Fishbone have been around for 32 years. Tonight they are live in Norwich, Norfolk and show little signs of mellowing or ‘growing up’. It’s the last date of the UK tour and while the show is not completely full, you can’t feel too sorry for them.
Being in Fishbone must beat the hell out of having a ‘real’ job.
When the band emerged from the LA music scene at the start of the 80’s, the world was a different place. Tastes were less diverse then and you were only allowed to like one type of music. It was either pop, or metal or punk, or soul, or Funk or Ska or Disco or Techno (or Goth).
Fishbone visited (nearly) all of these genres but lived in none of them. As musical bed hoppers they were too metal for the black kids, and to funky for the white kids. Spike Lee directed a video and they recorded with George Clinton and Little Richard (yes, Little Richard) but they never quite achieved the heights of some of the bands they paved the way for, especially The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. If you want to know more seek out the amazing documentary.
But back to tonight and singer Angelo Moore is still the master of the ship, beginning the gig with a fantastic free flowing lyrical passage – while some people go to therapy, the stage is Angelo’s place to release his inner self.
It’s great to see “Dirty” Walter A. Kibby II back in the band and together with other founder member, John Norwood Fisher (one of the best bassists you will ever see), the trio are the nucleus of the nucleur noise in Norwich tonight.
It’s hard to put into words the sheer thunder of Fishbone live, the mix of bass, keyboards, 3 brass instruments, 5 vocalists, drums, guitar and a very loud PA combine to create a molten mix of funk / ska / metal still quite unlike any other band on the planet.
Angelo’s alter ego Dr Mad Vibe keeps the theramin to a restrained level, while new band members (10 years is new in Fishbone) keep the music flowing from the very loud PA.
Choosing a mixture of songs old and new, while ‘Everyday Sunshine‘ suffers from a slightly muddy mix, stand out tracks for me are opener ‘Unyielding Conditioning, ‘Sunless Saturday‘, and encore track 1985’s, ‘Party at Ground Zero‘, a song with new significance given recent events.
Maybe one day they’ll be properly recognised as the great band they are, maybe they wont. Either way I hope they’ll be ‘partying at ground zero’ somewhere on this strange beautiful crumb of a planet for some time to come (and it will be a much better place because for it).
There is a new EP out soon. I hope they will be back.
Pic (from Cardiff gig) courtesy of Anthony Walton