Fishbone fuses funk into frozen Montana night

Fishbone
Fishbone members Fernando Pullum on trumpet, drummer John Steward, vocalist Angelo Moore and bassist Norwood Fisher perform at the Garage Pub in mid-March.
Fishbone founder, lead singer and saxophonist Angelo Moore performs at the Garage Pub.

As the clock ticked on and opening act Loopian Zu ran out of jams to keep the crowd entertained, event promoter Sean Lynch wrung his hands together. Watching his nervous face, I began to wonder if Fishbone would make it into town at all. Several hours late, the band finally pulled up to the venue on a frigid Montana evening.

“We’ve been traveling for what felt like 10 hours,” the band’s lead vocalists and sax player, Angelo Moore, said. “This icy, snowy, artic shit…well…we’ve come her for you!” The crowd, decent for a Wednesday but small for a big act such as Fishbone, cheered jubilantly.

Moore, aka Dr. Madd Vibe and founder of Fishbone, introduced the band, which included orignal members Norwood Fisher on bass and John Steward on drums. The lineup also included Rocky George (of Suicidal Tendencies) on guitar, John Mcknight on trombone, Dre Gipson on keyboard, and Fernando Pullum on trumpet.

From the tiny stage in the Garage Pub, the band blasted the crowd with their distinctive sound, a funky fusion of ska, jazz, punk they’ve honed during the last 20+ years. Moore and several other members took turns diving into the crowd, handing the mic around and crowd surfing. Teeming with energy, at one point Moore dived off the top of the club’s speaker stack. Band and audience members alike seemed to revel in the intimate club, (Fishbone was on the “bucket list” of one attendee). Surrounded by longtime fans, Fishbone played long past last call.
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Shrine Auditorium floor does not collapse despite best efforts of sold-out crowd at Dropkick Murphys

Dropkick Murphys lead singer Al Barr (center) performs to a sold-out crowd at the Shrine Auditorium. (Photo by Casey Riffe)
Dropkick Murphys lead singer Al Barr (center) performs to a sold-out crowd at the Shrine Auditorium. (Photo by Casey Riffe)

A sign hung on the Shrine Box Office window last night said it all: “Dropkick Murphys Show Sold Out.”

Inside, standing in line for beer was like being in a mosh pit. The actual mosh pit was enough to make the floor of the Shrine Auditorium (less of an auditorium and more of a high school gymnasium) buckle under the weight of a couple thousand fans. The last time that gym saw that many people, Keith Urban was playing, and his crowd doesn’t do the Riverdance.

Dropkick Murphys headline a show at Billings' Shrine Auditorium Feb. 25, 2009.
Dropkick Murphys headline a show at Billings' Shrine Auditorium Feb. 25, 2009.

With a vengeful opening, the boys of Boston–bagpipes and all–unfurled their Celtic banner and plowed onstage, diving into the red stage lights. The myriad of fans broke into cheers and the band began a engrossing set of boisterous punk rock fused with their trademark Celtic melodies. The seven-piece band engulfed the stage; their lyrics sloshed perfectly with the exuberant crowd and their energy kept the gym buzzing.

A handful of people weren’t there to see the Dropkicks, as evident by their mass exodus following opening band H2O’s performance.

The melodic New York hardcore band, which developed a core following in the late 1990s, recently reformed and hit the road. Ten years older and claiming they’re not on a comeback, the band is touring in support of 2008’s “Nothing to Prove.”

With nothing to prove and a slew of covers ranging from Fugazi to Black Sabbath, the band was 10 years riper, and arguably past their prime.

Sold-out Girl Talk concert in Bozeman ushers back the 80s

Girl Talk, aka Greg Gillis, performs to a sold-out crowd in Bozoman Feb. 20, 2009 at the Gallatin County Fair Grounds.
Girl Talk, aka Greg Gillis, performs to a sold-out crowd in Bozoman Feb. 20, 2009 at the Gallatin County Fair Grounds.

Recycling the worst parts of the 80s (or the best, depending on whom you’re talking to), many members of the sold-out crowd at Friday’s Girl Talk concert at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds in Bozeman were there for one reason: to dress like was 1982.

Slinky tops with exposed bras, pink fishnet tights, glow-stick bracelets and stunner shades were all the rage. Complete with pink-rimmed sunglasses with baby blue legs, a blonde chatting incessantly with her circle of gals, glitter and glam dripping from them, mentioned proudly, “I got them at Hot Topic.”

Girl Talk, aka Greg Gillis, performs to a sold-out crowd in Bozoman Feb. 20, 2009 at the Gallatin County Fair Grounds.
Girl Talk, aka Greg Gillis, performs to a sold-out crowd in Bozoman Feb. 20, 2009 at the Gallatin County Fair Grounds.
Crowds gather on Bozoman's dirt-floor venue, the Gallatin County Fair Grounds.
Crowds gather on Bozoman's dirt-floor venue, the Gallatin County Fair Grounds.

Attendees weren’t all leg warmers and leotards, though. The metal-barn-turned-venue was packed to capacity. Some leaned on the ropes that separate the rodeo stands from the dirt floor, some kicked up dust in the arena, and many hung out in the makeshift bullpen for the 21+ crowd.

When Girl Talk’s signature riffs filled the arena, starting with “Once Again,” the crowd let up a cheer. Dashing through the mob, people pushed to get closer to Gillis. A hand-selected group surrounded Gillis on stage; burly bouncers with arms crossed kept the rest of the crowd from doing the same.

Gillis closed with “Play Your Pt. 2” and a lovely sing-along mashup from the 70s and 80s, and then the sweaty crowd filed out of the barn. “I have your shirt,” a guy yelled across the metal building to a girl shambling along in her bra. Others embraced in the aftermath, bathing in their love of modern hiphop mashed with artists making music before many of them were born.

Anna Paige reintroduces herself

Welcome to the 5:02. You may have followed me at 501blog.com. After a stint in the corporate newspaper world, I found myself with an ignited desire to create my own place.

This blog will be home to my concert reviews, band interviews, regional indie arts coverage, thoughts on new media and the future of the dead tree medium, as well as personal musings as I progress through this freelance life.

If you’re a follower, welcome to my new home. If you’re new to my work, have a look around. I hope you’ll return.