Published: Aug. 31, 2014 Updated: 3:21 p.m.
The musical descendants of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sublime, 311 and Third World gathered in Long Beach for Day 1 of Shoreline Jam on Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. It was a long one, filled with positive vibes and reggae-anchored music-making.
Though the event was held along the coast at the Queen Mary Waterfront Events Park, there was no marine layer, and the hot sun scorched concert-goers until it set. Fortunately, lemonade, smoothies, ice cream (and, of course, cold beer) were all to be had on site.
Dirty Heads were in luck to headline and took the stage at 10 p.m. after the temperature had cooled to the low 70s. The Huntington Beach outfit wasted no time infusing the night with its blend of hip-hop and ska punk as it tore through “Hip Hop Misfits” and then “Franco Eyed,” both songs displaying the blending of vocals by Jared “Dirty J” Watson and guitarist Dustin “Duddy B” Bushnell.
Better yet were songs showcasing Dirty Heads’ melodic instincts. “Dance All Night,” the acoustic guitar-anchored “Burials,” off the troupe’s new album, Sound of Change, and the uplifting “Stand Tall,” off its 2008 debut, Any Port in a Storm, were early highlights in the Surf City ensemble’s set. Later, the laid-back surf sounds of the infectious “Cabin by the Sea,” the heavy alt rocker “Check the Level” and the retro reggae-mining “Radio” were standouts.
This being the final night of Dirty Heads’ summer tour, as well as a hometown gig, the group brought out Rome Ramirez of Sublime With Rome to replicate his guest vocal appearance on the studio recording of “Lay Me Down.” The crowd, while obviously weary after a full day of partying in the sun, went into the night’s home stretch moving and grooving one last time.
|Brewfish opened Shoreline Jam 2014 with a strong |
set of originals. Photo credit: Robert Kinsler
While the event’s opener, Brewfish, had trouble attracting many early arrivals out of the shade and to the area around the stage, the Long Beach trio’s 35-minute set would ultimately prove to be one of the best of the day. Using classic reggae as a foundation, singer-guitarist Al Kay led bassist Andrew Valero and drummer Zac Martins through a range of original material that was fused with alt rock, dub and ska. The group’s “California” boasted a solid rock-reggae groove as well as sharp guitar work from Kay and a dynamic finish with all three musicians locked into the moment.
Brewfish’s impressive set was followed by Krooked Treez, a large troupe whose best moments included the brisk reggae anthem “Higher Place” and a freewheeling cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic “Voodoo Child,” both tracks allowing guitarist Adam Willis to shred masterfully.
The Originalites were a little loose in their early going, often sounding like they were tripping over each other in excitement (notably during “Porque”). However, from the beginning of its hourlong outing the quartet’s full vocal harmonies were wondrous, as evidenced by the lush ska gem “Spinning Round.”
C-Money and the Players Inc. were standouts among the artists on the bill, injecting their reggae anchor with jazz, while trumpet and rock guitar added additional musical shades to the seven-member group’s welcome sound.
Best of all of Saturday’s acts was Stick Figure, a Southern California roots reggae band headed by Scott Woodruff. The four-man band mined rich textures and created an inviting hypnotic sound with a deep approach to the genre, particularly on the gentle “Breathe” and the mystical “Hawaii Song.” The band served to remind the enthusiastic crowd that there continues to be new sonic territory in reggae for those as talented as Woodruff and company.