Fishbone and Primus - live in Santa Cruz!

Last night we (the whole family) went to the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium to catch the Primus show. Opening up for Primus was none other than one of my favorite ska bands since I was a kid in high school - drum roll and horns please - Fishbone!

I'd seen Fishbone perform back in the day (early 90s) in Miami, and was lucky enough to see them again several times when I moved back to California permanently in 1992.

The 90s were an awesome time for live music in Bay Area, notably in the South Bay. Most clubs were 18 and over and those that weren't were pretty loose on concert nights. One of my favorite spots was The Edge Nightclub in Palo Alto. I have yet to find a website or blog that pays homage to the great performances at The Edge, but a venue page does exist at where you can take a glimpse at past shows. That place was like a second home to me. When there wasn't a live band - there was dancing. It was there at The Edge that I met Angelo Moore of Fishbone for the first time. Charismatic, ridiculous, funky and talented. He took the time to chat, sign an autograph and complement my "sparkle". There's something about us saxophone players and our sparkle...

Soon after I was shocked to run into Angelo again at the Ajax Lounge. Ajax, a legit lounge from a long bygone era - when downtown San Jose was cool - was another one of my favorite haunts. (The kind of place that hosted The Roots and The Fugees before we had ever heard of them.) Ajax was where you went to chill with anyone and everyone. My friends and I would go listen to acid-jazz or spoken word or hip-hop on any given night. Back in those days all you had was your copy of the Metro and a pen to circle the shows you didn't want to miss.

That was a long time ago, but some things never change. Last night I saw Angelo at the merch table and couldn't believe my eyes: he was doing the same things he did back then - talking to fans, signing autographs and taking pictures. A nice guy took the pic below while I talked to Angelo and told him the last couple of times I saw him were at the Ajax & The Edge. He signed my ticket and looked at me in disbelief because A) he hadn't heard anyone mention those places in forever and B) he didn't think I was that old.

I guess I still have some that sparkle!


Fishbone played an energetic 50 minute set with a mix of old favorites, new songs and a nice surprise cover. Dr. Madd Vibe lived up to his name by delivering the full force performance expected of a true ska/punk frontman. The band, the horn section specifically, was spot on and the crowd was jumping up and down on a pogo stick for the whole set! I went nuts for "Date Rape" a cover of the Sublime classic. Amazing performance by Fishbone.


Set List:

  • The Goose
  • Suffering
  • Cholly
  • Everyday Sunshine
  • Ma & Pa
  • Date Rape (Sublime Cover)
  • Bonin’ in the Backyard
  • Party At Ground Zero

Local San Francisco legends Primus took the stage not too long after Fishbone's set. No matter how short the seemed like forever to Primus fans who ready to see whatever visual feast was in store for us. Soon the lights dimmed, a strange moon man appeared and the 1995 classic "Southbound Pachyderm" filled the auditorium.


With their bizarrely genius, funky style - Primus delivered a long and eclectic set. In a category all their own, with Les Claypool at the helm, the train to crazy town was a fun one to ride. In one unexpected chatty moment, Les talked to the crowd about going to the beach in Santa Cruz and eating red candy apples when he was a little kid. He thought the kelp in the ocean was a sea monster trying to get him. He knows better now.

But the band isn't just Les. Larry LaLonde's distinct guitar sound is also what makes Primus, well, Primus. And of course, the return of Jay Lane on drums is a huge story in the universe of Primus fans.

Primus went on to play a long, magical set, sometimes losing me in the process. No fault of their own, this is what happens at a Primus show. You zone out. By design, the music stimulates your mind a lot more than it does your body. That's not a bad thing, but it is awkward when the guys sitting next to your daughter are passing a pipe and you're pretty sure she got a contact high.

My favorite moment of the Primus set was "Mr. Krinkle", performed on the upright bass. And the pig mask. The pig mask always wins.

Set list:

  1. Southbound Pachyderm

  2. Golden Boy

  3. Prelude to a Crawl

  4. Moron TV

  5. Groundhog's Day

  6. Over the Falls

  7. Tragedy's a' Comin'

  8. Lee Van Cleef

  9. Mr. Krinkle

  10. Jilly's on Smack

  11. John the Fisherman

  12. Mrs. Blaileen

  13. My Name Is Mud

  14. Eyes of the Squirrel

  15. Tommy the Cat


  1. Here Come the Bastards

  2. Harold of the Rocks

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