Date: Tuesday, November 8th, 2011
Line up: The Dirty Heads
Location: The Ogden Theatre. Denver, CO
Walking up to the Ogden Theatre on a Tuesday night to meet with my cohort with the camera, Kit Chalberg, I started to realize tonight was going to be a much bigger deal than I thought! I had listened to the album Any Port in a Storm two times all the way through earlier in the day and was singing “Believe” to myself on my walk over to The Ogden. The shit gets in your head that quick! It was 40 degrees outside, but that song kept me warm the whole walk over.
The place was packed! It had to be close to the Ogdens 1300 person capacity, and the crowd was way more diverse than I thought. There were people of all ages, professionals to punks and skaters to secretaries, there is something in The Dirty Heads music for everybody. I am not saying they are casting a wide net to capture a mass market, I am saying these tunes make everyone have fun, myself included. It has all the elements of rock, hip hop, and reggae that I love. After walking around to check things out, Kit and I ran in to The Dirty Heads tour manager, who said we should go out to the tour bus and say hello to the southern Cali syndicate. Not ones to miss an opportunity, Kit and I were escorted across the street to say hello to the crew.
As the Dirty Heads took to the stage they broke into a hip hop infused version of The Allman Brothers “Midnight Rider”. As Jared sang, Duddy had his guitar slung across his back like a true outlaw, rapping into the mic. What stood out to me the most about the Dirty Heads was their energy. Jon “Jon Jon” Olazabal beat on the hand drums as Matt Ochoa’s sticks worked the kit. As they played “Neighborhood” I was feeling good bumping to some Cali beats a few blocks from Denver digs. Two notes into the next song, the crowd went wild, and started jumping and singing along to “Taint”. This song is upbeat, bouncy and infectious, a true Dirty Heads anthem. As the drummers hands flew on the stage, the crowds hands flew in the air.
Showing their love of reggae they went into a reworking of Tenor Saw’s “Ring The Alarm”. Duddy rapped in a gritty dancehall style spitting “Dirty J Is A Murderer.” I love the fact that Jared and Duddy have such different rapping styles, it keeps it fresh. As Duddy went from rapping to playing guitar licks, Jared worked his way around the stage doing his thing. After the song was over, Jared repeated what he said to me on the tour bus saying, “No matter what the tour is like, we know Denver is going to lift us up!” To say thank you, Dirty Heads played us a couple new songs, “Hipster” and “On My Way”. Both will be on their new album, and had a much more chill reggae vibe to them. It sounded extremely natural and really showed these boys love of the island sounds. Just like Jared said, the new stuff is more rootsy and relies more on instruments and singing than samples and rap. “On My Way” had a killer bass line laid down by David Foral, which thumped in the Ogden!
By now the packed house was in a frenzy, they were loving the new material! The crowd sang along to every word of “StandTall”, and as a matter of fact, seemed to know every word of Any Port In A Storm. The Huntington Beach hustlers exploded into “Check The Level”, which instantly reminded me of the Beastie Boys, and me being a New Yorker, I really found a connection to the sound. The Ogden rocked harder than I ever expected it to be rocked on this Tuesday night. To show us just how hard they can rock it, they gave us their energetic version of the Rolling Stones “Paint It Black”. These guys do not stop moving and It makes you thirsty just watching them. As they finished the song up, the crowd was cheering and clapping for so long, that the band had to just wait it out, obviously grateful. After the crowd showed their love for what seemed a couple of minutes, they were finally able to start playing “Insomnia”.
Fellin’ the love, Dirty heads gave us a couple more of their more simplified new songs “We Will Rise” and “Burn By Myself”, a song about getting some fresh Cali green, but having no one to smoke it with. One of my favorite songs of the night was “Antelope”, a track that got the crowd going with the rhythmic hand drumming and built to the chanting of “The West Coasts knows how to hit it”. Hard. They funked it up a bit with “No Time For Ya’ll”. And this is when the night took an unexpected turn. Dirty Heads said that they left out a verse of “No Time For Ya’ll”, called the Buenos Noches Rap. Jared started telling us how they usually invite an audience member up to rap that verse, and before you knew it a kid was climbing over the crowd, making his way to the stage. Identifying himself as Jack, this die-hard fan rapped with the whole band backing him up, and Jared watching in amazement. Jack killed it! The place was going ape shit, cheering on him and his wild horse stripped shirt. Jared announced to the audience that, “If Jack doesn’t get laid tonight, I will quit the fucking band!” I am sure your efforts were rewarded Jack; and I sure as shit hope Jared is staying in the band! The Dirt Heads then rocked The Ogden with “Hip Hop Misfits!”
As the Dirty Heads walked off the stage, they threw out drum sticks, set lists, guitar picks, pocket lint…anything for the ravenous fans. They didn’t stay off stage long before coming back for an encore; this time with The Pier Photographer Kit Chalberg on the stage with them. Duddy came out for an acoustic song “Crazy Bitches”, a song that Duddy wrote and left on a girls answering machine! True story. They finished the night off with “Shine”, their latest single “Believe” and their #1 hit “Lay Me Down”. While they were playing “Believe” I felt like I was instantly transported to Huntington Beach. That’s what these guys do, bring their southern Cali vibe to any city they visit!
– Article by: Brian Turk
– Photos by: Kit Chalberg
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Courtesy of Kit Chalberg, here are more photos from the night. Click each photo to view our Photo Album on Facebook!