have no say in the matter, so it’s always a balance when I’m still in the photo pit and a song like “Nervous In The Alley” comes on. Do I dance or do I shoot? Why not a little of both? Alas, three songs are up and I’m out of the photo pit, time to secure gear and head to the dance pit, where I stayed the rest of the night. To my delight, the band played a substantial amount of songs from “Losing Streak”, “Pezcore”, and “Hello Rockview”, probably some of my favorite albums of all time. The climax of the night came with the performance of “Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts”. There’s nothing as saddening as seeing LTJ and them not performing “Johnny Quest”, and there’s nothing more gratifying than when they do. It was epic and that memory will remain with me forever.
Did you know there is a PacMan cereal? And did you know that Less Than Jake created its theme song? It’s called “Do The Pacman” and it is full of childhood fun. The band announced the news and proceeded to play the song no less than three times during the rest of their set, complete with choreographed dance. I love bands that don’t get caught up on all this punk politics, and just like to have fun. You can view the song, along with dance, here.
Have a look at all the shots all three bands below.
***Big thanks to Vinnie from LTJ, Vanessa from Fat, and Snodgrass for helping me with entry for this event. Much appreciated!!***
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