Reel Big Fish a hit at UAO’s “Rockstock”

Monica Frost and Monica Frost

Low attendance combined with three acts of rock ‘n’ roll created an intimate environment for audience members and made Rockstock ’03 at Anderson Arena feel similar to a high school talent show.

The event was headlined by The Donnas, with opening acts OK Go and Reel Big Fish. The event was brought to campus by the University Activities Organization as part of the College Television Network’s “2003 CTN Music Binge Tour.” The University was one venue out of the 11-date tour.

The Donnas took stage around 10 p.m. and opened their set by asking the age-old question, “Are you guys ready to rock and roll?” The all-girl band of four played beneath a glittering sign sporting the band’s name.

Although the girls wore hip-hugging jeans, tank tops and had a pink drum set, there was nothing ladylike about the music The Donnas brought to Anderson Arena. “All Messed Up”, “Do You Want to Hit It?”, “Midnight Snack” and “Dirty Denim” are just a few of the performed songs The Donnas played from their collection of five albums.

The Donnas received the best audience response when they played their TRL-hit “Take it Off.”

Despite The Donnas’ title of headliner, however, the already-small audience size dwindled throughout their set, leaving Anderson Arena with a handful of devoted Donnas fans. Not all audience members were excited about the chosen headliner. This was shown during the end of Reel Big Fish’s set, who were second to take the stage. After Reel Big Fish announced they would wrap up their set with three songs in twelve minutes to prepare for The Donnas to take the stage, the audience responded with applause as well as boos.

Anne Soinski, a sophomore from the University of Findlay and avid fan of Reel Big Fish was confused by the choice of headliner. “Reel Big Fish is a well-known band and has been in the public eye for at least four years, and The Donnas are not as well known,” Soinski said.

Some in the audience were excited however, to see a rock ‘n’ roll act by an all-girl band. Sisters and students, Katie and Meghann Tinker, are just two examples of Donnas fans who were confused by the boos in the audience.

“I think men are threatened by an all-girl band because they can actually write and play a bridge,” Katie Tinker said. “Or maybe some of them just like Reel Big Fish, and don’t know a lot about The Donnas.”

Despite boos and low attendance, UAO members were enthusiastic with the results of the concert. Joel Freimark, a member of the UAO board of directors as well as director of the concert, realizes in the world of music, you can’t please everybody. “I thought The Donnas were awesome,” Freimark said. “It’s music, it’s an aggressive industry and the people that left early missed an awesome show.”

Despite the attendance of approximately 800-1,000 audience members, Freimark said he was pleased with the turnout. Jordan Ohler, president of UAO cited a few reasons that attendance might have been on the low side. “It might have been Sunday or springtime or the fact that everyone is broke from spring break,” Ohler said.

OK Go opened up the evening for audience members and took the stage around 7:30 p.m. The five-man band seemed confident on stage and alternated their songs between slower, rock ballads and furious guitar and keyboard-driven experimental pieces.

Andrew Duncan, the guitarist of OK Go was pleased with the audience response the band received.

“The crowd response was quite favorable, everyone stayed and watched,” Duncan said. “As long as everyone’s paying attention to you, it’s a successful show.”