Badfish @ The Clazel, Bowling Green, OH [2.25.10]
Hundreds of loyal music fans braved Bowling Green’s brutally cold wind Thursday night to catch Sublime cover band Badfish at Clazel Theatre. Yours truly—accompanied by Mad Mike and The Frisbee—was there to enjoy the festivities.
Being billed as “the most successful Sublime tribute band”, I was a little skeptical of what the show would be like; most successful does not mean most talented. As Badfish hit the stage around 10:30 however, it quickly became apparent that in their case successful sure as hell meant talented.
Ripping through Sublime classics like “Wrong Way”, “Saw Red”, and “Santeria”, the bass was right on the money… thick, deep, and loud. (That’s what she said.) The lead singer demonstrated a similar vocal style to the late Bradley Nowell as he changed his voice from rasta man to punk rocker as needed.
As Badfish nailed cover after cover, the entire place was rockin’. Even as Badfish played Sublime’s lesser known hits like “Ebin”, “D.J.’s”, and their Grateful Dead cover “Scarlett Begonias”, the entire crowd sang along to every word. One could not measure the energy in the theatre as they played favorites “40 oz. to Freedom”, “Waiting For My Ruca”, and “Date Rape”.
As the set went on they added more members on stage from the band Full Service. With additional percussion on “Jailhouse”, perfect synth-keyboards on “Garden Grove”, and amazing saxaphone on “Doin’ Time”, Badfish proved to have much more passion and talent than a mere cover band. Rounding out their set with even more favorites such as “Wrong Way”, namesake “Badfish”, and “Caress Me Down”, the band left the stage.
After a few minutes of the crowd chanting “5 more songs!”–with my initiation–the band returned to the stage for an encore. As they broke into “Pawn Shop”, the highlight of the show, they were slowly joined by more and more members of Full Service as the song transformed into a crazy yet impeccable super-jam of bass, keys, guitars, drums, and bongos as the members all traded instruments. (Full Service, hailing from TX, have a unique reggae rock sound and play with passion and power; definitely check them out.) Then, as the perfect end to a perfect night they closed with universal favorite “What I Got”; during which the lead singer was nearly inaudible as the crowd joyfully belted out the lyrics.
Though I will always blame my 7-year-old self for not attending a true Sublime concert before the untimely passing of lead singer Bradley Nowell, Badfish did an extremely nice job filling that void. I would definitely suggest checking out Badfish on tour for a great time. At times, if inebriated enough, or blind, one might even forget Badfish is a tribute band… might.
Check out all the photos from the show here.