The House of Blues in Downtown Disney felt a bit safer on Thursday night December 13 as the musical crime-fighting superheroes The Aquabats were in town! Touring to save the world from evil and destruction The Aquabats made a stop in Anaheim, CA with musical support from Suburban Legends, Kepi Ghoulie and Step Forward Lads.
There was no mistaking that this was an Aquabats show as fans (and fan club members known as Aquacadets) dressed in Aquabat costumes mimicking the bands superhero outfits were out in abundance. Adults, teenagers and young children made up the fanbase in attendance as the venue filled up quickly with droves of Aquacadets hurrying into the venue to try to get as close to the stage as possible.
The music started at 8:00pm sharp with The M.C. Bat Commander (the fearless singer of The Aquabats) introducing openers Step Forward Lads – four middle school kids who jammed out 25 minutes of modern flavored pop rock. It is great to see young kids actually playing instruments . . .these kids obviously know what good rock n roll is as they played a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “The Ocean”. The performance was a bit uninspiring but enjoyable none-the-less.
The night got loud and rowdy quickly when Kepi Ghoulie took the stage. If this name sounds familiar that’s probably because you recognize Kepi as the former lead singer of the horror inspired punk band Groovie Ghoulies. As soon as the band hit the stage the mosh pit started and Anaheim was treated to 25 minutes of hardcore punk rock in the style of the Ramones with a harder edge. Kepi puts on a very energetic show jumping and running around the stage while passionately belting out the vocals. Throughout the set fans moshed, jumped, fist pumped and crowd surfed while singing along to every word. Kepi repeatedly told the crowd this was the best show ever and thanked the audience for coming out. The last song of the set was accompanied by dozens of colored balloons being set free into the audience.
After a 20 minute set change Suburban Legends delivered their disco, funk and pop flavor of Southern California ska featuring a horn section that includes trumpets and trombones. Their lively and bouncy performance included a guitar, bass, drums and three horn players along with lead singer Vincent Walker. They played a very high energy 25 minute set that had the band members often moving and dancing in unison. The House of Blues crowd was certainly familiar with the Orange County based Suburban Legends as the audience sang out loud to every song as they actively jumped and fist pumped through the entire set . . . a few crowd surfers even made their way to the front of the stage. The energy this band gives off certainly was a great way to prepare the crowd for the headliners.
Finally the time has come for what the crowd had been waiting for . . . The Aquabats. With the lights dimmed a large LED screen at the rear of the stage played various Aquabats superhero videos and the band hit the stage and right into The “Aquabats Supershow Theme Song”. Being December and only 12 days away from Christmas the stage was decorated with a large snowman, Christmas lights and an inflatable Santa Claus.
Vocalist and fearless frontman The M.C. Bat Commander displays his superhero powers as he is in constant movement around the stage as he hand chops, rolls on the ground and does midair leaps throughout each of the songs. The die-hard fans (mostly in costume) immediately began full sing-alongs, jumping and even a bit of crowd surfing as the night began. The band also includes bass player Crash McLarson, guitarist Eaglebones Falconhawk, keyboardist Jimmy The Robot and drummer Ricky Fitness – together alongside The M.C. Bat Commander this is the crime fighting superhero supergroup!
Aside from all the silliness and comedic qualities of The Aquabats these guys do play some catchy music with elements of rock, punk, New Wave and ska equaling a very diverse sound and fun live set. The night also consisted of choreographed fight scenes with Aquabats arch-enemies Cobraman and a multi-clawed monster of which the Aquabats ultimately defeated these villains and allowing the show to continue.
The set list consisted of such fan favorites as “Pizza Day!”, and “Hey Homies!” as well as a cover of Taylor Swift’s “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and a cover of The Outfield’s “Your Love”. Although the comedic bantering in between songs is part of the overall act being The Aquabats, it did seem a bit excessive and at times seemed to drag on a bit too long; regardless the dedicated Aquacadets seemed to hang on every word.
For the last song of the night, the band invited all the opening bands onstage as well as many small children as they played one of their most popular and liked songs “Pool Party!”. As the band performed numerous beach balls were thrown out into the crowd and a pool party video played on the large LED screen. During this festive ending to the night several of the on stage guests jumped from the stage into the crowd. The song ended with The M.C. Bat Commander standing on the bass drum and doing a full backflip back onto the stage (actually he did this twice as the first time he did not land on his feet – Ouch!). After the second successful flip, The M.C. Bat Commander wished everyone a Happy Holiday Season and the band left the stage.
A fun night of music with four diverse but yet seemingly similar bands delivered exactly what the fans came to see and experience. If you are ever looking for a night of entertainment along with some catchy music and a few laughs make it a point to catch The Aquabats when they play in your town or city.
The Aquabats Setlist:
The Aquabats! Super Show! Theme Song | Cat with 2 Heads! | Martian Girl | Look at Me, I’m a Winner! | The Shark Fighter! | In My Dreams! | Pizza Day! | We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (Taylor Swift cover) | Super Rad! | Hey Homies! | Your Love (The Outfield cover) | The Legend is True! | Hello, Good Night! | Fashion Zombies! | Captain Hampton and the Midget Pirates! | Burger Rain! | Pool Party