AS we warm-up for tomorrow night's (Wednesday, 29th January) pop/ska punk celebratory evening with Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake in Limelight1 it is a fair point to ask whether the whole pop punk schtick is relevant in 2014.
For those of you who were watching the TV rock music channels time through your own choice or because your children were watching it these three bands were perennial favourites, with witty videos and downright catchy tunes. At the very least they were better watching than the chart shows...
In a brief period with major labels Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake produced a string of hits, from RBF's cover of 'Take On Me' through to LTJ's anthemic 'Gainesville Rock City'.
However, to a certain extent they were over-shadowed by label's attention spans and more aggressive marketing of West Coast pop punk in the shape of The Offspring and Blink 182.
Before being written off both bands shook themselves down and re-emerged with a series of recordings that stand strong in comparison with earlier recordings from the Fish's Candy Coated Fury to Jake's See The Light; both of which show the bands have matured as songwriter's without losing the 'fun with a slap' which should be at the core of pop punk.
But why are these acts worthy of lines in a blog/RRNI article which is avowedly metal, rock and punk?
For a start those who recall the heady days of early punk in Northern Ireland may note that the punk of those days was more Ramones than Pistols. From The Undertones pure pop infused 'punk' through to Stiff Little Finger's cover of Bob Marley's Johnny Was, The Specials' Doesn't Make It All Right and the horn section on Silver Lining there has been a ska punk overtone to Northern Ireland's punk scene. And, that is only to mention the two best known bands from that era.
So, in many ways Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake are not so much playing in Belfast, but coming to the spiritual home of pop/ska punk. All of which makes them relevant to a Northern Ireland audience and to fans who are prepared to take the blinkers off...
Tickets, priced £23, are still available for tomorrow night's show. Doors open at 8.00pm