Live: Fishbone at Culture Room, November 6

Categories: Concerts
Photo by Reed Fischer
With Downtown Brown and Ketchy Shuby
Culture Room, Fort Lauderdale
Sunday, November 6, 2011

Better Than: Succeeding at something only once in eight tries.

After funk founders Sly & the Family Stone and James Brown, but before the hip-hop-fused Roots, is the Fishbone era. Unquestionably one of the greatest live bands that fits comfortably outside of the stodgy confines of "rock," the Los Angeles ska-punk-funk collective built a rep over the past three decades for unbridled, uncensored stage antics aimed at stirring the pot until the stew spewed everywhere. And keeping that rep was Sunday's challenge for the band, as many of the original members have drifted away, ska has been pushed back to the fringes, and nobody buys a damned CD anymore.

There were a whole lot of reminders of that final fact, courtesy of the two guys who have been at it uninterrupted since 1979, Angelo "Dr. Madd Vibe" Moore and bassist John Norwood Fisher. With no hesitation hawkimg a new EP, Crazy Glue, any time the band wasn't blasting and smashing through a song from the Fishbone back catalog. "Buy it and a T-shirt and you'll be so glad you did," Moore assured us before delivering a snake-oil salesman's smile.

Now 46, Moore is still in the physical shape to stir up a performance with acrobatic kicks and wild facial gymnastics. He spent the early portion of the evening in a striped blue jacket perhaps once owned by a pimp built like Wilt Chamberlain and rotated through a wealth of ever-larger saxophones and teasing voodoo sounds out of his theremin when he wasn't vamping on the mic. As the night went on, he dripped with sweat and got down to just his suspenders, plaid shorts, and a baby-blue tux shirt that was eventually flapping wide open.

Unfortunately, Moore and his competent band's sales pitches and long regrouping sessions between songs dampened the already low-key vibe in the spotty crowd. Moments within "Alcoholic" and "I Wish I Had a Date" almost got the party off the ground a couple of times. The undeniably tight and funky musicianship by the seven-piece band kept getting stalled by their own setup. Ideally, a Fishbone show shouldn't be an opportunity to ponder, check messages, and take a breather. Yes, there were circle pits, but watching stage-divers hop into this semi-filled abyss was terrifying. Fortunately, no fedora-covered melons hit the floor and cracked.

Opener Downtown Brown encited a different sort of cringe. Caffeinated frontman Neil Patterson is an undeniable guitar virtuoso -- and his shredding of AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" and the Law & Order theme proved to be far above perfunctory. Yet this trio of pajama-clad miscreants were better at delivering punch lines ("Can we sleep over at your house? Seriously.") and pumping iron onstage (!) than selling their Rage-meets-Rancid-meets-Sublime material.

Annoyingly, Sublime's "Date Rape" has figured into Fishbone's sets of late. Since there's no real attempt to reinvent the song -- aside from its Ritalin pace -- the inclusion posits more like grumbling that "we were doing this long before Bradley Nowell" than any sort of tribute or expansion on the moment. Fishbone still has the mindset of "Party at Ground Zero" when they want to, but this night was more like the preparty than any sort of main event.

Critic's Notebook

Personal bias: Sunday-night shows are generally a killjoy.

The crowd: Skankin' at times, but much moreso when a member of Fishbone jumped in to lather things up. A lot of people left before the show was finished.

From the stage: Downtown Brown's Patterson, "You're not at home watching football right now. Fuck football!"

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Location Info


Culture Room

3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Category: Music

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Teajay Smith Piersall
Teajay Smith Piersall

man - we were either at two different shows - or just entirely different mind sets - i, and everyone around me was having a blast i'm not saying it was THE perfect concert - but you make it sound like it was downright DREARY 


Yeah sucks man, I had my tickets well in advanced for this show, and had been fighting the flu all that week. Though the show was on a Sunday night a work night. Not only recovering from being sick and knew i needed a good night rest for the upcpming work week, I honestly would had forgot the show was on that particular night anyways. Sunday night concerts suck, because it makes fans dabble with if they will even stay for the full thing or not. Probably part of the reason why as described in the above review the show was a crowd filled pleaser, because Fishbone was playing on a Sunday night in the fall. Outside of people who work, the kids that go to these shows, it would be a school night for them and so it's not like going to a Sunday night concert i nthe Summer. This was in the Fall. Not so much pissed that I spent and wasted 20 some dollars, but the fact I missed a Fishbone concert. My 30 year old butt has many years ahead of me to go to shows, but the guys in Fishbone are i nthere mid to late 40's and not sure how many more years they'll be killn it, so I want to take full advantage of seeing their shows especially when made easy of them coming through locally. Now I just have a ticket I purchased to look at to remind me of the Fishbone concert that I didn't go to, but could say I did. Haha anyways, hope all that went did have have a great time. No matter what some one types up in an online review about the bands perfromance, we gotta remember, this is what these guys do day in and day out, and they are going to have nights where they are wore out and may not be the most energetic group that we have come to know them by. It's what they do for a living, and no matter what, I'm sure Fishbone put on a performace at least for one fan there that maybe was not a fan before, and is one now. Someone got somethnig out of it. -Peace!


Date rape has been played for years... Its on the sublime tribute cd, do your research...


with that being said.... you must not know a lot about sublime... or music

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