Fishbone fuses funk into frozen Montana night

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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