Badfish Brings Sunny Sublime Tribute to a Frozen Starland Ballroom

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Pop Break Live: Badfish: A Tribute to Sublime with The Schwam, Psychotic Submarines, and Backyard Superheroes at The Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ

Words & Photos by Patrick Gilrane

On January 6, 2018 the Starland Ballroom Sayreville N.J. hosted the Sublime tribute band Badfish.

May 25,1996 was a sad day for the Ska music community with Sublime front man Bradley Nowell’s untimely death at the hands of a drug overdose. While sublime had some success, their breakout self-titled album would be released a few months after Nowell’s death, and while the band enjoyed their success the future was clearly unwritten.

Sadly, legal issues prevented the surviving band members from regrouping under the Sublime name, but most fans will agree that Sublime was gone with Norwell’s passing. Thankfully, Sublime’s impact to ska/punk scene lives’ on in the band Badfish!

Besides Badfish, this show was a total Skankfest of local Ska bands including The Schwam, The Psychotic Submarines and The Backyard Superheroes.

Badfish (named after the song) hails from Rhode Island and was formed in 2001 with band members Pat Downes on guitar and vocals, Joel Hanks on bass, Scott Begin on drums and Dorian Duffy on keys and guitar. The band has a ton of accolades to their credit including multiple US tours, as well as being named best tribute band by the Boston Music Awards.

Badfish had the crowd with the first song, delivering unmistakable beats, guitar riffs and vocals in true Sublime fashion. Badfish as a band takes what they do seriously, taking their fans on a 90 minute trip with song after song bringing back past memories as only music can do.


Lets Go Get Stoned
Wrong Way
Caress Me Down
Scarlet Begonias
Garden Grove
Pawn Shop
Rivers of Babylon
Smoke Two Joints
Same In The End
April 26
All You Need
Sisco Kid
Date Rape
What I Got

The Schwam was one of three bands to provide support for tonight’s gig and are Indie ska/punk rockers from Paramus, New Jersey. Schwam members are, Brandon Bachrach on guitar and vocals, Jason Basner on bass and vocals, John Rosario on sax, Bryan George on trumpet, Casey Fulvi on tenor sax and Mike Marguccio on drums. The Schwam have been together as a band since 2011 whose latest work, an EP called “Thursday Night Burrito Fight” dropped August of 16.

Being a support act they played a rather short set, but really managed to get the crowd in the grove. One thing I love about covering local bands is seeing how much fun they have during gigs and tonight was no exception; this band clearly had as much fun as the crowd. These guys definitely worked on their choreographed dance moves, and had super chemistry as only a tight musical unit can have. Oh, and their music was on point as well putting on a rad jam for the crowd!

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Just What I Needed
Give It To Me

In the number two slot for the night a local band named the Psychotic Submarines who played a really unique style of rap / reggae with attitude. This band hails from Neshanic Station NJ with band members Kyle Alfieri, Kevin Cernuto, Luke Ninomiya, Bobby Scholz, and Scott Donley and is a Sublunt Records recording artist whose latest work  “Live At The Stone Pony” dropped in March of 17. I need to give a shout out when its due and these guys killed it! When you’re local Jersey people, and play your gig wearing a Martin Brodeur jersey, that’s called doing it right!

Make sure to check out the Psychotic Submarines as they play in the finals of the “Rock To The Top 2017” band competition at the iconic Stone Pony Asbury Park on January 20.

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Backyard Superheroes got things started tonight and are a local band from the New Brunswick NJ area with band members Josh Hershkovitz on lead vocals and guitar, Matt Angarone on guitar, Greg Gecik on bass, Gary Mastriano on tenor sax, Brian Rechter on trombone, Becky Sudul on vocals and baritone sax and Ryan Weil on drums. Backyard Superheroes latest work, an EP called “Lets Get Dangerous” dropped in July of 15.

Backyard Superheroes play a variety of music they call nerd-wave ska/punk, which I think I could agree with. I only caught the last three songs of their set due to a huge line of people at the will call window, but what I saw was a total jam session. My gauge for any show is the crowd, and front man Josh with his cutting vocals and sharp guitar riffs along with Gary’s in the crowd style sax play had the Starland on edge for sure!

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In closing this was a show that had it all, a great headliner in Badfish as well as a full cast of local Jersey talent. Big thanks to the Starland Ballroom Sayreville, NJ for hosting.

Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.