PICS: Anti-Flag and Reel Big Fish at House of Blues

Talk about a double whammy: Anti-Flag and Reel Big Fish provided a one-two knockout punch to House of Blues San Diego on Feb. 17.

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With such an incredible lineup, we had to get our photographer Fatima Kelley front and center! The bands clearly didn’t disappoint.
While Anti-Flag originally hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – ska/punk maestros Reel Big Fish are from right up the road in Huntington Beach!
Back to Anti-Flag though: The melodic-hardcore/punk headliners clearly know how to put on an epic show. They’ve been at it since 1988, after all.
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The band is currently comprised of founding members singer/guitarist Justin Sane and drummer Pat Thetic, along with later additions singer/bassist Chris Barker (aka Chris No. 2, pictured) and guitarist Chris Head.
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They’re known for their political activism – focusing on anti-war activism, anti-imperialism, class struggle, human rights and various sociopolitical causes. The band name kinda makes sense, eh?
A few of their most championed groups include Democracy Now!, PETA, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and the Occupy Together movement (among others).
Because of their name, some have accused (or assume) the band is anti-American. That is not the case. As they’ve said in the past: “Anti-Flag does not mean anti-American. Anti-Flag means anti-war. Anti-Flag means unity.”
The group has bounced around from label to label over the last 30 years: They’ve release music via New Red Archives, A-F Records (their own label), Go-Kart Records, Fat Wreck Chords, RCA, SideOneDummy, and Spinefarm Records (their current label) over the years.
They released their 10th studio album, “American Spring,” on May 26, 2015.
Also in 2015, Anti-Flag also released “Cease Fires” – a collection of two unreleased “American Spring” songs, and 12 songs taken from their “20 Years of Hell” EP series from songs featured on a series of EPs released between 2013-14.
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It wouldn't be a complete Anti-Flag show without some rad, up-close-and-personal crowd interaction!
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Reel Big Fish, perhaps best known for their 1997 hit “Sell Out,” got the crowd more than primed for Anti-Flag.
The group is currently comprised of Aaron Barrett (vocals/guitar, pictured second from right), John Christianson (trumpet/vocals, left), Derek Gibbs (bass), Matt Appleton (saxophone), Billy Kottage (trombone, middle) and Ed Larsen (drums, right).
After many lineup changes over the years (Matt Appleton pictured), frontman Aaron Barrett is the only remaining founding member in the band (which got started in 1991).
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A huge part of the “third wave of ska” during the ‘90s, the band has kept a devoted following when ska lost mainstream momentum in the ‘00s. It showed at House of Blues: The crowd ate up every second of their show!
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