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with Real Big Fish

A Concert Review

January 21, 1997

The Metro

Chicago, IL

A Review and Photos by
The Dude on the Right
John Feldmann
John Feldmann
Many times it's hard to judge a band by its cover. In the case of Goldfinger that cover was their self-titled CD release that I had listened to a few times while working, but never really listened to it. As things go, things here in Chicago have been pretty slow this January in terms of concerts to see, and I guess I really wasn't that enthusiastic or excited in heading to The Metro to catch Goldfinger as they were starting to wrap up their winter tour. I read some of the material about the band, and a slam about them in our local paper, and, well, just wasn't in the mood to hang out with a bunch of teenage, cigarette smoking, punks on a Tuesday night. At the time I would have been happier just hanging out at home watching the latest "Mad About You" and "Spin City." But, by the time 10:00 came around and Goldfinger left the stage for the last time, I realized I had forgotten to set the VCR, and frankly, I didn't care, because Goldfinger, in combination with Real Big Fish (they started the night off), made me forget the rotten day I had, made me wonder what band that other reviewer was writing about because it couldn't have been the Goldfinger I saw, and made me wonder just how a guitarist can body surf and wail on guitar without missing a beat. Goldfinger was bitchin'.

Charlie Paulson
Charlie Paulson
But, for this review, we'll do the chronological thing and start at the beginning because it was "Real Big Fish" that turned my sour-puss mood a little brighter.

Standing up in the balcony of The Metro, I'm checking out the stage and see a whole bunch of mikes up there. Then a dude (I think it was the drummer for Real Big Fish, but I could be wrong) comes out and takes a couple of photos of the crowd with his pocket camera. A little later the lights go down and seven dudes come out. Here we have a band with two trombone players, two trumpet players, a bass dude, drummer dude, and a lead singer/guitarist who had his pants rolled up to his knees and was wearing a shirt with daisies on it. As the first song kicked in my first impression was how tight the band was in terms of playing together, then I was impressed by the energy level these guys put out, and then I realized that this crowd loved them. They had the moshers doing the "ring-around-the-rosie" thing, the crowd jumping up and down like pogo sticks, and the band even did a killer cover of "Take on Me" from A-Ha that I thought ended up better than the original. More ska than punk (is it just me or all of these damn music labels just confusing the shit out of you now a days - me too - sorry, I digress), Real Big Fish put out 40 minutes of horn blarin', guitar jammin, and even brought up some dude from the audience to help out on a song I think was called "She Has a Girlfriend Now." As upbeat and fun the band was, the dude from the audience was the start of my resurrection from shitty mood to having a good time. This youngin' gets on stage, and I'm reminded a little of Pugsly from "The Adams Family." The lead singer of Real Big Fish wasn't needed because this kid knew all the words, but the dude had no energy. He's just kinda standin' there, hands in pockets, singing along. Then, during one of the musical interludes of the song, the dude breaks out does this little, hmmm, for no better word, jig, on stage. It was kinda like the Beavis and Butthead dance, and a smile came to my face because the crowd loved it.

All in all, the Real Big Fish boys get TWO BIG HONKIN' THUMBS UP!! The crowd loved them and any band who can bring a smile to my face and make me have a good time after the day I had gets a great rating.

Now, as much as this crowd loved Real Big Fish, they were there for Goldfinger, and I guess that's who I was there for too. Coming out there was Darrin Pfeiffer, the drummer, sporting a Chicago Blackhawks jersey, John Feldmann, lead singer dude, sportin' a cool hat, and the rest of the boys. Now, I must apologize a little for lack of some song titles, and it's my fault because I never really listened to that CD too well, but Goldfinger blasted through 50 minutes of non-stop energy that, for the dude who compared them to No Doubt, well, I want to know what he was smokin' so I can stay away from it. I guess the only way I would put No Doubt in the mix would be the fact that if I pictured Green Day playing No Doubt songs I see a band like Goldfinger. See, they lean a hell of a lot more on the punk side than ska, although, granted, every now and then you catch a ska transition, but this band threw as much energy at the crowd as they could handle, and then added some more.

While the balcony section was emptying out (no one was leaving - they were heading for the mosh pit), Darrin does this great leap from his monitor stack into a perfectly timed cymbal crash; while John is blasting away on vocals Charlie does a stage dive into the crowd, guitar and all, and makes it back to the stage without missing a beat; and while the dudettes at the show are screaming to see Darrin's butt, I'm happy I came because I'm getting to experience all kinds of things - like a version of "Just Like Heaven" had The Cure been on speed when they recorded it, an intro of "Is She Really Goin' Out With Him" (thanks for the bad high school flashbacks guys!) into "Here in Your Bedroom." and seeing the drummer on lead vocals while the lead vocals plays drums. A great version of "Mable" and I'm thinking I'm at one big non-stop party, and the band leaves. But not for long.

I'm heading down from the balcony, the band is back out ">Your Music

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