First up on this double headliner show were the wonderful Fishbone. Formed in 1979, Fishbone are one of those great and criminally underrated bands that no one has ever heard of. The band, who specialise in a fusion of rap, hip hop, reggae and rock, are still going strong over thirty years since they formed.
Featuring three founding members, namely front man and saxophonist Angelo Moore, bassist John Norwood-Fisher and trombone player “Dirty” Walter A. Kibby II, Fishbone are a great deal of fun live. Moore AKA Dr Mad Vibes, is a fantastic front man. On stage, he is an absolute madman, equal parts James Brown and an escaped mental patient! More than once during their set, Moore jumped into the crowd, whether it be to go crowd surfing or start a circle pit!
He is backed by wonderful musicians who obviously know the Fishbone back catalogue inside out. There was a wonderful dynamic between them and Angelo doing his thing, which never felt out of balance.
Some of the musical highlights were a powerhouse version of probably their best known track, ‘Everyday Sunshine’, ‘Party At Ground Zero’ and a cover of the Sublime track, ‘Date Rape’, which the band have pretty much made their own over the years. Fishbone have lost nothing over the years in regards to their ability to charm and entertain in a live setting.
Fishbone were always going to be tough to follow. Troy ‘Trombone Shorty’ Andrews and his band were a wonderful surprise and definitely worked well as part of a double bill. They were also a valuable lesson about not judging a book by its cover; the entire band looked like they had barely finished high school! What they lacked in years, the band definitely made up of with musicianship and talent. Like Fishbone, there was a great sense of camaraderie and musicianship among the band members.
Showcasing tracks from Trombone Shorty’s new album Backatown, the band put on an enjoyable show. A few highlights were the title track of the new album, ‘Something Beautiful’ and a very spirited version of ‘Sunny Side Of The Street;, where Trombone Shorty got to really show off his musical dexterity and command of his instruments.
Musically, the band’s style could probably best be described as a New Orleans influenced take on modern day rhythm and blues; you can hear a wonderful clash of old and new styles of music. Watching Trombone Shorty sing and play, this scribe was reminded somewhat of Jimi Hendrix: like Hendrix, Trombone Shorty doesn’t possess the greatest voice in the world. However, in regard to how he plays the trumpet and trombone, he is truly unique and makes you look forward to where his career will take him.
A wonderful night with two compelling and highly entertaining live bands.
– Neil Evans