On Stage: Badfish offers ‘Sublime’ show at TLA

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times


Sublime may be gone but the music of the ska punk band from Southern California lives on.

When a trio loses its guitarist/vocalist/primary songwriter, it usually spells the end of the band. Such was the case with Sublime when the trio’s main man Brad Nowell died in 1996.

The music of Sublime lives on through Badfish, a Sublime tribute band that is one of the premier tribute acts in America.

There are many, many Sublime fans who are too young to have seen the band play during its eight-year run from 1988-1996. Fortunately for them and for longtime sublime fans, there is Badfish, a band from Rhode Island featuring Joel Hanks on bass, Scott Begin on drums, Dorian Duffy on Keyboards and Pat Downes on vocals and guitar.

Badfish, which is bringing its “Beyond the Sun Tour” to the Theatre of the Living Arts (334 South Street, Philadelphia, 215-222-1011, http://www.lnphilly.com), covers virtually the entire catalog of songs from Sublime’s three albums – 1992’s “40oz. to Freedom,” 1994’s “Robbin’ the Hood” and 1996’s “Sublime.”

“We’ve pretty much learned all the tracks from all three albums,” said Begin, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from his home in South Kingston, Rhode Island.

“The middle album – ‘Robbin’ the Hood’ – has some instrumental tracks that we might not do exactly as they were recorded but the rest is all pretty true. With ‘40oz’ and the self-titled album, we know them front-to-back. We’ve even performed them in their entirety from start to finish.”

Badfish has always been a Sublime tribute band.

“The band started in 2001 at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston,” said Begin. “I met Joel there. We started the band as college students looking to do something on weekends. When we first started, we were jamming on reggae and punk tunes.

“We decided right away to be a Sublime tribute band. We booked a show two weeks out and rehearsed every day. Our first show was April 13, 2001 at Ocean Mist in South Kingston. We still play there. Actually, our last show the other day was there.

“After a while, we started taking it seriously. It evolved into a full-time touring band. Joel and I both were computer science majors at URI. We graduated in 2002 and 2003/2004 was when we really started to get serious. It was a lot of risk, but we knew it was worth it.”

Now, almost two decades later, Badfish is still going strong.

“The core of the four of us remains the same – Joel on bass, Pat as the singer, Dorian on keys and samplers and I play drums and do backup vocals.” said Begin. “We rotate in horn players.

“Our old singer – David Ladin – was with us for five or six years. He was a local guy from Kingston. He left the band because he had started a family. Then, Pat Downes, who had played sax with us at times, took over vocals and guitar.

“Pat is a great singer. That’s a good thing for us because the main challenge for any tribute band is to sound like the vocalist. For me, the biggest challenge was learning the distinctive style of Sublime’s drummer Bud Gaugh.”

Over the years, Badfish have conquered all the challenges and that has allowed the music of Sublime to live on.

“We’re playing the music of Sublime and they had three major releases,” said Begin. “So, we don’t have a large set list.”

Badfish does have some recorded material that it will be releasing in the new year.

“We have some live stuff that we recorded earlier this year and is now in the process of being mixed,” said Begin. “It’s a live show from Brooklyn.

“We hope to have it ready for streaming soon. The plan right now is just to release it for streaming. We haven’t put out a CD for five years.

“We have a lot of other shows that have been recorded from the boards if we wanted to put something out there and push it. If we release something, we want it to sound really good. We want it to be the best it can be for our listeners.”

Video link for Badfish — https://youtu.be/dGvmQwcYXZI

The all-ages show at the TLA, which has Of Good Nature and Ballyhoo! as the opening acts, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20.

Another upcoming show at the TLA this weekend is Candy Volcano on January 4,

The last time Colin Mochrie performed in this area was in partnership with his “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” castmate Brian Sherwood.

On January 4, Mochrie is coming back to the area for a show at Xcite Center at Parx Casino (2999 Street Road, Bensalem, 888-588-7279, https://parxcasino.com). He’s coming back with a new show – “Colin Mochrie Presents HYPROV: Improv under Hypnosis.”

Scottish-born Mochrie is one of the most prolific improvisers on both sides of the pond today. He found his first line of work as a member of the Vancouver TheatreSports League where he met fellow improviser Ryan Stiles. He toured with The Second City comedy troupe until Stiles recommended that he audition for a brand-new British TV show, “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”

Asad Mecci and Colin Mochrie

After failing in his first attempt to get on the show, Mochrie spent eight years as a regular until it ended in 1998. He then joined the US version on ABC, appearing in every episode, and continues with the current revival on the CW Network, now in its fourth season.

Mochrie has toured the world with fellow “Whoser” Brad Sherwood for the past 12 years, appears in the “Second City Guide to Symphonies” in front of orchestras all over North America and recently wrote his first collection of short stories, “Not Quite the Classics.” In 2014, Mochrie was named Canada’s “Comedy Person of the Year.”

Asad Mecci’s jaw dropping performances have captivated audiences worldwide. He has performed in front of over 1.5 million people live and millions more through mass media. Mecci’s resume includes performances on Entertainment Tonight, MTV, Maxim Online, HGTV, and YTV.

When he is not performing on stage, Mecci uses hypnosis to help people lose weight, reduce stress and achieve peak performance. From a consulting perspective, Mecci has collaborated with legendary figure skating coach Brian Orser to produce a visualization figure skating app, which would eventually help Yuzuru Hanyu win the gold medal in the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics.

From the brilliant minds of Improv Legend Mochrie and Master Hypnotist Mecci comes a brand-new slide-splitting show where

“We get 20 volunteers who get hypnotized on stage by Asad,” said Mochrie, during a recent phone interview from his home in Toronto, Ontario.

“Then, we narrow it to 10 and then narrow it down again to five of the best. These five, while still hypnotized, do improv scenes with me.”

The act has a strange beginning,

“The hypnotist was taking improv classes at Second City,” said Mochrie “He realized the similarities in both hypnotism and improv.”
Before taking it to the stage, they were unsure whether it would actually work in that environment.

“I didn’t meet Asad until he reached out to my agent,” said Mochrie. “Asad is an amazing hypnotist who has worked with Canadian Olympic teams.

“When we were putting this show together, I thought – this is scary. But the part I like about improv is to be out of the comfort zone.

“It was nerve-wracking the first time we did it,” said Mochrie. “We did it and it worked amazingly well.

“We have sort of a game list, but it can change on the fly. One of the hypnotized persons has to propose to me and another has to sing a rock ballad duet. Another segment is a 1940s radio show with all wrong sound effects.

“Our show is a fast-paced show with no intermission. It’s 75 minutes straight of funny improv.”

Video link for Colin Mochrie and Asad Mecci — https://youtu.be/jaotSyTXhTs.

The show at Xcite Center at Parx Casino will start at 8 p.m. Ticket prices range from $20-60.

Emerging Artists Showcase

Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) will present Emerging Artists Showcase featuring Vassal, Jac Conner, Madeleine Anderson and Rachel Folmar on January 3, Total Mass Retain – A Tribute to Yes on January 4, and Open Mic with guest host Jac Conner on January 5.

The Steel City Coffee House (203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, 610-933-4043, www.steelcitycoffeehouse.com) will host “One Man Dog – a Tribute to James Taylor” on January 3 and 4.

Chaplin’s (66 North Main Street, Spring City, 610-792-4110, http://chaplinslive.com) will host Cowboy Cowboy, Sh’Bang and Brain Peel on January 3 and “2nd Annual Chester County Winter Music Festival Featuring: Ricks Office Band, Five Minute Major, Walton Marquette Project and more!” ​on January 4.

The Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com) will host “Echoes, the American Pink Floyd” on January 3, “Box Of Rain – Essential Grateful Dead ’68-’74” on January 4,  and Donny McCaslin (Bowie’s Blackstar) and Gail Ann Dorsey (Bassist-David Bowie, Lenny Kravitz) on January 5.

118 North (118 North Wayne Avenue, Wayne, www.118northwayne.com) presents Steal Your Peach (Allman Brothers & Grateful Dead mashup) on January 3, Smash Palace on January 4, “Dinner & A Show: Blues with Greg Sover” on January 5, and Larry McKenna’s New Voices Cabaret on January 7.

The Living Room at 35 East (35 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, https://thelivingroomat35east.com) will present An Evening with Cliff Hillis on January 3 and “Phil Nicolo Presents The Beatles” on January 4.

The Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) will have Bruce In The USA (Bruce Springsteen Tribute) on January 2, Craig Thatcher Band with Gabe Stillman Band  on January 3, High Noon (Lynyrd Skynyrd & Southern Rock Tribute), Herman’s Hermits on January 5 and Nektar on January 8.

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