Concert Reviews

Reel Big Fish with Anti-Flag at the Phoenix Concert Theatre

 Punks of all ages packed into the Phoenix Concert Theatre on Friday night to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Reel Big Fish’s ‘Turn Off The Radio’ and Anti-Flag’s ‘Die For The Government’. The line to get into the venue was absolutely insane. Even though doors opened at 8pm, when I arrived at 9:15 the line was almost a block away from the venue, and once I was in it felt as if it was about to bust from it’s seams.

Kicking off the night was Pittsburgh natives Anti-Flag. Their energetic set really got the crowd moving as they performed songs such as ‘Drink Drank Punk’, ‘Fuck Police Brutality’, and ‘Your Daddy Was A Rich Man, Your Daddy’s Fucking Dead’. Between the circle pits, crowd surfers and general moshing, you could tell that everyone was having a blast screaming along to the songs. Near the end of their set, the band introduced two people on stage. One was a representative from Sea Shepherd Toronto, and organization committed to defend, conserve and protect the oceans; while the other was a representative from Amnesty International Toronto Organization, which helps fund Human Rights Awareness events throughout the city. Both were given the opportunity to bring awareness to the crowd about their causes, as well as set up their booths by the merch tables. During Amnesty International’s quick speech, the donations started flooding in from crowd as they were passed up to the security guards and then passed on to the stage. The band and the representative looked genuinely shocked to see the amount of donations that were making it’s way to the front; it was truly a memorable experience seeing the crowd get together to support a great cause. As Anti-Flag’s set was coming to a close, they performed a cover of The Clash’s ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go’, before sending bassist Chris No.2 and drummer, Pat Thetic, into the crowd to perform ‘Brandenburg Gate’.

Up next was Reel Big Fish. The California Ska band brought out the sillier side of the crowd as they performed songs such as ‘Thank You For Not Moshing’, ‘Sell Out’, and ‘Skatanic’. I’ve never really given Reel Big Fish a listen before this show, but I really wish I had beforehand as it was a really fun experience to see them live. They have this energy on stage that creates a positive mood all around.

With Anti-Flag being on the punk rock side of things and Reel Big Fish being Ska Punk, I wondered how the two fan bases were going react with one another. But it honestly didn’t matter that they were different styles of Punk, both bands dished out energetic sets that had the crowd bouncing off of the walls and smiling throughout the entire night.

About author

Content & Social Media Editor at Live in Limbo. Kat holds a BFA in Visual Arts from York University.