at The Think Tank, Newcastle, U.K., May 22, 2014

FISHBONE (Live at The Think Tank, Newcastle, U.K., May 22, 2014)
Photo: Mick Burgess

They say that variety is the spice of life and if ever there was a phrase that could sum up Fishbone it’s that. Most bands can usually be shoehorned into some category or other, but Fishbone’s eclectic blend of influences makes this utterly impossible as every song taps into a different vein covering everything from Funk, Ska, Soul, Pop, Punk, Metal, Jazz, Thrash and everything in between, including a touch of Country. Try imagining a collision of Sly and The Family Stone, Toots and The Maytals, The Temptations and Metallica, and you might just start to scratch the surface of this unique band.

Almost three decades into their career, they are as enigmatic and energetic as ever and made a much welcomed return to the UK shores for a string of dates.

FISHBONE (Live at The Think Tank, Newcastle, U.K., May 22, 2014)
Photo: Mick Burgess

“Party at Ground Zero” was the perfect opener all parping brass and furious Ska while the driving groove of “Freddie’s Dead” got down and Funky while the Funk continued into a slamming cover of Chuck Brown’s “Bustin’ Loose.”

The stage at Newcastle’s The Think Tank was way too small to comfortably fit the imposing American 7 piece band yet that gave singer/saxophonist Angelo Moore ample opportunity to use the rest of the venue as his stage as he crowd surfed, stage dived and jumped into the crowd to start his very own mosh pit at every opportunity. Fellow original members singer/trumpeter, the ever smiling Dirty Walt and bassist Norwood Fisher were a little more restrained than Moore but exuded cool and attitude from every pore.

Moore’s cheeky “engagement ring, wedding ring….suffering” intro to “Suffering” was delivered in his own inimitable style as was his self-effacing introduction to the wild Country hoedown of “Whipper Snapper”.

There’s nothing more annoying when an unnecessary curfew curtails the fun so when the 10 O’clock deadline came and went the show was brought to an unwelcomed early close with a suitably lively “Alcoholic” and “Sunless Saturday” which meant no place for “Bonin’ In The Boneyard” which was planned for inclusion amongst a few others.

Despite the early curfew this did not dampen the spirits of the band or the crowd but did leave them wanting more but in a rather nice gesture that you rarely see these days, the band were straight into the crowd after the final note for an impromptu meet and greet as the crew cleared the stage.

FISHBONE (Live at The Think Tank, Newcastle, U.K., May 22, 2014)
Photo: Mick Burgess

Maybe Fishbone have remained a cult band after all these years as record labels just don’t understand their eccentricity and could not fathom how to market them but it is this combined with their musical integrity that has kept them and their fiercely loyal fan base so connected for three decades and counting.


  • 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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