Photos by Johne Edge
The Scene: I can’t remember the last time that I arrived for an event at Cervantes’ Other Side before 9, let alone before 7:30. Rows of chairs lined the normally packed dance floor, and a large projection screen spanned the front of the stage. The seats filled quickly, and folks began to sit anywhere on the room’s floor that offered a half way decent view of the screen. The night billed as “A Very Special Evening with Fishbone” would consist of a screening of the documentary Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone, a short Q&A, and finally a series of live performances.
The Screening: Everyday Sunshine is a documentary about the band Fishbone, the musical pioneers who have been rocking on the margins of pop culture for the past 25 years. The film chronicles the personal and cultural forces of the streets of South-Central LA that gave rise to the legendary band that has defied musical categorization and expectations. Lead singer Angelo Moore, and bassist Norwood Fisher, are at the heart of the movie’s storyline as they illustrate how they have kept the band rolling, out of pride, desperation, and their shared love of the music. The film explored the strain of being aging Punk rockers on the road, and how Norwood and Angelo are challenged to re-invent themselves in the face of dysfunction and ghosts from a painful past. The film is currently screening at film festivals across the United States, so check the screenings page on the website for a scheduled showing in a town near you.
Angelo Moore and Norwood Fisher came out at the conclusion of the film to take questions from the crowd and elaborate further on some of the films moments. The Q&A ended with a young man asking “Will you father my child?” Angelo responded comically by saying “If there is no child support involved, I’ll be your surrogate father for tonight’s show.”
Opener: Bop Skizzum. Julie Almeria, the new singer for Bop Skizzum, made her live debut as they opened up the evening. Her vocal stylings were a welcome addition to the band’s guitar driven funk, driving bass, horns, and block-rocking beats. With the chairs removed, the band filled the floor with dancers as Julie and Andy “ROK” Guerrero shared vocal duties on original numbers like “I’m So Much Cooler” and “Beauty Queen” from the Beauty Queen EP. One of the evenings surprises came as the band played a funkified cover of Nirvana. If you missed Julie’s debut at Cervantes, you can catch her and the rest of the band at Moe’s BBQ on December 31st.
The Dendrites: Next up was The Dendrites, an instrumental ska band from Denver. The band blended elements of ska, rock steady, reggae, jazz, soul, and funk to get the crowd skankin’. The bands diversity and musicianship made them a fittingly great opener for the legendary Fishbone, a band who also combines many of the same elements in their genre-bending music style. If you haven’t heard these guys yet check out The Dendrites self titled release here.
Fishbone: ”I wish everyday the sun would shine, Take me to another place in my mind.” That is what Fishbone did for the audience as they took to the stage and went straight into the song “Everyday Sunshine.” The band would proceed to use the sum of all its parts to fuse metal and punk guitar riffs, horn infused Ska, and smooth riding P-Funk like grooves to bring the funk to the punk. The set mixed new songs “DUI Friday,” “Flutterbutter,” and “Akkaffoo” from the Crazy Glue EP, with classics from the bands extensive catalog like “Bonin’ In The Boneyard,” “Lemon Meringue,” and “Cholly.” The band also performed a cover of Sublime’s “Date Rape.”
Front man Angelo Moore was all over the stage, singing and switching from one instrument to another as energetically as ever, with no sign of slowing down any time soon. In the meantime the charismatic Norwood Fisher, the bands founder and only other original band member, and his unique bass style created driving musical links that kept the set flowing. The band played until nearly 2:00 and then came back out to wow the crowd with an encore that included “Crazy Glue,” “Alcoholic,” and “Party at Ground Zero.” High energy performances like this one, and the band’s ever evolving musical tastes, are the reason that Fishbone continues to entertain audiences 25 years after they began.
Stage Presence: A+
Set / Light show: B