I didn’t think Fishbone had a prayer after Primus had just destroyed the room. This was right after “Suck on This” came out and I was punching myself in the face during “Jerry was a Race Car Driver.” There was about 18 months there in 1992 when Les Claypool and Jay Lane (drummer) were melting my soul nightly. So when I went to the Newport Music hall, I was there to see Primus, not the lame ass headlining ska band Fishbone.
I nearly left after Primus made my music cock burst, but I was d to the drunk so I stumbled away from the pit and saddled up my attitude at the back bar. As Primus carried out their own amps and drums, roadies were setting up a ton of elaborate equipment for Fishbone. I was rolling my eyes and telling everyone how much it was gonna suck. The stage went black for a moment. When the lights came back on, there stood about 7 or 8 of the craziest looking black dudes I had ever seen. Each made Vernon Reid (Living Color) look like an elementary school gym teacher. They stood there in silence, staring at us as if daring everyone to come near them, and that’s what we all did, as if hypnotized by an island warlock. What I witnessed for the next 1.5 hours was magical.
Fishbone’s singer was a wiry mohawked lunatic who started stage diving half way into their first song. He surfed the crowd all the way back to the balcony which he then climbed and jumped off of with complete disregard for his life or the safety of those below him. When he got back to the stage, the song hit its stride, and the 3 piece horn section was literally throwing instruments off stage and catching new ones.
Let me explain that a little better because it’s fucking awesome. A dude was playing a trombone which he threw off stage where someone caught it and threw him a trumpet which he caught and started playing with out missing a note. ARE YOU SHITTING ME? They continued to do this the entire set. Brass instruments were flying back and forth like an elaborately timed juggling act. You could have driven a UPS truck into my mouth. I was stunned and it had only taken them 1 song to completely erase my short term memory of the Primus note orgy I had just seen.
I don’t remember ONE song Fishbone played. I don’t even like their music, but I’ll never forget the show. It was the best thing I had ever seen until I went to a Gwar show 6 months later. I’ll leave that for another day.