This summer, the reggae-rock community had two prominent groups each releasing a new album and not only are these two groups NOT touring together, these two groups have NEVER toured together! So let me preface this read by asking you: Did Summer 2016 Miss It’s Best Tour Line-up? Let’s find out…
Aside from new summertime album releases, we fans tend to salivate over the announcement of summertime tour line-ups and whether or not that line-up will make its way to a nearby stage. When you have two high-profile bands releasing a new album, that just means we get to hear something we haven’t heard while seeing something we haven’t yet seen — Nothing could be more true in the case of Santa Barbara’s Rebelution and the Dirty Heads of Huntington Beach, CA. These are two Cali-based groups who have never toured together, each releasing a new album for the Summer of ’16.
— What If: Dirty Heads & Rebelution 2016 Summer Tour —
Every other year since 2012, Dirty Heads and Rebelution have each released a brand new album, and like 2014, each band’s new record will drop a month a part in 2016; Rebelution’s Falling In Place drops 6/3/16 and the Dirty Heads new self-titled record releases 7/15/16. It starts to read like a blueprint to an epic summer pairing with highly anticipated new albums from two of the scenes biggest groups. Instead, each group took a familiar route with their summer tour line-up.
Rebelution’s 2016 summer tour will include The Green + J Boog, Stick Figure and Through the Roots in addition to DJ Mackle. That tour will span 29 total dates from their Red Rocks show in Morrison, CO on June 3rd to August 20th at Big Sky Brewery in Missoula, MT, reaching 22 different states including 4 dates in Florida and 5 in California — Dirty Heads, touring with Sublime with Rome and Tribal Seeds, will reach 31 total dates from July 1st in St. Augustine, FL to August 20th, concluding at Ciderstock in Middlebury, VT. That trek will also span 22 different states including 4 dates in both California and Texas.
I feel like you could remove any group from Rebelution’s summer tour line-up, including Rebelution, and that line-up would still sell-out most, if not all, 31 dates — That’s a testament to the depth and talent of the groups on the bill, not to mention how in-demand this genre of music is; especially in a live setting. It’s a jam-packed line-up that is half a festival bill, and I feel like this is a shuffling or variation of a line-up that we’ve already experienced over the years.
The argument doesn’t change much with the Dirty Heads who are once again sharing a summer bill with Sublime with Rome. Sure, it’s been since 2010 that they’ve toured together, but between the festivals and guest appearances on each-others albums, this is a line-up that doesn’t feel as new as the music on Dirty Heads new self-titled record.
Okay, But Who Would The Headliner Be?
With all of that said, understand that it is no easy task putting a summer tour together — There’s a lot to consider and discuss. In addition to lining up each others schedule and routing, there’s the discussion of who headlines each market along the way of what would likely be 30+ dates. Typical questions may be what the take home percentage for each group in each market is and which of the two bands has a more successful history in each market.
When you have two high profile bands promoting their highly anticipated new albums, they want to maximize as much of each market as they can which could take a bit of compromising from both ends. Each group could look at each-others past numbers in the markets of their routing to see who potentially has more sway and who should headline each show, taking home the headlining pay. OR, maybe its a 50/50 headlining-split all the way through, but even then, maybe this leads to one band taking a pay cut in certain markets for the sake of this tour which could be a deal-breaker when your numbers say you’ll make more money if you don’t tour with this band — I have no idea if this happened here, but you wouldn’t believe some of the tours that could have taken place in the past if it weren’t for two sides unable to come to an agreement over who headlines.
Plus, when you’re in the band, you want to consider who you’d enjoy sharing the road with for the summer. With the potential pressure that comes with releasing a new album, maybe it’s easier to be joined by familiarity instead of a group you haven’t toured with before.
This is all speculation and for all I know, neither group ever considered a summer outing together for this year. But from a fan’s perspective, I think I speak for most of us when I say that we want to see something NEW, something we haven’t experienced before. Regardless, we’re going to buy the albums and go to the next available show, but speaking from the excitement and wonderment of a fan, the experience of presenting a show unlike anything that’s been seen before is what’s more enticing then a repeat or variation of what’s been done already.
I’ve had the chance to listen to Rebelution’s new album and it’s their best since 2012’s Peace of Mind. I have also listened to the Dirty Heads new record which is also their best since the 2012 release of Cabin By The Sea. I’d say 2016 missed a great summer tour line-up from two of the scene’s biggest bands, who put out what will arguably be described as the years two best albums.
I personally wouldn’t care who headlines. I’d stay for both sets and if you want to add some icing to the cake of this idea, then I’d go with The Skints as the opener. Maybe this tour takes place in the fall or the winter, but it wont be the same as it would be if Dirty Heads and Rebelution shared their first tour together this summer around the release of their new summer albums. In any case, I look forward to each of their respective tours, but as a fan, it’s fun to daydream, theorize and pose the question to your friends with: Dude, what if…
Listen: Rebelution – “Inhale Exhale” (feat. Protoje) — Lyrical Video