The Goof Fathers of ska punk, The Aquabats, were at it again on Saturday night at the House of Blues in Anaheim. It was a chilly December night in SoCal which made The Aquabats fans young and old come dressed in their best holiday themed sweaters, kooky outfits, sand flea disguises, Devo hats, cadet uniforms, and even a blow-up shark costume.
The show started off with high-energy right off the bat with Shock Therapy who entertained with a very electro-pop Dead Kennedys-Jello Biafra sound. While ska legends the Ska-talites took the room to another level. For me, I loved when they played “Monkey Man,” it truly was a surreal moment.
After the crowd patiently waited for the main event to start, The Aquabats hit the stage on a high note in their holiday red rash guards, playing their massively loved hit “Super Rad,” and the ska-moshing commenced. This led straight into “Martian Girl,” where MC Bat Commander set off a confetti shooter that was fun and unusual for a band, but this was only a very small taste of what was to come.
“In My Dreams” brought the tone down where you could catch your breath from jumping around from excitement and still feel the ska vibe in the air. Once this breather was over, the band went straight into “Red Sweater” and once again, the crowd went bananas. Maybe it was the alligator walking the stage in a silver sequin vest and twirling a red sweater, or the gigantic beach balls that were now bouncing atop the heads of the crowd below, or maybe it was the giant hippo waving a flag with The Aquabats logo on it, but the crowd seemed to cheer incessantly.
The Aquabats had a giant screen behind them playing fun images during their songs that included, but was not limited to, scenes from “Revenge of the Nerds,” anime versions of the band member’s faces, male and female versions of Falkor from “The Never Ending Story,” a space scene, snowflakes, and so much more throughout the night.
After a song, front-man MC Bat Commander told everyone to “hug it out” with those to their left and those to their right. The Commander then gave Crash McLarson a hug right before the crowd started chanting, “one more hug… one more hug…”. He then got the other band members to hug and said that combined, it was like four hugs so they over delivered, and then he curtsied.
This hug session could only be outdone with the song “Pool Party” and a large brown bear throwing enormous pizza pool floaties into the crowd. Some fans tossed the pieces to those next to them while others got on top of the pizza slices and crowd floated throughout the venue while those caught underneath carefully passed the human topped pizza to the next person.
To switch gears and bring in the holiday spirit, drummer Ricky Fitness sang a song about how much he loves Christmas. With him on the mic, all the band members switched instruments and showed off the multi-talent that is The Aquabats.
Even The Aquabats got in on the “war on Christmas,” but with the evil Santa Klaus himself. They posted a video of the incident on their Instagram saying, “Last night the evil Santa Klaus tried to ruin Christmas by unleashing his genetically-modified transhumanoid Corn Man on the world!! Luckily, we know the real Santa Claus – and he brought along his yeti friend to cream that corn freak into oblivion!!!” The video showed the “fight” that ended with MC Bat Commander ultimately winning the battle – side-by-side with Santa Claus and the yeti – by shooing away the bad guys with a fire extinguisher.
At the end of this exchange, Santa put in a special request for the song “Shark Fighter,” and when Santa asks, you answer! On to “Shark Fighter” the band went while Santa and the yeti danced beside the band. At one point even Eagle “Bones” Falconhawk played while being pushed around on a rolling equipment case, but from the crowd it looked like he was floating!
The night couldn’t have been wrapped up in a more perfect holiday bow when The Aquabats had kids on stage to dance while they sang the song off their new Christmas album, “Holiday Road” (a cover of the “Holiday Road” theme song from the National Lampoon’s Vacation movies). Even The Grinch couldn’t resist such a sweet and fun ending to a glorious night of amazing tunes and family-friendly holiday entertainment.
The Aquabats never fail to prove they are one of the best performers around and there is nothing else in the world like seeing them play live. It was a great way for everyone to forget about life for a while and enjoy the holidays with a smile.