I started listening to Fishbone after working in a local Baskin Robbins one high school summer. Us scoopers would blare Star 94 during work hours, but after closing the older, cooler kids would play their music – a mix of ska and punk including Madness, the Vandals, and Fishbone came on as I mopped up ice cream gunk from the floors with bleach-laced water.
At the time, ska punk already had resurged with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Reel Big Fish, Dropkick Murphys, and heavy hitter No Doubt being played all over 99x circa 1996. These predominantly white bands made me assume that ska was, in fact, “white” music. So after my punk-as-fuck coworker mentioned that Fishbone was an all-black ska punk band, I started paying closer attention and got into them more than the other groups. They not only played catchier tunes but also had been around longer, had a wider catalog, and had far more credibility as a non-musically appropriating group.
Fishbone seemingly always tours and more importantly, always makes a stop in Atlanta at our beloved, soon-to-be demolished Masquerade Music Hall. And I, somehow, always have missed each show. On Wednesday evening, backed by Atlanta favorites Baby Baby, Fishbone took on the Masquerade, and they took it hard.
Baby Baby are best known as “fun rock”, party rockers steeped in punk and good ole fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. The band have been overwhelming crowds, taking the party to the next level venue after venue and this night was no different in their hometown. Their set could have stood on their own, instead, they were the perfect warm up for Fishbone.
Stage diving was had; theremin playing went down; three-part harmonies and crowd participatory singing belted through singer frontman Angelo Moore’s mic. Fishbone brings so much more energy live than on a record. And they somehow do it with tasteful messages about racism and violence seamlessly mixed in – for example, the show opened with “There’s not going to be any mass shootings or racist shit here!”
Catching a band with this much power at a small venue like Hell (the lower level of the Masquerade) makes it all the more worthwhile. The crowd completely loses itself in the show, and the band feeding off it. That energy crescendoed until the moment they left the stage. Fishbone you will be missed, but we will see you again. Masquerade, you will be missed for eternity (but hopefully we will be seeing you at another great spot around Atlanta). – Ryan Fleisher
All photos by Ryan Fleisher, check out additional photos from the evening below:
BABY BABY Photos: