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Review: Badfish: A Tribute to Sublime amps up Columbus crowd, next best thing to original band

A Tribute to Sublime performed at the Newport Music Hall March 29.

Ruca,” shaking the floor with the bass.

For those of us who were not able to catch a true Sublime show before Bradley Nowell’s heroin overdose and subsequent death, or even later able to catch the collaboration Sublime with Rome, Badfish is the next best thing.

On Friday, Badfish: A Tribute to Sublime played at the Newport Music Hall, with Shrub, Columbus locals, as the opening act.

Badfish So the band took the stage, played its original songs, left, then came back about 20 minutes later – with all the same people on the stage.

I could have done without the long wait between. It’s not like they were changing the set, because it was all the same people, playing all the same instruments.

Ruca” was “Smoke Two Joints,” which was a famous Sublime cover of the song originally by The Toyes The best part of the show was the extended instrumentals that Badfish began putting into the songs. Clearly it has a limited repertoire concerning the Sublime songs it can cover, and it made up for lack of creative license by extending out guitar and trombone solos. With these longer instrumentals, the band played “Scarlet Begonias.”

As the night moved on, the mosh pit at the front became more and more clear. The hurling and flailing bodies moved across the floor, and a few cups were thrown around periodically. 

Badfish clearly knows which songs the entire crowd would know all the words to, and as “Wrong Way” began, the singer stepped away from the mic to let the audience sing the first verses.

The band did not seem to be a fan of transitions and would move from one song quickly into the next with little or sometimes no break between tracks. After “Wrong Way,” Badfish performed “Same in the End.”

When “April 26, 1992” began the crowd had its hands in the air and was singing along, and the band added Columbus to the list of cities usually listed at the end of the song. 

After “Get Ready” the more well known song, “Caress Me Down,” followed. Up near the stage, someone (probably from the mosh pit) jumped onto a friend’s shoulders in an attempt to crowd surf, which quickly failed as he fell back to the floor.

“It feels good in here,” the singer said to the crowd.

Badfish put in an extended bass section to “Don’t Push,” which really showed that yes, they are a tribute band, playing mostly songs they did not write themselves, but they also make the songs their own.

The entire band minus the singer left the stage, because apparently they had to go to the bathroom and the middle of the set seemed like a perfect time, and the singer played “Boss D.J.” by himself. So I guess the band’s break was conveniently timed for the singer’s solo song.

At the request of a man up front, but at the disclaimer that they were going to play it anyway, Badfish played “Summertime.” They again drew out the trombone solo longer than on the original.

Rolling into another favorite, “Santeria,” the singer let the crowd sing the first verse and the lights turned to the crowd, which through the night served as the cue for the audience to sing. When the song was nearing the end, the entire audience yelled out “I got something for his punk ass.”

The last song of the set was “Date Rape,” with a slight change to the main guitar riff to make it longer, and just as in “Santeria” the bright lights hit the audience and everyone around me joined in yelling out “She lies, that little sl–.”

With that, Badfish left the stage, but even the guys in the light booth knew they were coming back, and didn’t even bother turning on the lights.

A few moments later, the trombone player came back on stage, amping up the crowd and asking if we all wanted to hear another song. 

“Garden Grove” was of course the song picked for the encore, and the trombone player had a long solo to himself.

The singer thanked Columbus, and said what a great time it is getting to play Sublime songs and bring them to life again with the help of audiences like us.Had I seen Sublime before? No. But since that’s not really a possibility, Badfish was really the next best thing.

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