Date: Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Line Up: Dirty Heads, Pepper, Aer, Katastro
Location: Red Rocks Amphitheater. Morrison, CO
Dirty Heads brought their Sound of Change summer tour to the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO with Pepper, Aer & Katastro. This marked a special event for the Dirty Heads as this was their first time headlining the world famous venue and the timing couldn’t be better as they brought their new record, Sound of Change, to share with the 8,000 plus in attendance. Dirty Heads have played here a couple times in the past, their first being in 2007, but never as the headliner, until now.
Ahead of the show, I received an anonymous tip to be on the lookout for two special guest appearances for Dirty Heads live set – But I’ll get back to that in a minute. Some of the frustrations about this show was that it took place on a Wednesday, slap dab in the middle of the week, followed by some unexpected rain.
In a perfect world, an event such as this would take place on a leisurely Saturday with plenty of tailgating in the afternoon, while losing yourself to the music all night & waking up in the morning without fear of being late for school or work. Getting to the venue took longer than usual due to rush hour traffic & once we arrived, it poured rain! As a result, we missed Aer & Katastro as we stayed in our cars while heavy wind & rain wreaked havoc outside.
Doors opened at 6:00pm & even at 8:00pm, it took about 30minutes to get into the venue as it appeared everyone else in attendance also waited for the rain to stop, before entering the amphitheater, causing a chaotic line. Once we were inside, photographer Kit Chalberg & I made our way back-stage, only to run into Pepper as they were mentally preparing for their performance. After a brief hello, we watched the 3-piece from Kona step onto stage, leading off with their newer song “Fuck Around” off their 2013 self-titled release.
Five of of Pepper’s eighteen song set-list was from their Kona Town album & received the best response from the crowd – check the set-list below for a full recap of all the songs they played.
After spending 14 years covering the Reggae-Rock scene, it was really awesome to see Dirty Heads & Pepper finally share the stage! Pepper is as animated & energetic as they were when I first started seeing them live back in 2001. After their set, they landscaped the front row, shaking hands & thanking fans. By far one of the most hardworking bands in the music industry – I use to watch them tear-down & set-up the Volcom stage at Warped Tour 12 years ago and they’ve earned every bit of their success, today!
Like the Dirty Heads, Pepper is also promoting a newer album they released last fall, that took the group in a newer direction that they referred to as the Rebirth: Pepper 2.0, first mentioned in our feature on Pepper that you can read HERE!
Pepper only played 3 songs off their new album with “Fuck Around”, “Higher Ground” and “Illuminate”. I wish they would have performed 1 or 2 more songs from the newer album, such as “Hunny Girl” and/or “Undone”.
Dirty Heads mentioned to the crowd that headlining Red Rocks Amphitheater was on the groups collective bucket-list! The first song they kicked off with was “Hip Hop Misfits” letting Colorado know they come straight from the Pacific! This was a great song to lead the set off, but more than that, I loved hearing the full band version of “Garland” off their 2013 all acoustic album. On the album, it’s stripped down acoustic, but live, it’s with the full band & sounds amazing – hopefully this will be a song they revisit in the studio for a future release!
Vocalist Jared Watson mentioned to the crowd that they were filming their live-set for their first ever live DVD which explained the multiple camera-men running around the stage! A live DVD seems like perfect timing for the band & with this show, fans at home will get to experience & see Dirty Heads on-stage collaboration with a special guest appearance by Tech N9ne. I was notified earlier in the day to be on the look out for a couple special guest appearances and it wasn’t until the last verse of “Burn Slow” did they bring Tech N9ne out to perform his verse!
Following the song, Jared Watson was kind enough to help Tech N9ne light his joint on stage as he proceeded to take his time to Burn Slow. Following the show, Tech N9ne took to social media saying: “Dirty Heads are Kool as fuck AND talented! They murdered the other night in Colorado. It was my 1st time seeing them but Damn sure not the last! T9!”
As great as that performance was with T9, it wasn’t the nights only collaboration on stage with Dirty Heads. Carter Schultz of Aer came out during a free-form dub medley the group performed over the stalk of Sensimilla riddim. Never heard the group perform the song before and midway through, Carter came out and free-styled over the riddim alongside Jared.
Before the end of the set, the group called Rome Ramirez of Sublime with Rome on stage to perform their 2010 hit-single, “Lay Me Down”. Rome produced about 8 songs off the new 13 track Sound of Change album and was a nice surprise to the live set! The group ended their set with Sound of Change but then came back out to encore their current single, “My Sweet Summer”.
If this was a Friday, Saturday or even a Sunday night, I wouldn’t be that shocked by the amount of people in attendance, but the place looked to be at capacity on a rainy Wednesday night & it’s a tribute to how far the Dirty Heads have come with their sound & following. Good music is good music & the public just demands it!
It seemed at times there were some issues with the sound as we saw Pepper’s bassist Brett Bollinger, signal to the sound-man in frustration over an adjustment to the feedback he was getting on his end. We noticed a hiccup during the Dirty Heads set during the performance of “Dance All Night”. Something seemed off with this song in particular & I looked over to see the sound-man once again making on-the-fly adjustments. Outside of those 2 instances, the sound seemed great and the crowd was unconditional.
Overall, the experience was quite overwhelming & rewarding to see. It’s about time Pepper & Dirty Heads shared the stage and this marks the first tour where Dirty Heads are performing with their own lighting system. I was excited to see how the new songs would sound live, blended with their older material & as a longtime Dirty Heads fan, the transition is seamless, only adding depth to their live experience.
Dirty Heads Set List: (In no order)
Hip Hop Misfits
Dance All Night
Cabin By The Sea
Spread Too Thin
Burn Slow (w/ Tech N9ne)
Live-Medley (w/Carter of Aer)
Check the level
Lay Me Down (w/ Rome Ramirez)
Sound of Change
My Sweet Summer
Pepper Setlist: (In no order)
Bring Me Along
Give It Up
Point and Shoot
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Article by: Mike Patti
Photos by: Kit Chalberg
More photos from the event…