Mark Johnstone gets his skank on as Reel Big Fish fuel the fire at the O2 Academy. 

Now in its 2nd year the Fireball Fuelling the Fire tour landed with a booming clang of brass and strings at Liverpool’s O2 Academy.

With tickets costing just a tenner for five quality bands it was a night that promised to deliver bang for your buck. In the run up to the tour Fireball announced it would be running a competition to find the best bands in the country with the winning bands representing each city on the tour, tonight’s opening act Meet The Robots won the Liverpool competition and started the night off with something to prove.

The energy from both Meet The Robots and Sheffield/Leeds pop punk band Sweet Little Machine supplied the perfect warm up for Californian punk legends Mad Caddies.

Mad Caddies performed a superb back catalogue including tracks from the most recent album Dirty Rice with an unbelievable finish performing Coyote in which the audience who, in true scouse fashion, sang back the guitar riff and the melody at the top of their lungs without so much as a prompt.

With Anti Flag finished on the tour it made room for London reggae band The Skints who Matt Appleton of Reel Big Fish calls his favourite band. A perfect blend of dub, ska and reggae left us in a trance and their surprise collaboration with Reel Big Fish’s brass section was electrifying.

An exiting cover of Dawn Penn (who is set to play Liverpool Music Week on November 2nd) classic No No No was the perfect build up to tonight’s main event. With their last album being released in 2012, it’s impressive and quite lovely to know that Reel Big Fish can still draw a crowd.

Classic covers such as Don’t Stop Believing by Journey and Take On Me had everybody skanking as you’d expect. It all came to a fitting end with their huge hits, Sell Out and Beer which resulted in the O2 Academy sounding like one big choir.

Overall a great evening of energetic ska/reggae/punk to please fans of all ages from teens to mid 40s. They came to Fuel the Fire and by the time they’d left and the sweat descended down our faces we certainly felt as though we’d been in one.

Photos by Brian Sayle