How Did I Spend My Summer Vacation you ask? Well I went to see Slightly Stoopid for their How I Spent My Summer Vacation Tour (obviously). Slightly Stoopid is easily the Gold Standard when it comes to the Reggae Rock scene. A band that has paved the way for most in this community, along with the obvious Sublime. So, when their summer tour approaches your city you can be sure it is a good time. In fact, here in the quiet small town just south of Austin - New Braunfels, TX, it is basically an all-day event. Slightly Stoopid have chosen The White Water Amphitheater as their adopted summer home. The motto: arrive early, stay late - no exceptions here. Showing up hours early will get the day started off right, as the venue is situated right on the Comal river. Concert-goers can choose to float on the river while listening to some righteous tunes. However, the party gets started on dry land well before the show starts as well. The parking lot fills up with people jamming out while tailgating. The sounds of Slightly Stoopid or other Reggae style vibes are blasting from cars with each step. Once doors open, the anticipation begins, and the lines start to form in front of the merch tents.
A Slightly Stoopid Summer Tour always brings the heavy hitters for openers. This year they clearly did not hold back either. Tribal Seeds, Matisyahu and Hirie are all headliners in their own right for a summer tour - and they have done so in the past. If they would have added a few more artists, this could have easily been considered an all-day festival.
Hirie begins the evening to an already large size crowd. Once she hits the stage all eyes are locked in with her presence. As she launches in to her first song “Boom Fire” off the album “Wandering Soul”, you feel the band’s energy right away. Hirie, whose real name is Patricia Jetton, uses the whole stage as her canvas as she bounces around nailing each song she belts out. All members of the band were on point; fully engaged and creating smiles throughout. The set included the new songs “She Go” and “I Like the Way You Roll”, off the upcoming “Dreamer” album. If you have yet to hear either, then pause this review and listen now. Fans of the band were stoked when they ended the performance with favorites “You Won’t Be Alone” and “Sensi Boy”. This set the tone for the night.
As Tribal Seeds steps on to the stage you automatically see clouds lift above the massive crowd. If you were not already lit, then you were getting lit one way or another now. As lead singer Steven Jacobo starts off with “Love Psalm”, it was officially full-on reggae vibes. The California Roots Rock Reggae band’s live performance is similar to a calm before the storm. They hit you nice and slow allowing you to get your puffs in right before your mind is ready to explode. The
heavy bass lines from Victor Navarro shake the heart during “The Garden” leading in to “Blood Clot”. The crowd really lost their minds during “In Your Eyes” and “Vampire”. At times the crowd pretty much took over as lead singers. For those who grew up in the 90’s, like me, then nostalgia kicked in when Tribal Seeds unexpectedly played Mark Morrison’s “Return of the Mack”. So damn fun, to say the least. As they ended with “Gunsmoke” most in the audience were red-eyed with smiles getting amped for the next act.
Matisyahu Is no stranger to the area of Austin, TX. His two live albums, both recorded at the iconic BBQ joint and concert venue, Stubbs’s, are classics in the genre. When Matisyahu steps on stage his calm demeanor really relaxes you through the first few songs “Warrior” and “Crossroads”. Of course, when the intro to “King Without a Crown” is heard the heads begin to bounce. To add more hype to his set, Hirie is back on stage to team up for the track. How can I not mention the songs “One Day” and “Sunshine”? These two powerful songs engage the crowds. By the time Matisyahu wraps up every fan in the place was now prepped and primed for the final performance.
To say Slightly Stoopid has come a long way is an understatement. From their small beginnings playing small venues to the large venues that are now the staple for the band’s ever-growing popularity, a killer show is always guaranteed. The excitement level is always at a high waiting for the boys from California to grace the stage. With a catalogue that run ten deep, a setlist from them
cannot disappoint. Starting off with the jams of “Dabbington” was a perfect warm up for what’s to come. One of my favorite albums of all time “Everything You Need”, was the center of attention for the next few songs. “Running with A Gun”, “Everything You Need”, and “Officer” had me spellbound. These 3 songs are in my hall of fame, that is for sure. One thing that always shines through at a Slightly Stoopid show is that every single member is loving what they do. The connection flows from Andy Geib and Dela down to Miles and Kyle and back up to Rymo and OG - it’s a beautiful thing. As the performance continues, I take a step back to crowd-watch for a moment and notice their full participation. It gave me chills and I wonder how the adrenaline rush must feel for Slightly Stoopid. As the night goes on more hits are unleashed including “Underneath the Pressure”, “Prophet”, “Anywhere I Go”, “2am” and “Somebody”. As we reach the mid-portion of the show, the guest performances are revealed. Marlon Asher was first up and performed his song “Love of Jah”. Incredible song and amazing performance. Marlon takes the mic and destroys it. If that was not enough for you then Chali 2na walks out. Once he does it only makes sense to perform “Higher Now” - off Slightly Stoopid new album Everyday Life, Everyday People, before transitioning to “Just Thinking”. It is always fun watching “Chali 2na perform; the man is a master at his craft and one of the most talented artists out there. As we enter the final stretch Hirie pops back out for yet another performance for a song I was hoping to see live, "Mona June". Hirie is a perfect choice to fill the vocals of Angela Hunte on this song. As the final few songs are happening, I take time to just watch Kyle and Miles. The two could make a car run without an engine. The night comes to an end with an encore that will be impossible to forget. With Miles singing “One More Night”, a recent music video release which documents the bands life on the road. This definitely has the power to make a grown man emotional and gives you the power to self-reflect. After such a long night, a few more guest appearances grace the stage, but I will let you discover this on your own high. As you’ve come to expect, Slightly Stoopid, once again, proves to be leaders of the pack.
How Did I Spend My Summer Vacation, one may ask? I was witness to one of the greatest bands perform live with an amazing list of their fellow artists. They all gave performances that were beyond expectations. Remember, arrive early and stay late – you won’t be disappointed.