Last week, I headed to Philadelphia’s Fillmore to catch one of my favorite ska bands Less Than Jake play with Hawaiian reggae/punk band Pepper. This was my first time at The Fillmore’s main stage (compared to the smaller side stage known as The Foundry where I saw Less Than Jake) and the place was pretty big, yet still had a sizable amount of people there.
If you’ve never been to the Fillmore, it’s your typical large Live Nation venue. If you’re into overpriced drinks and ridiculous ticket prices due to fees, then you’ll love The Fillmore! There’s something about the venue itself that just feels very corporate (it’s going to be real weird seeing The Menzingers and Jeff Rosenstock there in a few weeks). That being said, I have to give credit where credit is due… The Fillmore has a water fountain (a rarity at any venue) and is definitely one of the nicer Live Nation venues.
I missed the openers, but I got there in time for Pepper. With their Sublime influenced fusion of reggae, dub and punk, I used to be a pretty huge fan of this Hawaiian trio but admittedly haven’t kept up with their latest albums (mostly knowing Give ‘n It, Kona Town, and a bit of In With The Old) and it’s been more than a decade since I’ve last seen them.
I have to hand it to Pepper, they put on an incredibly lively set with plenty of stage presence, and sounded incredibly tight as well. Pepper had strobe lights rolled on stage, and mixed with a smoke machine, while it felt a bit overdone at times it actually created some cool effects (probably even more so if you were high as shit, and judging by the smell of the room, plenty of people were).
I wasn’t expecting to hear many songs I knew since they’ve had like four albums since it was released (including their latest Ohana which was released last year), but Pepper threw in plenty from Kona Town which is my personal favorite album by them. Definitely a solid show, I was pleasantly surprised after not seeing them in over a decade. If you dig Sublime, it’s worth checking Pepper out, they’ve always been one of the better bands influenced by them.
Highlights (from what I remember):
Give It Up
Less Than Jake:
I can’t even count the amount of hours I spent skating to or listening to Less Than Jake in my teenage years. One of the most pivotal and important bands for me personally, it’s awesome that they are still going strong 25 years later. And not just going strong Less Than Jake remains an incredibly busy and active band… This was my 3rd time seeing them in the span of a year as I caught them play both Losing Streak and Hello Rockview in their entirety, and now they were touring to support their latest EP Sound The Alarm. One of the longest running ska punk bands around, Less Than Jake took the stage as the spoken intro “I promise I will not judge anyone only as a teenager…” before kicking into “All My Friends Are Metalheads”.
I’ve never seen Less Than Jake play a shitty show before, and this was no exception. Armed with confetti guns, these Gainesville punks played an energetic set mixing songs from most of their major albums (besides See The Light) and surprisingly only played two songs off of their latest EP. At one point they announced how they haven’t played this old song in over a decade, before ripping into one of my personal favorites “My Very Own Flag”.
While the band was energetic, the crowd was a bit strange… usually at a Less Than Jake show or any ska show for that matter, there is plenty of skanking, etc. Not so much this time around, as it would devolve in an awkward beer covered bro push pit that would die down incredibly quickly. I’m guessing it was because many of the people there were the Pepper crowd, and didn’t really know Less Than Jake very well.
If you are one of the few who still dig ska like I do, definitely check Less Than Jake if they come around to your parts, nearly 25 years later and they still throw on one of the more energetic shows around.
All My Friends Are Metalheads
Sugar In Your Gas Tank
Last One Out Of Liberty City
Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts
Look What Happened
The Rest Of My Life
Overrated (Everything Is)
PS Shocked The World
My Very Own Flag
Plastic Cup Politics
The Science Of Selling Yourself Short
Gainesville Rock City
The Ghosts Of You and Me