REVIEW: Reel Big Fish & Anti Flag Mark 20th Anniversaries

It’s rare that two bands celebrate anniversaries together, but that’s exactly what happened on Wednesday night in New York City as Reel Big Fish and Anti Flag each marked 20 years. Reel Big Fish celebrated 20 years of Turn off the Radio, while Anti Flag marked the 20th anniversary of their debut album Die For The Government. Both albums were released in 1996, so both bands missed the actual 20th by a little bit as neither got on the road in 2016, but celebrate they would nonetheless. It’s a bit odd to see Reel Big Fish and Anti Flag co-headlining a tour with Anti Flag being a straight up punk band from an age where punk was still at its height, while Reel Big Fish are much less punk and much more Ska, but hey, who cares?

It’s no secret that Anti Flag are just what the name says – anti-police, anti-establishment and anti-government, as evidenced in virtually all of their music. Surprising, though, is that they did not play Die For The Government in its entirety despite marking 20 years of the album, though they did play much of it with 10 of their 18 songs coming off that album. In fact, Anti Flag’s first 10 songs would be those 10 from Die For The Government – opening with You’d Do The Same, the album’s title track Die For The Government and Drink Drank Punk as the first 3. Anti Flag continued with their debut album through Your Daddy Was A Rich Man, Your Daddy’s Fucking Dead before going into 8 other tracks off various albums, including a cover of The Clash’s Should I Stay Or Should I Go.

Anti Flag finished up their 18-song set with Brandenburg Gate, which included bassist “Chris 2” going into and playing bass/singing from the crowd, an epic moment indeed that saw the bassist surrounded by many of the fans in attendance. Despite punk becoming less and less popular as time goes on, Anti Flag proves that the genre is alive and well in the hearts and minds of many as they continue to kick ass with their balls out, anti-everything attitude and music, and continue to put on one of the most incredible shows I’ve ever witnessed. Check the full setlist after the gallery.

Justin Sane of Anti Flag shreds at Playstation Theater in NYC

Anti Flag setlist

You’d Do the Same

Die for the Government

Drink Drank Punk

Rotten Future

Davey Destroyed the Punk Scene

Summer Squatter Go Home

Fuck Police Brutality

I’m Being Watched by the CIA

Kill the Rich

Your Daddy Was a Rich Man, Your Daddy’s Fucking Dead

The Press Corpse

Turncoat

All of the Poison, All of the Pain

1 Trillion Dollar$

This Is the End (For You My Friend)

Should I Stay or Should I Go

Cities Burn

Brandenburg Gate

And then it was Reel Big Fish’s turn, and after Anti Flag’s incredible set, they needed to do something to upstage them. And upstage Anti Flag they did, with a ridiculous 20-song set that could make anyone happy. Despite the band saying they were playing Turn Off The Radio in its entirety, they did not. In fact, they only played 7 songs off the album they were touring in celebration of. As per usual, Reel Big Fish came out and opened up with Ole before playing I Want Your Girlfriend to Be My Girlfriend Too and Another F.U. Song, complete with the band giving everyone the finger.

Of the 16 songs Reel Big Fish on Turn Off The Radio, the 7 they played were 241, All I Want Is More, Alternative Baby, Everything Sucks, Nothin’, Sell Out and  She Has A Girlfriend Now. Oddly enough for a band marking 20 years of their second album, they played more songs off their debut album Everything Sucks. 8 in total off their first album including Join The Club, I’m Cool and Trendy. More interesting though was the band’s choice of covers aside from Ole. They played an outstanding rendition of one of my favorite songs ever – The Impression That I Get by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and then they decided to wrap the whole thing up with a cover of a-ha’s Take on Me. I hate that song with a passion, but that’s how Reel Big Fish decided to end an otherwise great show, and hey, it was a fun cover, so I’ll live with it.

Reel Big Fish had real big shoes to fill after Anti Flag’s killer set, and they definitely delivered. Both bands did, and both Reel Big Fish and Anti Flag combined to put on a stellar show that, despite bands of very different genres co-headlining, went off incredibly and somehow went together perfectly. I’d see this tour a second time if I hadn’t already missed the Philly show. It’s that good and worth every second. Check out our photo gallery and full set list below.

Reel Big Fish performing at Playstation Theater in NYC

Reel Big Fish setlist:

Olé

I Want Your Girlfriend to Be My Girlfriend Too

Another F.U. Song

Your Guts (I Hate ‘Em)

Sell Out

Trendy

Join the Club

She Has a Girlfriend Now

Snoop Dogg, Baby

241

Everything Sucks

S.R. (The Many Versions of)

Skatanic

All I Want Is More

Nothin’

Say ‘Ten’

I’ll Never Be

Alternative Baby

The Impression That I Get

Beer / Self Esteem (Offspring)

I’m Cool

Everyone Else Is an Asshole

Where Have You Been

Take on Me

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