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August 22nd 2021

So-Cal Hoedown
San Pedro (Los Angeles) (CA)

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Sep 27 2000 @ Cal State University Northridge, CA

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On Stage

Angelo C. Moore (v, sax, thr, per)
John Norwood Fisher (eb, b, v)
Walter Kibby III (v, t)
Tracey Singleton (eg)
John Steward (d)
John McKnight (key, tb, eg, v)

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Review from the Nuttwork's archive 

I return to you from my travels with a quick tale of splendor, bravado and sunshine.

Fishbone was slated to play Cal State University Northridge today at noon. After grabbing my guitarist (and consumption pal) Brian C., we headed the quick 20 minutes up the Hollywood and Ventura freeways under slightly overcast skies to the epicenter of the last great California earthquake. A prime parking space erupted not far from the stage area. This was to be an outdoor performance at the Student Union. When we arrived (right on time) we discovered to our dismay that there was an opening band. John Steward, in the interest of time, had agreed to share his kit with the opening act, who appeared not to have arrived on time as they were only just unpacking their gear at the noon hour. McKnight was lurking around the edges of the crowd, which was about 50% audience and 50% students trying to get lunch at the Pub and Subway. Norwood and Angelo sidled up to the backstage area within a few minutes of one another. Our man Moore was wearing a carny barker's striped jacket and a familar bowler hat, Walt in a t-shirt and warm-up pants. Spacey T, I assume, was hanging out backstage and out of sight. Everyone seemed to be relaxed and casual, so we went to get food.

And that took 20 minutes.

And the damn opening band was still not done setting up, so we ate lunch, and still they did not play. Angelo ran over to the man on the sound board and popped some CD's in to cover the delay. The DJ of the band (and, man, is that getting pretty fucking stale here in L.A.) had a broken fader box and the rest of the band was stalling for time to fix it. Angelo was racing around the quad, from the stage to the sound board on a scooter, trying to resolve the problem in usual heroic fashion.

TANGENT - Does everyone have an explosion of those damned aluminum scooters in the major urban areas? Nobody advertised these things, it's like some alien culture obsessed with the Little Rascals dropped one in every third household about two months ago and the fuckers are EVERYWHERE now. Interestingly enough, Angelo had a scooter like I've not seen before. It had two wheels in the front, an extra-wide foot plate and one wheel in the back. It also had no handlebars, just a rod that Angelo used to lean right and left with. Damn, he rode that thing like he'd had one for ten years. A physical marvel, that man - END TANGENT

After 50 minutes (12:50 p.m.), the band, Primitive Reason, starts their set. Sorry if folks on the list are pals of this band, but they were pretty awful. Instrumentation was a bass, a guitar (he had two he used - a blue Ibanez and...a green Ibanez - same model, same tuning), A DJ, drums and a braided lead singer who played hand drums (pretty well) and digeridoo (not so good, but it's hard as fuck and I can't swing it). Their set was cut to four songs, three of which were bad Bunglesque carny-party stuff with mush-mouthed lyrics and the last of which qualified as "The Single" - a very Limp Bizkity thing with lots of DJ hits and vocal samples. No real work for the guitarist in any of the songs and the rhythm section kept splitting apart thirty seconds into each song. Then they were done, but by this time, the crowd of 150 had thinned to about 90 people at most.

By contrast, Fishbone set up and was ready to roll in about ten minutes. Angelo had changed clothes earlier to a pair of neo-parachute pants and old suspenders, black work shoes and no shirt. Norwood, unicorn dread atop his head, came out shirtless with a big ol' Heiniken. Spacey T had shaved his facial hair since I last saw Fishbone and looked years younger. Angelo had his theremin, sax mic and main mic on Stage Left in front of McKnight, who was kind of hidden behind the stacks of speakers. Norwood was Center, Spacey stage right, Walt up center and JS behind the kit, a little more dressed up than the rest of the fellas. Angelo begins to exhort the mostly seated crowd, "Let's get this started! Let's get this started!" And with that, they launched into a tight, sunshiny, on-top-of-their game set.

THE SET

Freddie's Dead - Question of Life - AIDS & Armageddon - Just Allow - Cholly - Where'd You Get Those Pants - Shakey Ground - The Suffering - Alcoholic

Freddie's Dead had Angelo warming his voice up, patter-talking some sections more than usual, but the whole band was hitting on all cylinders right away, so it was magnificent. Question of Life allowed them to open up a bit, roll around in the space a little and figure out where to go. I saw no set list, but I never saw anyone calling songs either. Just Allow kicks all kinds of ass. This is maybe the fifth time I've seen it live and it is so quick and responsive, yet the crowd remained seated. It was just so easy to lay back and let this magnificent performance wash over you, and Angelo even worked it into the set. "See, fellas, they're in school, used to sitting down to learn...so now we give them their final in Fishbone!" Never got mad, just kept working. On the three previous songs, Angelo is at the end of his mic cord, working the crowd, moving madly in the space, throwing really nicely formed back kicks at head height. Neato. AIDS & Armageddon - Norwood busted out an acoustic bass for this. Has anyone ever seen him use this outside of a Trulio jam? Sounded great, really gave it that spooky ragga swing. Spacey dug that song a lot by the smile on his face, but unfortunately, thoughout the performance, his part was the one least amplified and most noticably absent. By the second half of the set, that problem was mostly fixed. Cholly - Angelo and Walter explain to the audience the importance of shaking "taffy" and single out all the fat women in the audience for special love. Angelo jumps into his Bugs Bunny on Viagra persona and starts to laciviously toss most of the song at a large gal near stage left. Pants was cool, but I wanted my friend to see Weed Plant, dammit. Angelo used his bass sax on this, which shocked the hell out of the music students I had coralled to watch the show. Shakey Ground was intro'ed by Spacey T. He placed the song in history for the Eddie Hazel fans in the audience basically propped up Eddie. Nice horn work. Suffering opened with poetry from Angelo, segueing into the song proper. Nice effect and the best presentation of some of the Madd Vibe work yet. Alcoholic brought all the old rudies out onto the pavement for a quick mosh in the sun and a great rave-up ending to a fine afternoon. Angelo closed the set by saying that they had merch for sale, "But the school won't let us sell it on the property, so I'll sell it on the sidewalk, 'cause I don't give a f-f-f-feh-feeyuck!"

The band got rushed by about 20 or so folks, there being no separation from backstage and the lunch patio. I was slightly sick from dancing around in a wool suit in the 80 degree sunlight (rudie to the grave), so I bailed to the car, called in sick to work and pissed off my friends with a bounty of energy, gleaned from our friends Fishbone.

I'm taking my girlfriend to her first Fishbone show tomorrow night at the Key Club. Green Jelly is opening, but I might miss some of that set due to my schedule. As always, I'll tell you a tale when I awaken.

Peace Through Superior Monsterpower,

Mr. Marz

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Fishbone & Cal State University

Fishbone played already at Cal State University once.
>February 08, 1985 1 photoNo video has yet been linked.No review has yet been submitted.The setlist has not yet been submitted.No recording has yet been submitted.2 'hoodsters in attendance
Fishbone is not scheduled to play Cal State University anytime soon.

 

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