First Fleet Concerts Presents:
Reel Big Fish - The Life Sucks… Let’s Dance! Tour
Mest, Bikini Trill, Grand Ave Ruckus
504 E. Locust St,
Des Moines, IA, 50309
Doors 6:00 PM / Show 7:00 PM
This event is all ages
Reel Big Fish
Reel Big Fish was one of the legions of Southern California ska-punk bands to edge into the mainstream following the mid-’90s success of No Doubt and Sublime. The band was distinguished by their hyperkinetic stage shows, juvenile humor, ironic covers of new wave pop songs, and metallic shards of ska. The group cultivated an underground following that broke into the mainstream in summer 1997 when their single “Sell Out” became a modern rock radio and MTV favorite. Their appearance in the movie “Baseketball” as the halftime band also gained them more fans and helped the band's popularity to grow. Still fronted by original lead singer and songwriter Aaron Barrett, they continue releasing albums and touring relentlessly, playing more and more countries and bigger venues all over the world.
Reel Big Fish recorded its self-released debut album, “Everything Sucks”, in 1995. “Everything Sucks” became a word-of-mouth underground hit in ska-punk and college circles, which gave the band enough leverage to sign with the indie label Mojo Records.
The label’s president, Jay Rifkin, and former Oingo Boingo bassist John Avila co-produced “Turn the Radio Off”, which marked Reel Big Fish’s first album for Mojo. “Turn the Radio Off” was unleashed in August 1996, and over the next year, the group continually toured in support of the album’s release, expanding their fan base all the while. In spring 1997, the single “Sell Out” began receiving heavy airplay from several influential modern rock stations in the U.S., which soon translated into MTV support for the song’s quirky video. By summer, the song had become a moderate modern rock hit, and the album had charted in the Top 100.
In 1998 the song “Take on Me” from the “Baseketball” motion picture soundtrack was released as the promotional single for the movie and once again found the band in regular rotation on rock radio and MTV in the USA.
The Album “Why Do They Rock So Hard” followed a year later, once again enlisting Oingo Boingo Bassist John Avila as producer. The album was not as commercially successful but is still regarded by many fans as the bands finest work. The band filmed a music video for “the Set up (You Need This)”, the only single released from this album.
The guys wound up on Jive Records in fall 2001 when their current label, Mojo, was bought by Jive’s parent label, Zomba. Reel Big Fish’s first release for Jive, a more rock-oriented record entitled “Cheer Up!”, appeared in mid-2002. This album was very successful in Europe with the video for the single “Where Have You Been” receiving heavy airplay on many music video channels.
Later that same year, RBF did a song for a Rice Krispies called “Snap, Krackle, Pop-punk” which was used in 3 separate commercials. Also that year, they recorded a cover of Toots and the Maytals “Monkey Man” for the Nickelodeon movie “The Wild Thornberrys.” The single for “Monkey Man” was also released in the UK and received heavy radio play as well as the music video being put on heavy rotation on Kerrang TV.
The band’s next album, the cynical yet catchy “We’re Not Happy ‘Til You’re Not Happy”, was issued in April 2005. Touring continued for the rest of the year, and Reel Big Fish happily parted ways with Jive in January 2006, having wished to be dropped from the label since the “Cheer Up!” release.
In August 2006, the group self-released a double-disc live CD (along with an accompanying DVD) titled “Our Live Album Is Better Than Your Live Album”.
Barrett said of this album: “We finally captured the energy, excitement, and humor of our live shows that we were previously unable to create in the recording studio environment. And it all sounds really good!”
The album was very popular with RBF fans and is sometimes referred to as “the Reel Big Fish Stand-up comedy album” because of all the silly stage banter.
The band returned with some new material in February 2007, splitting an EP “Duet All Night Long” with their friends in Zolof the Rock & Roll Destroyer. “Monkeys for Nothin’ and the Chimps for Free” followed several months later, marking Reel Big Fish’s first full-length studio release since leaving Jive’s roster, and 2009′s “Fame, Fortune and Fornication” found the band covering songs by the likes of Poison, the Eagles, and Tom Petty.
In 2010, the band released “A Best of Us for the Rest of Us”. It included a 22 song disc of re-recorded hits and classic fan favorites as well as a bonus disc of 14 Acoustic or “SKAcoustic” versions.
2012 brought their 7th studio album, “Candy Coated Fury” (Rock Ridge Music), an inspired and infectiously catchy return to the hyperkinetic ska and biting wit of the band’s beloved early albums.
In 2014, RBF released their first Christmas Album, a six-song, digital-only album entitled “Happy Skalidays”. The album included 4 classic Christmas songs and 2 RBF originals.
With the late-2018 release of the band’s 8th studio LP, “Life Sucks...Let’s Dance” (Rock Ridge Music) Reel Big Fish are finding themselves with a new focus and a renewed sense of purpose, as well as a-- dare we say it-- happier outlook on life.
Barrett says, “We started recording the album in January 2018 and really took our time with it. Our friend and engineer David Irish just finished building his new studio “Pot of Gold” in Orange, CA, and we loved how everything sounds there. There’s just really good energy and good vibes there, plus there’s a really adorable studio kitten named Iggy Fluff there, so we may have accidentally made a positive, happy record instead of a pissed off, hateful record, oops...well, there’s a little pissed off-ness in there and some sarcastic, funny lyrics as usual! Also, I just got married so there might be a few sappy love songs on the album too! Yuck!”
He adds, “Recording the album with this line up was really fun, we all get along really well these days and everybody was excited to make a new record. Everybody had lots of great ideas and really got creative with everything and I really think it shows.
The new single “You Can’t Have All of Me,” is a danceable sing-along, catchy, hooky good old Reel Big Fish song. We didn’t reinvent the wheel... We just painted more checkers on it!"
The long-running ska heroes, fresh off a summer-long stint on the final cross-country Vans Warped Tour, and appearances at Scallywag! Fest (with Bad Religion, Pennywise, Less Than Jake and The Interrupters) and Sammy Hagar's Hightide Beach Party, remain as popular as ever, as they continue to tour non-stop, playing over 250 shows a year to thousands of loyal fans all over the world, gaining more and more underground popularity as the Ska scene continues to flourish.
Since forming in a working class suburb of Chicago in 1995, Mest have been tearing up the punk rock scene. Playing in local Chicago punk clubs, the group self-released their debut album, “Mo’ Money, Mo’ 40′z”. The band got their first real break when frontman Tony Lovato sent the band’s album to Goldfinger’s John Feldmann who helped them get signed to Maverick Records, and produced their major-label debut, “Wasting Time”, which was released in July 2000. Since then the band has released 3 more albums on Maverick — 2001’s “Destination Unknown”, 2003’s self-titled disc, and 2005’s “Photographs”– and toured the world as part of the Warped Tour.
“Mest was a band that was always known for their live show. It didn’t matter if we had 10 or 10,000 kids at the show, we always put everything we had out on stage every night,” remembers Mest singer Tony Lovato.
Tensions between the band members about the musical direction of the band, growing up, starting a family and not wanting to tour as much caused the band to break-up in 2006, and Mest announced their breakup, as well as a farewell tour entitled “So Long and Thanx for the Booze.” With the band broken up, Lovato spent the next couple of years battling the demons that had built up in his closet. Years of alcoholism and drug abuse had been quietly concealed by living on the road as a part of a traveling circus, but now Lovato was left alone with his addictions staring him in the mirror.
“When I got off the road, I was partying pretty hard and it went from recreational use to a daily thing. It got to the point where I wouldn’t leave my house for two or three days at a time, because I had such bad anxiety,” remembers Lovato. “I remember going on a binge of drugs and booze that didn’t stop for a few days. I went to take a shower and my heart just kept racing faster and faster. It was at that point that I knew if I didn’t do something to change the way I was living I would be dead. I needed to deal with a lot of the issues that I was covering up with drugs and alcohol. I needed to learn how to be a human being again and regain my life.”
After spending some time working on himself, Lovato was inspired to start writing music again. He joined up with new Guitarist Mike Longworth and new Drummer Lil Rich Gonzales. The experiences he had over the past few years had provided him for the perfect place to be creatively reborn. The end result was a series of pop-punk songs that paid tribute to Mest’s past, but pushed the band forward into a future that was wide open. Now after fine tuning the material on the road, Lovato and Mest are ready to have their fans scream the songs from the rooftops as they release their new album, “Not What You Expected.”
“As an artist you have to constantly evolve and if you don’t then you will become stagnant. It was impossible to write the same kind of record as I did in 2002, because I’m just not in the same place in my life,” said Tony. “If I were to try and write the same album, it wouldn’t be genuine and fans would be able to see right through it. This album is just the next evolution of Mest and I think it shows how we’ve progressed as musicians, and creative people.”
“Not What You Expected” is a return to the care-free days of listening to bands like Green Day, Blink-182 or Social Distortion blasting with the windows rolled down. It’s punk-rock with infectious guitar riffs and sing-along choruses that instantly transports you to another place, away from all the world’s problems. More importantly it’s a return to form for a band that has been sorely missed in music.
“When I got back out on the road playing shows, people would always come up and tell me how much of an influence Mest was on them. It is the most humbling and most flattering thing to have someone come up to you and say that you inspired them to want to go out and play music,” he said. ” Then, to have guys from bands like A Day To Remember or Escape The Fate who inspired me to start writing again tell me how I influenced them was a great feeling.”
Lovato brought the circle of inspiration back around when he asked new friend Tom Denney from a day to remember to co-write a song with him. The track is “Radio (Something To Believe)” and is an ode to all the bands that the duo grew up listening to.
“I can’t recall who was more stoked to work with whom. I would say that I was, but he would probably say he was more excited,” laughs Lovato. “It’s a really cool experience to work with someone when you have mutual respect for each other’s songwriting and records. Jeremy, from A Day To Remember, jumped in the studio to record a part for the song, which was amazing. That’s what music has always been about; supporting one other.
Formed in January of 2017, Bikini Trill are a surf-pop trio from Los Angeles, California.
The group seamlessly blend electronic, hip-hop drums, skank island guitars, and powerful melodic vocals to create a fresh sound that has been compared to the likes of No Doubt, Thievery Corporation, and The XX.
The name 'Bikini Trill' is a nod to the various musicians and genres from which they draw inspiration- combining the Riot Grrrl punk mentality of Bikini Kill with current urban and trap influences.
In March 2017, the trio embarked on their 1st SXSWhatever tour in Austin, Texas- playing a total of 8 shows over the course of 5 days including performances at Texas Wildfire Fest and The Future of Music Showcase.
On April 20th the group released their first music video for their debut single 'Sticky Treez'. Filmed in various locations across central Los Angeles and at an art installation in Jean, Nevada called Seven Magic Mountain, the video features a mix of colorful footage and animation. Shortly after the videos release, Bikini Trill released their second single 'Over & Over' which was described as "Glittering Dub-Pop Magic" by indie music blog Nest HQ.
Currently, the band is celebrating the release of their debut EP 'Wassup, We Good?' - which has received praise from The Pier, Nest HQ, and Earmilk.