at Academy 2, Newcastle, U.K., April 30, 2011

Over the last few weeks, Newcastle has witnessed appearances from some of the most energetic entertainers in Rock, and one day following the Royal Wedding, it was the turn of potentially the wildest, liveliest bunch of them all:  Fishbone.

Fishbone broke onto the music scene with their ground-breaking, genre-busting Truth And Soul album back in the mid to late ’80s, when the likes of Living Color, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Stevie Salas were taking Rock in a more colorful direction.Whereas the aforementioned bands went on to achieve varying degrees of chart success, Fishbone seemed destined to remain a cult band, despite their influence on a whole host of acts over the years. Well, that’s everyone else’s loss as there’s much to enjoy with Fishbone and their crazy brand of utterly inimitable music.


Trying to put Fishbone into a convenient musical category is as futile as juggling with jelly and just as pointless. Fishbone can best be described as an eclectic amalgam of Rock, Funk, Soul, Ska, Thrash, Punk, Jazz, and just about any other music form you care to mention, with a liberal sprinkling of the unique Fishbone elixir for good measure, which gives them that special vibe.

Fronted by the enigmatic Angelo Moore, dressed in a maroon suit complete with bowler hat and aided and abetted by no fewer than six band mates, Fishbone spent a frantic hour and a half whipping up a sweat-fueled musical frenzy.


With the Ska fury of “Unyielding Conditioning” and the riotous “Party At Ground Zero”, which book ended the show, there was absolutely no time for a breather as the band hit the stage (literally!) running and never stopped except for the odd crowd surf. In fact, Fishbone brought the concept of audience participation to new heights as no fewer than three band members leapt into the crowd at various times in the night. Talk about bringing the show out to the fans.

Fishbone’s sound is built around the thunderous, groove-powered rhythm section of bassist Norwood Fisher and drummer John Steward, while having a three piece brass/woodwind section featuring the towering Walter Kibby III, Jay Armant, and Moore, who must have the finest collection of saxophone’s this side of New Orleans, gives Fishbone that bright, bouncing, uplifting edge. This is no Phil Collins-style parping trio, but a bad ass, face-punching brass section that could halt a charging rhino at 100 paces.

“Bonin’ In The Bone Yard” delivered the Funk while “Let Dem Hoes Fight” and “Simon Says The Kingpin”, thrashed like the Bay Area’s finest. The ultra heavy “Sunless Saturday” and “Give It Up” gave imposing guitarist Rocky George the chance to deliver the crunching riffs, while the bouncing “Ma And Pa” had the whole place dancing.


Fishbone may not be to everyone’s taste, being a little left field for some and having more musical variety to fill every conceivable section in a record store, there’s no denying that they can’t half rustle up a storm on stage. Sometimes chaotic, but never less than enthralling, Fishbone certainly caused a stir in Newcastle with a show bristling with pure energy and attitude, and by the end of the night there wasn’t a single motionless foot in the hall.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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