Written by James Dillon
Jul 24, 2006 at 08:00 PM
ImageMonday at at the Meridian was a night of upstrokes and fat horn sections, crunchy power chords and crazy tempos. MxPx and Reel Big Fish were in town, and hordes of kids turned out to tear it up in the pit.

I got to the venue in the early evening just in time to snag the last parking spot in the Meridian’s lot. I made my way in to the show having already missed the band Transition. When I walked in the band Whole Wheat Bread was about to end their show. I caught the last two songs of their set.
Maybe I missed something, but from what I heard I was glad I got their when I did. Pop-punk and rap are two things that should be kept as far away from each other as possible.

After Whole Wheat Bread was finished their equipment was taken off stage and Street Light Manifesto geared up to play. Due to technical problems, the band got a late start. The venue played music over the pa to keep the kids entertained. Several songs had kids screaming along. Oddly enough when the venue played the Clash’s “White Riot” no one even seemed to notice that one of the greatest “punk” songs was being played. My guess is they were just too young. In any case, after a while the sound engineers had everything fixed and Street Light Manifesto took the stage. They came out with guitars blaring, turning the audience into a frenzy of moshing and crowd surfing. It seemed that everyone knew the words to the songs they were playing, with the crowd being louder than the band at certain points. I am not a ska fan by any means, but the horn section accompanying the typical guitar, bass, and drum standard sounded good. Their set was rowdy with everyone on the stage moving around and dancing to the up beat tempos. Their set wasn’t very long, but it made up for it by being constant and strong. The band left the state supplying water bottles to crowd, which made their way into the air showering everyone and everything (including my camera) with water.

MxPx was up next, after another set of problems with the pa system. The three piece rushed the stage and the crowd went nuts. I listened to them play their three chord songs while I watched person after person crowd surf over the barrier. Several times security pushed me out of the way to catch kids as they were crowd surfing. Both the guitarist and the bass player were all over the stage, in fact many times I would be looking at one member taking a photo and the other would be standing over me and almost hitting me with an instrument of sorts. At one point a security guard pointed out a girl leaning on the barrier, putting her head down and looking like she was asleep. I am not exactly sure how you could fall asleep under these circumstances. The crowd was moving too much and the music was far too loud to ever let someone be comfortable enough to sleep.

The group played one catchy tune after another and even played a cover of the Proclaimers song “I would Walk 500 Miles”. About half way through the song a girl leaning on the barrier in the front of the audience received a blow to the head and went down. The bass player from MxPx jumped off the stage, bass in hand,  to pull the girl up and personally make sure she was okay. Security rushed over to help out and the girl was fine. The song was continued with everyone singing along. During the slow parts of the song the singer took time to talk to the girl and make sure she was fine and told her she had “made new memories”, though depending on how hard she was hit she might not recall them. A few more songs were played and the show was ended with the song “Punk Rock Show”, a perfect song to describe the night.

During the next break I talked with a guy from Five Star Security. Security for this show was different than what I had experienced at other shows, they were actually nice.

Reel Big Fish finished off the show and actually went on without any technical difficulties. The drummer came out first and started playing a fast drum beat. The rest of the band ran onto the stage playing a cover of one of my favorite songs, A-Ha’s “Take on Me”. Trading a synth for horns payed off and everyone loved it. The music was as catchy as the band was funny. During their set everyone was either dancing or laughing. The crowd completly at up the six pieces goofy onstage antics. The singer announced during one song that one of the trumpet players would do an Axl Rose impression. He also said that the trumpet player was unable to do the Axl Rose dance, so he would have to do it. The trumpet player sang the rest of the song in his best Axl voice and the singer did the wavy arm dance that Axl is famous for. Other goofy moments were when one trumpet player played a “fuck yeah trumpet solo”, due to the crowd being a “fuck yeah kinda crowd”.

Apparently his playing was up to snuff, and the trombone player did a “fuck yeah voice solo” in which he did jazz scat style vocals over the bands punk-ska music. The show continued in such a manner until the late hours of the night. The show would have easily been worth the twenty bucks to get in.
Like I said, Ska really isn’t my thing, but it was a good night.