Reel Big Fish is one of the SoCal ska-punk horde, the most famous of whom were bands such as No Doubt and Sublime. When these bands first came out, a lot of folks called them the Ska Revival. All of those people were wrong. The Specials and Madness were ska revival; the Skatalites were ska. Bands like Reel Big Fish are sort of a ska revival revival, and there are two ways to look at this -- either a music form is so cool that it keeps getting brought back, or else this is utterly lacking in originality and we need to move on. Personally, we feel it's a bit of both -- early Specials was good, and the Skatalites were great, particularly in the early 1960s heyday of staggeringly insane trombonist Don Drummond. But do we still need the ska? The stuff out there now is more like punk rock with horns, but is even that better than no skankin' at all? Judge for yourself when Reel Big Fish plays the Sound Advice Amphitheatre (601-7 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach) at 7 p.m. And hey, wear your two-tones and see if anyone notices. Then ask yourself if this is ska revival. Tickets cost $17.50. Call 561-793-0445. --Dan SweeneyTHU 7/17You're Grounded!
We can't really say John Witherspoon's been typecast, but he's sure found his niche playing people's dads. He played Pops on the WB sitcom Wayans Brothers and David Alan Grier's father in Boomerang. But he's most notoriously known for playing Ice Cube's dog-catching ("I got bit in the ass today, son, by a stinky-ass filthy dog"), bathroom-assaulting father in Friday, Next Friday,and Friday After Next. He has perfected the art of the suspicious look and the "you're-about-to-get-an-ass-whuppin'" style of delivery. Witherspoon got his start as many funnymen do, performing standup comedy in his hometown of Detroit. He then went on to star in Good Times, Living Single, and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air before marching on to steal scenes in I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, House Party, Vampire in Brooklyn, and Little Nicky. Witherspoon comes to Palm Beach Improv (500 S. Rosemary Ave., Ste. 250, West Palm Beach) Thursday through Sunday. Tickets cost $23 to $28. Call 561-833-1812. -- Audra SchroederSUN 7/20Avant Goddess
Don't try to put a name on all her jazz
Pianist Hiromi Uehara may not be a household name just yet, but we guarantee that her music deserves your attention more than Britney Spears does. Hiromi is far from your average pop-star diva. In fact, the words euphonic prodigy spring to mind. Trained classically, Hiromi was destined to break out of the confines of pattern and verse as a child after being exposed to some Oscar Peterson vinyl at age 6 and mentored by jazz pianist Chick Corea as a teenager. She has managed to carve out her own niche, maintaining her classical base as she takes her music to a level of singleness through unabashed genre fusion. Hiromi is equal parts jazz, rock, funk, and classical, using the spirit and freedom of jazz to do something new and individual. Some even dare to call it (drum roll, please!) avant-garde.But don't let ze uppity French words fool you. Hiromi is not one of those know-it-all music brats who came out of the womb reading music. She just received a dual degree in Jazz Composition/Contemporary Writing and Production at the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston. At Berklee, the 23-year-old was able to broaden her horizons even further and study in the motherland of jazz itself. During her spare time, she also managed to put out a freakishly good full-length solo debut album on Telarc International titled Another Mind.Enjoy Hiromi's spunk, poise, panache, and boundary-free compositions at Harriet Himmel Gilman Theater (700 S. Rosemary Ave., West Palm Beach). Show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets cost $10 to $20. Call 561-835-0382. --Alexis Berkowitz FRI 7/18Model Citizens
We've all seen the Fort Lauderdale fashion catastrophe scurrying along Himmarshee, so why not head to Delray to get a glimpse of realcouture, as Dada (52 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach) presents its Betsey Johnson fashion show? Word has it notorious fashion brats Billy Boloby and the Out of Style Council will appear with their high-powered agent to teach everyone proper model etiquette. Starts at 10 p.m. Call 561-330-3232. -- Audra SchroederSUN 7/20Kill! Death! Hate!
Ever tire of your brain making you do things like think? Maybe, if you bang your head hard enough, the damn thing'll just shut down. Check out this theory when Brutal Mastication (seriously -- that's the name) performs at the Culture Room (3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale) at 7 p.m. The show celebrates the group's latest recorded effort, Rage Uncontrolled. "Rage uncontrolled" also describes the show's fans, so mosh early, and mosh often. A horde of local metalheads, including Saq, Cyst, Swamp Gas, and Cryptic Curse, joins the Brutal ones in violent, thrashing celebration. Call 954-564-1074. -- Dan Sweeney