Its always fabulous to go roadtrippin in the name music, which is exactly what I did this past weekend to get my second hit of the Sublime with Rome tour.
We arrived at the sold-out show this past Sunday, July 25, and pulled into a line of hundreds of cars waiting to get into the Sunset Cove Amphitheater, stereos from one car to the next blaring Sublime staples like Get Ready and Doin Time. (I was bumpin Dirty Heads myself.). A steady stream of people roamed the roads, carrying signs that all more-or-less read, I NEED TICKETS.
Once parked, we beelined it to the entrance The Dirty Heads were already on and I didn't want to miss any more of their set than I had to. The hip-hop reggae rockers were performing Check the Level when I finally made it inside the picturesque waterside venue (if you have never been, think Vinoy Park in St. Pete), and a cool breeze flowed through the palm trees thanks to the passing of the days isolated thunderstorm. Concert-goers were spared the Satans breath humidity often found outdoors on summer days in Florida, but the sun shined bright within the crowd, as many attendees were sporting the 40oz. to Freedom and Everything Under the Sun cover art on t-shirts and with tattooed ink.
For a sold out show, the crowd size was comfortable with tons of tanned and tatted bodies swarming the scene, going from beer to cocktail stand, and furthermore, I wouldnt be the least bit surprised if many of them were smoking marijuana cigarettes reefers.
I caught the last six or so songs to be performed by The Dirty Heads, including their #1 Billboard, history making single, Lay Me Down.
Just like at the Roseland Ballroom performance I previously attended, the guys rocked it as tour openers, setting the tone for the Bob Marley-infused, THC-laced musical vibes of the evening. However, Sunset Cove is a much larger venue than the Roseland, which required the band to step it up, and in my opinion, their ocean bathed reggae-rock sonics thrived even more in the outdoor setting where people frolicked in bikini tops and flip flops, with the crowd chanting one more song after the sandy and salty sounds of the groups set ended.
Beat boxing, Jewish reggae performer Matisyahu was rolled up in between the two Cali-based rock outfits and his latest radio hit One Day was one of the nights highlights. The crowd clapped, jumped and held up peace signs as they belted out the lyrics. The video below is a brief clip of the concert moment (if you do not watch the whole thing skip to about 1:10 for a few seconds to get an idea of the concert's overall energy level).
Once the sun went down and the crowd had officially paddled out into the surf-rock waters of the musical energy tides, Sublime with Rome took to the pick-hued stage. As they jammed out classic party tune after classic party tune like April 29, 1992, Garden Grove, Badfish and Scarlett Begonias, to name just a few, the vivacity of the crowd swelled into a wave and Sublime with Rome was shredding it.
There really are no words to articulate the experience (gawd I hate saying that); however, during these intense musical highs, it is as if the band and the crowd have collectively decided to rock out so hard it will bring Bradly Nowell back from the dead, if only for a moment. It is the very definition of the word bittersweet so heartbreakingly amazing for me anyway.
From my two experiences seeing the latest version of the Long Beach band, Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh are up there with Robert Downey Jr. when it comes to a beautifully executed comeback. They have been modest about it; starting with the smaller, concert hall-sized venues in early spring and waiting until late summer to sell out amphitheaters, and they are clearly giving Rome Ramirez freedom to be creative with the music, but also making sure it all has the authentic Sublime sound.
Like I wrote in the Roseland review, Ramirez exudes humbleness and is an incredibly talented musician, both vocally and on guitar. With this performance, I think it really showed that the guy is having an absolute ball and is loving the musical amazingness he has been granted by Gaugh, Wilson and the fans. Ramirez is way legit, and so is the new song Panic, which the guys have been debuting regularly at the shows.
The bottom line is it was a concert experience where the appropriateness of the venue collided with an enthusiastic fan base to celebrate some of the most underrated music of all time and create a sublime vibe. Ultimately, if you are, or ever were, a fan of the funky fresh sounds of Sublime, or if you just enjoy reggae and surf-rock, this tour should be a top priority of the summer. What Patrón is to tequila is what the Sublime with Rome, Sunset Cove Amphitheater show is to my live music experiences ultra-premium.