Live: SWR, Matisyahu, Dirty Heads, Pepper, Cypress Hill (9-1-12)

Live: SWR, Matisyahu, Dirty Heads, Pepper, Cypress Hill (9-1-12)

Date: September 1st 2012
Line up: Sublime with Rome, Matisyahu, Cypress Hill, Dirty Heads, Pepper, Manic Low
Location: England Brothers Park Pinellas Park, FL
Set Times:
Sublime with Rome 9:15-10:45,
Matisyahu 8:20-8:50,
Cypress Hill 6:55-7:55,
Dirty Heads 5:50-6:35,
Pepper 4:45-5:30
Manic Low 4:00-4:30

For the last stop of their nationwide 2012 Summer tour, Sublime with Rome, and Pepper ended the run with a massive reggae festival finale, joining forces with the Matisyahu, Dirty Heads Summer Tour for a special Labor Day celebratory concert!

Over the Summer, fans were able to attend a multitude of amazing concerts around the nation. But the lucky fans in the state of Florida were particularly privileged, as several unique shows played through the market this season. Attending most of these shows, The Pier was able to talk with a ton of fans. The one common statement between shows was “I can’t wait for that last show of the Summer… what a line-up!”

As the concert drew near, this epic bill grew! With Sublime with Rome, Matisyahu, Cypress Hill, Dirty Heads, and Pepper all set to performed on the same stage, it was already a great line up! Then at the last minute The Manic Low signed on to open, and a second side stage was added featuring the Sheffield Crew and three other great regional bands! With such an impressive bill, The Pier made sure to cover it all!

At 2:30pm, fans flooded in, hurrying to the front barricade staking out their home for the rest of the day. With 15,000 in attendance, these fans arrived early, 3 to 4 hours before the opener went on, and basically stayed in their place the entire day.

With an hour or so till show time, The Pier was able to talk with many of the front row fans, getting their thoughts on the show to come. I ran into a group of girls from New Port Richie, who said “We’re all excited for the show, but even more excited to be up here in the front row for Sublime!” “…There are so many songs we want to hear, I really hope they play “Saw Red,” … I can’t wait for the music to start!”

In the midst of recording a new album, reggae-rock’s favorite trio took some time off away from the studio to support Sublime with Rome on this Summer’s tour. Always a must see on everyone’s line-up list, Pepper walked out to the screams of what was now thousands and thousands of fans.

The Hawaiians effortlessly commanded the stage, playing 12 or so favorites off their extensive list of hits. With only 45 minutes of stage time, Pepper, stuck to the sounds of the revolutionary albums, Kona Town and No Shame.

In their 45 minute set, the Dirty Heads played a well arranged mix of songs off their two records. Opening with “Hipster” and then going right into “Neighborhood” the southern California crew tore through eight songs before Dirty J brought out Rome for “Lay me down.” Recently going gold, “Lay Me Down,” is one of the most popular modern songs in the genre, a song everybody wanted to hear. Fans were more than stoked to hear it with Rome jammin’ on his part! Ending the set with “Hip-Hop Misfits” the Dirty Heads brought the sound back to the to their roots, showcasing why their talents have brought them so far today!

I had seen the Dirty Heads live several times before, but I had yet to hear a lot of the new tracks live. I questioned whether the band could recreate the sound of the album. With the addition of Shawn Hagood on keys and back-up vocals, the live versions of the new songs hit the mark , staying true to the album with a full sound that is better than ever.

Earlier in the day, The Pier got a chance to catch up with Shawn Hagood, the newest Dirty Head who was hired for tour, to discuss how he got the gig, and his input to the Dirty Head’s live sound…. “I started playing reggae with Spread the Dub and then Artikal Sound System down in South Florida… Last time the Dirty heads came through with Gym Class Heroes, they came out and saw me playing a show… In June, after a couple rehearsals at Sound Matrix in LA, and a test show on Jimmy Kimmel, I signed on and we got right on the road… They were looking to add keys and vocals, trying to round out the sound. It was twofold.. They already had a great sound and were not going to just pick anybody. What should be known is that they needed someone to be able to play keys and sing, as well as someone everybody could hang out with..three months later I’m here with a chance for an awesome career. I had to listen to the songs for a few days and learn the parts by ear. The song are refreshing, not only for the fans but the band as well.. we’re having a great time playing this stuff.”

For me, the peak of the show, was the hour long Cypress Hill set. Cypress Hill truly surprised me. Full of energy and musicality, the group got everyone jumping as high as they could. The powerful vocals of B Real and Sen Dog coupled with a DJ and a percussion section, Cypress Hill’s unique hip-hop act is one not to miss!

After their set, The Pier spoke with Cypress Hill’s Sen Dog to get his thought on this festival. “It was great up there…the crowd has so much energy!… It was cool because the authorities had no problem with the crowd..they can party, and smoke, whatever.. I feel like we are back in the 90’s with an awesome crowd like this!”

Just as the as the sun had set, the stage when black and the Dub Trio began a slow trippy musical intro. Several measures in Matisyahu seemed to almost appear sitting on top of a speaker, just swaying along with the dub intro. He only played 30 minutes, but it was amazing! I have never seen anyone be more energetic, or look as if they have more fun on stage, than Matisyahu.

Playing the perfect balance of hip-hop and reggae the energy of the set quickly escalated to where in the middle of “King Without a Crown” Matisyahu threw off his shirt, and dove into the sea of awestruck fans. Like a pro, he crowd surfed about 40 feet out, stood up, and then came back in, to finish the song. I could only describe Matisyahu’s set as an explosion of energy.

Everyone loves the Sublime. Their tracks are a key influential factor in this genre. Everyone loves to sing along to the songs they have listened to for years. There is nothing like a park full of people singing Sublime together.

After partying all day, the crowd was slightly tired, slightly worn out, but ready for the headliner. Just after nine o’clock they took the stage as the famous sampling from the 1936 movie Reefer Madness echoed through the crowd. Sublime with Rome played an impressive twenty song set, covering all the hits as well songs off Yours Truly and even some new cover material.

After a strong intro of several Sublime favorites, the group played a cover of the the Descendents “Sour Grapes” and later played a cover of Nirvana’s Besides those highlights, the crowd favorite had to be when Dirty J of the Dirty heads came out for a spot on “Safe and Sound.” With no time to break before the encore, Rome brought out their friend and manager, Cheez, to play acoustic on “What I Got” before ending the set with “Santeria”.

It was truly a beautiful day of music. When all these bands broke onto the scene years ago, this was the type of festival show that fans wished for, and it finally went down on Saturday! This happen to be the first major concert at England Brothers Park. Bringing out a line-up like Sublime with Rome, Matisyahu, Cypress Hill, Dirty Heads, Pepper has to be the best way debut a venue. After this very successful day, hopefully shows of this magnitude will become a annual event!

Sublime with Rome Set List:
Smoke Two Joints
Don’t Push
Garden Grove
Right Back
New Thrash
Sour Grapes
Slow Ride
Date Rape
Take It or Leave It
Wrong Way
Drain You
Safe and Sound
You Better Listen
April 29th 1992
Scarlet Begonias
Badfish> Lets Go Get Stoned – skipped
Under My Voodoo
Doin’ Time -skipped
What I Got

Matisyahu Set List:
Time Of Your Song
Darkness Into Light
King Without a Crown
One Day

Cypress Hill Set List:
Get Em Up
Hand on The Pump
When The Shit Goes Down
Kill A Man
Latin Thug
Tequila Sunrise
Insane In The Brain
Weed Medley
DJ Solo
Shots Go off
Ain’t Going Out
Rise Up
Rock Superstar

Dirty Heads Set List:
Stand Tall
Cabin By The Sea
Check The Level
Spread Too Thin
Dance All Night
Lay Me Down
Hip-Hop Misfits

Pepper Set List:
Love Affair
Crazy Love
Nice Time
Your Face
Stone Love
Five on it > Point and Shoot
Sitting on theCurb>7 Weeks>Making Love
No Control

Article By: Aaron Solomon
Photos By: Peter Monti

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