Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, Ballyhoo! at Best Buy Theater


An encore to an encore, the June 22nd show at the Best Buy Theater in Times Square was an additional night on the limited run tour of cities that Less than Jake missed on their initial tour back in January and February.

Opening the show was Ballyhoo!, a reggae rock band from Maryland formed in 1995. Playing a mix of mellow reggae tunes to surf-rock breakup ballads, the four piece band energized the crowd of New Yorkers on a muggy Monday. 

Ballyhoo! | image courtesy of MD

Singer Howi Spangler has a great voice that seems more southern California than northern Maryland.

 
Ballyhoo! | image courtesy of MD

Next up was fan favorite, Reel Big Fish from California. Their set was a lot of fun, with plenty of banter and hijinks between front man, Aaron Barnett and the rest of the band. They played many of their songs from their 20+ year career including "Beer", "She Has a Girlfriend", and even their cover of A-ha's "Take On Me" and "Kiss Me Deadly" from Lita Ford.


Reel Big Fish | image courtesy of MD

At one point, in a humorous and self-effacing bit they began playing covers of various 90s hits like "Smells Like Teen Spirit", "Epic" by Faith No More, and "Semi-Charmed Life" by Third Eye Blind before leading into their own 90s hit, "Sell Out", which garnered mainstream attention, making it on to MTV and eventually reaching #57 on the Billboard charts.

Reel Big Fish | image courtesy of MD

Their set was a lot of fun and laid back, like hanging out in the suburbs with your friends when you were 15. From the constant stream of crowd surfers sailing overhead and the chorus of voices singing along from the audience, it was clear that Reel Big Fish fans, young and old were out in full force.

Reel Big Fish | image courtesy of MD

Less Than Jake, who I last saw in 2013, brought out the big guns, literally for this show. Maybe it was because we were in the heart of Times Square where theatrics reign high, but this show was accompanied with smoke, lights, confetti, balloons, toilet paper streamers, a mascot and a pinata.

Mascot 
and toilet streamers

Celebrating his third divorce, lead singer Chris DeMakes led the band through a roster of selections from their discography, including older songs like "Automatic", "Look What Happened", as well as "Good Enough" and "John the Baptist Bones" from their newest album, See the Light.

Less Than Jake | image courtesy of MD

This was their second time within a week playing in New York, at the same venue no less, so the set was less structured and it was nice to hear a few more older songs that they may not normally play.

Less Than Jake | image courtesy of MD

Less Than Jake | image courtesy of MD

As the night continued, the party on stage grew as the other bands and their entourages gathered around to not only watch Less Than Jake but also to make quick work of a few bottles of whiskey.

Less Than Jake | image courtesy of MD


Adhering to a strict curfew, they closed out the evening with an encore performance of "The Rest of My Life", "History of a Boring Town" and "All My Best Friends Are Metalheads".


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