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UNF Spinnaker

Real Big Fish, Shwayze visit UNF

It’s concert season, ladies and gentlemen. The air is cool, and there is no better time to enjoy some chill vibrations by old-school ska-punk band Reel Big Fish featuring super-fly, show-stunners Shwayze at the UNF Amphitheater Oct. 28.

The concert, brought to you by Osprey Productions, starts at 7 p.m. and is free for students with their student ID.

“I think this is going to be a great way to kick-off the Florida-Georgia weekend,” said Michael Naughton, head of Osprey Productions.

He said the concert budget was $35,000 for both Reel Big Fish and Shwayze.

The lighting and sound production value, Naughton said, will be more of a spectacle compared to August’s B.o.B concert.

“The backstage will be lit up like the night sky,” he said.

Reel Big Fish and Shwayze were chosen because they perform with a lot of energy, which is ideal for a college performance, Naughton said.

“I really like how Shwayze is not in your face with urban rap,” Naughton said. “I explain [Shwayze] to people as surf rap.”

Shwayze will be opening the show and RBF follows — both playing for an hour a piece.

“Reel Big Fish will blow the show out of the water,” Naughton said.

The experience of the two musical groups are widely different — Reel Big Fish reached mainstream fame in the mid ‘90s; whereas the duo known as Schwayze is fresh on the scene — releasing their debut album in 2008. But their differing styles mesh well together.

A horn-heavy band of six musicians, Reel Big Fish is one of the original American ska, punk bands from California. Cisco Adler and Aaron Smith, aka Shwayze, collaborate to create feel-good, naughty, musical connotations. Together Reel Bish Fish and Shwayze realize a California-style timbre that Floridians identify  with thanks to their fixation with the West Coast.

“We play with a lot of hip-hop acts,” said Reel Big Fish trumpet player John Christianson. “It will be a real eclectic mix.”

Some members have come and gone since the band’s heyday, but the sound remains the same on their 2010 greatest hits album, “A Best Of Us For The Rest Of Us.” Christianson sat down with the Spinnaker to discuss the band and keeping up against the grain.

Q: You guys have been doing this for so long. How do you keep it fresh?

A: We really love doing this. We realize how special this is. We can’t wait to play music, and that is a big part of it. We have so many songs it never gets boring; we can always shuffle the set list around. It always keeps it fun for us.

Q: You guys are old now. What’s different about being on tour?

A: One of the big changes is the rider food. Ten years ago on the bus there was lots of candy and lots of junk food and stuff. Now all that stuff is gone ‘cause we have to actually take care of ourselves. There are still times when we cut loose, but they are more calculated. It’s not being crazy every night because you can’t play well while you’re out on the road.

Q: That sounds way too responsible for a ska band.

A: [laughs] Well, a ska band doesn’t stick around for almost 20 years if they are out partying, getting crazy every night. We still do, just not every night.

Q: What do you think about the music industry and piracy? Do you feel positive [or] negative about it?

A: I think it is positive. We are seeing the biggest change in the music industry since the invention of the CD. It’s probably even bigger than that because now you don’t have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to make a CD. You don’t even have to make a CD. You can make one track and put that out on the Internet. You have a lot closer connection with the artist now. Any way people can hear our music, I think that is wonderful.

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