Random kid, random gig: Fishbone at the Fillmore


Photo courtesy of Anna Gustafson

Hannah Frank and Anna Gustafson

Ever heard of the 80’s punk fusion band, Fishbone? Neither had we, until we found ourselves scrolling through the Fillmore venue event catalog and stumbled upon the unfamiliar name. Originally from Los Angeles, Fishbone was formed by instrumentalists in 1979 and plays a blend of ska, punk rock, soul, heavy rock and funk. After conducting some research, we found the band intriguing and unique, and proceeded to purchase our tickets.

Upon arriving at the concert, we immediately felt out of place. We were the only people there under the age of 20. Fishbone and it’s opening acts attracted a very diverse group of people, but the majority of fans looked middle-aged. Prior to Fishbone’s show, the Scotch Bonnets and Oxymorrons took the stage. The Scotch Bonnets opened the concert by playing popular songs with a reggae twist. They covered one of our personal favorites, “Royals” by Lorde, keeping the audience on their feet for the duration of their act. Following the set, the Oxymorrons captured our attention with their alternative and indie style music. The sick beats they played were similar to more mainstream rap music that many high school students enjoy listening to.

After a brief intermission between sets, Fishbone introduced themselves by carrying a large flag through the audience rendering one of their messages, “F*** RACISM,” and onto the stage. The message they were promoting compelled us to like them all the more. The fact that they stood for a cause they cared about, and could create a community based off of that and their music, spoke to us. Shortly after the melody was laid down, the whole venue started dancing to the rhythm and singing along. The crowd was packed tight, with more and more people continuing to shuffle in as the night went on. As “Sunless Saturday” transitioned to “Party at Ground Zero,” and then on to the next song, the crowd sang and cheered in unison. Looking around the dark room covered in posters from wall to wall, we could point out at least 15 people with their fists raised in the rock and roll hand sign. Despite the fact that these people did not know one another, it was obvious that Fishbone’s music had formed a supportive and long-lasting community among its fans.

When first buying the tickets for this mysterious band, we were doubtful to say the least. After witnessing the outstanding and overall captivating performance by Fishbone, however, we can both say that the experience opened our eyes to both new genres of music and to enthralling bands we never even knew existed.