Words by Christian Bischoff | Photos by Jeff Crespi
The Everything is Awesome Tour: Slightly Stoopid, Dirty Heads, and The Expendables at The Stone Pony Summer Stage in Asbury Park, NJ
Smoke, sweat, and great tunes ruled the Stone Pony Summerstage on Saturday, as reggae, surf rock, and jazz came together in a titanic show. The Expendables, Dirty Heads, and Slightly Stoopid graced the stage Saturday night in a spectacular sonic display of summer itself. The weather was beautiful, with the only drawback being the blinding sun setting right behind the open air stage. The crowd was teeming with various 20-somethings decked out in concert tees, flower crowns, and cannabis themed paraphernalia. Summer, it seemed, was in full swing, and by 5:45 a sizable crowd had amassed in the sun lit yard in front of the stage. The atmosphere was incredible, with the entire crowd singing along to Sublime songs between sets in anticipation of the next band.
The night began with the Expendables, a California based band signed to Stoopid Records with a strong following. They attracted a large crowd, despite being an opener, and had the crowd energized from the start. It was evident that many concert-goers had come to the show specifically to see them, as a large portion of the crowd sang along to most of the songs the band played. Moshing began early in the set, as the crowd went nuts in response to hits like “Down, Down, Down” and “Sacrifice.” Lead Guitarist Raul Bianchi coaxed the crowed into a fervor with his guitar work, bringing metal infused riffs to reggae based beats and breaking out into shredding solos. By the end of their set, the crowd was energized and cheering, and prepped for the Dirty Heads to take the stage. The Expendables offered a uniquely metal flavor to the reggae based night.
Dirty Heads brought the night into full swing, bringing out old hits like “Lay Me Down” early and making the crowd go crazy. Predictably, their presence was the harbinger to an oppressively thick cloud of marijuana smoke that materialized nearly the moment they took the stage. They played many songs for their latest album, 2014’s “Sound of Change.” Front man Jared (Dirty J) Watson led the charge through the set, alternatively rapping and singing on songs like “Franco-Eyed.” The group tore down the house. Favorites like “Cabin by the Sea” had the entire crowd singing and shouting along, and the band exuded an overwhelming energy of warm, sunny tones. The band closed the night with their dance-y hit, “My Sweet Summer,” and had the crowd electrified for Stoopid’s set.
Slightly Stoopid took the stage with the power and force of a veteran unit. The band has nearly 20 years of experience under their belt, and it shows through their dynamic stage presence. The band delighted the crowd with classics like “Collie Man” and “Closer to the Sun,” and brought a final flavor to the three flavors reggae trilogy that took place that night; The Expendables’s metal – tinged musicality, the rap/rock of Dirty Heads, and the bluesy, jazz fueled reggae of Stoopid. The band played some songs from their latest record, Meanwhile…Back at the Lab. Slightly Stoopid also surprised and delighted fans by fitting multiple covers into their set, especially Nirvana’s “Territorial Pissings” which vocalist Miles Doughty dedicated to the late great Kurt Cobain. Saxophonist DeLa brought much needed funk to the evening, wailing away in a Brooklyn Dodgers hat. The group also covered Bob Marley’s “Mr. Chatterbox.” Doughty returned to the stage for the encore, offering fans an acoustic rendition of “Open Road” and “Express Yourself.” All in all, the band performed expertly, and maintained its position as a mainstay and a tour de force of the summer music scene.
Anywhere I Go
Runnin’ With a Gun
Up on a Plane
Everything You Need