Let me start by saying I am a huge Sublime fan. I have all of the albums and still listen to every one of them. I fell in love with Bradley’s voice when I first heard Sublime and I even listened to the “Thank You” track on 40 oz. To Freedom numerous times. When lead singer Bradley Nowell died I never thought that I would ever have the chance to see the band and hear the great Sublime songs performed live, so I saw the Sublime cover band Badfish instead. Some people say Sublime with Rome is wrong, it’s not what Bradley wanted. I don’t know if that is true, I didn’t know Bradley personally, who is really to say what he wanted? I am a fan of music and the band Sublime and Badfish does not even compare to the Sublime with Rome show I saw last night.
The Dirty Heads kicked off the party starting a lot earlier than I would have liked but Asbury Park has serious curfews for the Stone Pony Summer stage so it’s understandable. Frontman Jared Watson and fellow lead singer/guitarist Dustin “Duddy” Bushnell, David Foral (bass), Matt Ochoa (drums) and Jon Olazabal (percussion) make up The Dirty Heads and they were the perfect opener. Pleasing the crowds with their cool reggae rock hip hop blend and getting everyone hyped for Sublime with Rome. This was the first time I had seen them live and I was not disappointed since I am already a fan of Any Port in A Storm their performance just made me like them more. They definitely earned the title Rolling Stone magazine gave them as on of the best new bands in 2010. In addition to “Check the Level,” “Taint,” “Believe” and “Lay me Down” they also played a Rolling Stones cover “Paint it Black” putting a Dirty Heads spin on it and Rome joined them on stage. It was awesome!
As Sublime took the stage, the sun began to set behind the clouds, music filled the air, smoke lingered, and I knew it was going to be a good night. I had some doubts about how Rome Ramirez would fit in this band. At 22 he is much younger than the rest of the band members and probably most of the fans, after all he was born the same year Sublime was formed. I found myself wondering if he was even a fan of Sublime. All my doubts of him as a frontman were washed away as soon as he started singing “Date Rape”. How he fits in with the band? I’m still wondering. The Stone Pony Summer stage is big for three people and there was no interaction between the band members. Eric stayed in his spot wearing sunglasses on his head and a scully, he did not talk to the crowd, and Bud performed flipping his sticks and thrashing the drums. Rome was a good frontman, but there seemed to be a disconnect with the band members.
The set list included “Badfish”, “Smoke 2 Joints”, “Wrong Way”, “What I Got”, “Garden Grove”, “Jailhouse”, “Under my Voodoo”, “40oz to Freedom”, “Get Ready”, “Seed”, “Scarlett Begonias”, “Johnny Butt”, “Greatest Hits” and “Doin’ Time”. There is something so magical when you are surrounded by 3,000 people all shouting out lyrics to the same song and feeling the love radiate off every person there. Although the bands are so southern California, there is something about Asbury Park that just blends all of this together so nicely. The summer, the beach legendary Stone Pony and all of the fans. All in all Sublime with Rome and the Dirty Heads at the Stone Pony Summer Stage was a great show!
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