Badfish Dives into Oneonta with a Sublime Setlist

photo by Kei Tanaka

Alex Fredkin, Arts Editor

Badfish: A Tribute to Sublime is the answer for the countless fans of Sublime that never got a chance to see the band play in the ‘90s, and Badfish certainly does them justice. Returning to the Oneonta Theatre on Saturday night after playing there two summers ago, Badfish strung together an incredible set of Sublime classics, including some lesser-known songs to cater to diehard fans.

The members of Badfish are Pat Downes on lead guitar and vocals, Joel Hanks on bass, Scott Begin on drums and Dorian Duffy on keyboards and guitar. These guys play original music under the moniker Scotty Don’t, and actually opened for themselves. Scotty Don’t plays a mix of reggae, ska and punk, similar to Sublime, the band after which their tribute is modeled. Scotty Don’t played for about an hour set, and then rolled down the Badfish banner to start the following two hour headlining set. The band never faulted once and played with the same incredible energy and enthusiasm from the first song to the last.

Badfish played every song a Sublime fan could want to hear. Classics such as “April 26, 1992,” “Garden Grove” and a lesser known song “Waiting for My Ruca” were heard early on in the show. The crowd eagerly obliged by jumping up and down, skanking (a ska dance in which you kick your feet back and forth rapidly) or just simply grooving to the music. The middle part of the set included greats such as “Seed,” “Date Rape” and “Smoke Two Joints.” The band never stopped playing to talk to the audience or rest, and simply went from one Sublime classic to the next. Badfish did a great job of playing the songs the way they are expected to be played, but still adding their personal flavor to every song. They extended certain ones with rhythmic jam sessions, added a saxophone solo for an original take on “Doin’ Time” and even snuck in a sweet jazz number in the midst of another song.

Of course, Badfish saved the best for last. Fan favorite “Santeria” was played right before the band left the stage. Chants of “One more song!” could be heard by every wishful person in attendance. The band was welcomed with raucous cheering and applause when they came back on stage, and performed a truly special rendition of “What I Got,” arguably Sublime’s best and most well-known song.

Throughout the whole show, a select group of bold concert-goers would try jumping on stage, only to be shooed off immediately by security; that was not the case for “What I Got.” Halfway through the song a mass group flooded the stage and started an all-out party. About 15 happy music fans danced on stage with the band as the whole crowd in unison sang the chorus “Lovin’ is what I got!” It was a great moment and encapsulated the friendly atmosphere of the show and the sense of Sublime fan camaraderie that Badfish brought to the Oneonta Theatre. It was an excellent show and reminded everyone in attendance how great the music of Sublime is, and that it will always live on as long as people like the members of Badfish continue playing it.

photo by Kei Tanaka
photo by Kei Tanaka

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