July 30, 2015 311 & The Mighty Mighty Bosstones lead second night at The Great South Bay Music Festival Patchogue, NY 7-17-15
Nine years old this year, The Great South Bay Music Festival has grown into the largest festival on Long Island, drawing even bigger crowds and even larger acts. Headlined by such bands as Circa Survive and Taking Back Sunday in 2014, the inclusion of different musical genres prompted the expansion of the festival to become a three day event, and in 2015 its success has prompted the addition of a fourth day. Even with the increase in scope, the name paints an incomplete picture. There is much more than just great local and national musical acts. There is also art, food, drink, shopping, and plenty of education. This family friendly festival is a celebration of all that is great about Long Island. Festival goers gathered at Shorefront Park in Patchogue, New York to experience the rich history of the Island, not just the amazing musicians and music that has come from there, but the companies, businesses, and organizations that are Long Island’s heart. Visitors ebbed and flowed through the Artisan Market for exotic, hand-crafted, and imported creations, purchased stylish hats and clothing. They visited the food court and were faced with many healthy, and not so healthy, choices.
After an exhilarating opening night Thursday July 16th with Christina Perri, Colbie Caillat, and Rachel Platten, amid the beautiful Summer sun, a total of fourteen bands gathered to perform for the second night of the festival on Friday the 17th. A light breeze, originated from the Great South Bay, swirled around and between thousands of music fans, and across the three stages that were points of convergence for Friday’s festival, the Clamshell Bandshell, the Jambalaya Stage, and the main, Blue Point Brews Stage. With big names on the Blue Point Brews Stage including The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and 311, Clamshell Bandshell, as well as the Jambalaya Stage, had some local talents that included Unwined, Yankee Rebel, Six Gun, Joe Bayer Band, Little Red Men, Maui Waui, Heavy Duty Super Ego, along with Ancient Tongue. Tie dye, flowery prints and hula hoops were everywhere as fans embraced the festival atmosphere. There was much to see as vendors and artists displayed their creations, artisans created one of a kind offerings, and exotic animals could be seen at various spots around the park.
Long Island locals, Funkt Up, kicked off the music at the main Blue Point Brews Stage promptly at 5 PM. Beginning their band initially in 2003, the band came out with great energy to excite the crowd. Setting the tone with a upbeat vibe, this band was the perfect start to the evening.
Next up was hometown favorites Oogee Wawa with their unique mix of Reggae, Pop, Punk, and Hip Hop. Formed back in 2008, the band has performed over two hundred shows a year and has played with everyone from The Dirty Heads, Sublime with Rome, to Rusted Roots and more. Consisting of The MC Jesse Lee Roenbeck, JP Aceto on guitar/vocals, Chad Chadwick on bass/vocals, and Nick Loiodice on drums/vocals, the band was ready to excite Great South Bay Festival once again. As Roenbeck worked the audience, he traded vocal duties with Loiodic as the band worked as a unit to keep the audience dancing. Oogee Wawa recently released their sophomore album More Sand Than Money and have many upcoming local dates.
The Green started their Summer tour on June 27th alongside 311, bringing them all the way from O‘ahu, Hawaii and up the East Coast of the US, to bring their native sound to Long Island. Formed in 2009, The Green consists of JP Kennedy on guitar, Zion Thompson also on guitar, Caleb Keolanui on lead vocals, Ikaika Antone on keyboards, Bassist and Keyboardist Brad Watanabe, and Jordan Espinoza on drums. All but Espinoza and Watanabe trade lead vocals, giving a wide vocal variety. Keolanui had a laid back, smooth delivery and a great range as he started on lead vocals. Thompson, Antone, and Kennedy harmonized and passed lead vocals between them, at times within the same song. Espinoza and Watanabe proved to be a solid, yet flowing rhythm section, delivering a strong foundation with just enough sway. Making the most of their time on stage, the band performed songs from their three releases, 2010’s The Green, 2011’s Ways and Means, and 2013’s Hawai’i ’13. A mix of Reggae, Pop, and Rock, the band adds indigenous Hawaiian lyrical and rhythmic elements to create a truly unique sound that had the large crowd dancing and swaying the entire time.
As dusk fell upon the swelling crowd, it was time to welcome The Mighty Mighty Bosstones to the main stage. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1983 and pioneered Ska Punk music. Now thirty plus years after their inception, original members, Vocalist Dicky Barrett, Bassist Joe Gittleman, Saxophonist Tim “Johnny Vegas” Burton, and Dancer Ben Carr are back with Drummer Joe Sirois, Saxophonist Kevin Lenear, Guitarist Lawrence Katz, and Trombonist Chris Rhodes. Actively touring consistently, the band has nine studio records to their name, including 2011’s The Magic of Youth. The perfect act for a festival roster, the band had a major buzz penetrating through the crowd since they had not visited the Long Island area in quite sometime.
Kicking off the set with “The Old School Off the Bright,” 1997’s “The Rascal King,” and the high velocity “Dr. D.,” the band came out firing on all cylinders. Dressed to the nines and grooving to the music, the band sounded sensationally tight as they went into hits like “Someday I Suppose,” “Royal Oil,” and others such as “Like A Shotgun” and the laid back Reggae tune “Everybody’s Better.” As Barrett and Carr danced around continuously throughout the set, the rest of the band moved on, rocking out a Clash track entitled “Rudie Can’t Fail.” Entertaining and smooth, Carr continued to display the proper approach to enjoying the music as he bounced around the stage non-stop to “Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah.”
Having the time of their lives, the audience followed along dancing and bouncing to the upbeat party tunes that included 1989’s “Hope I Never Lose My Wallet,” “Don’t Worry Desmond Dekker,” along with “They Will Need Music.” Sounding great with their horn and rhythm sections in top form, Barrett charmed the crowd with his energy and great sounding vocals until the end when they wrapped up their set with big hit “The Impression That I Get,” followed by 2009’s “Impossible Dream.” Playing a total of seventeen songs, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones covered their discography in fitting fashion and did not let down their long time fans. Whether it be the comfortable setting of a smaller venue like Webster Hall in NYC, which the band played two nights prior, or the large grounds of The Great South Bay Music Festival, this band knows how to put on a show that no one will forget.
After a long list of bands prior, it came time for Omaha, Nebraska’s 311. Known as one of the darlings of Alternative Rock, the band recently celebrated their twenty-fifth anniversary with a special box set entitled Archives featuring a load of unreleased songs, B-sides, demos, and more goodies fans will want to get their hands on. Keeping a strong core together with Nick Hexum (vocals, guitar), SA Martinez (vocals, turntables), Tim Mahoney (lead guitar), Aaron “P-Nut” Wills (bass), and Chad Sexton, the band pumped out eleven chart topping albums, including 2014’s STER3OL1TH1C. Known for mixing styles that include Punk, Metal, Reggae, Hip Hop, Rock, and everything in between, 311 essentially are a band no one can emulate. With the night sky fully set in and the grounds packed out, everyone was amped up and ready for 311’s performance.
Kicking things off with the song “Beautiful Disaster” from their 1997 album Transistor, 311 combined heavy guitars and heavy groove with Funk and Reggae elements. Next was “Freeze Time,” one of the band’s heavier songs with a Groove Metal feel, while featuring scratching turntables from Martinez to fill out the sound. During “All Mixed Up,” the crowd got it all, plus some catchy vocals by Hexum, with this fan favorite from the 1995 self-titled record that helped them break big into the mainstream. Moving along, new song “The Great Divide” featured a bit of Rap from Hexum and SA while “P-Nut” along with Sexton laid down a tight groove. Keeping everyone’s blood pumping, 311 had everyone enthralled as they visited 2001 and delivered “Sick Tight” off of their record From Chaos.
Mellowing things out some, “Who’s Got the Herb” received a strong reaction from the crowd despite never appearing on a 311 studio record. This Reggae style tune had the entire crowd gently swaying back and forth with many closing their eyes, getting lost in the music. Keeping the playlist on shuffle and full of surprises, the heavier “Do You Right” came before taking a turn to a Disco dance vibe with “Gap.” Raising the volume with Metal sounds again, “Applied Science” saw Hexum and Mahoney combine for some of their heaviest guitar riffs of the night. Then there was “Don’t Stay Home” which hit the crowd with some great percussive grooves that had everyone immersed, with “Time Bomb” keeping the momentum going as Hexum and SA continued to sing in impassioned fashion along with the infectious beat.
Like a roller coaster, filled with ups and downs, “Amber” and “Friday Afternoon” brought on a chill sensation again. Bringing the crowd for a walk along the coast, the sea mist could almost be felt on the cheek. Given a chance to shine, Wills display his skills on bass during his solo as he showed Long Islanders where the groove really comes from. Not to be outdone, Sexton delivered a groovy, tasteful drum solo and was soon joined by a few other percussionists to finish strong before leading into “T & P Combo” and “Feel So Good” where the band showed pure Funk chops. Wrapping things up with their mega hit “Down,” everyone moved in unison, going wild and singing along with each word. The crowd made its desire known that they wanted more, and 311 returned to the stage for their encore, “Beyond the Gray Sky” and “Creatures (For a While),” both coming from the Evolver record from 2003, seemingly satisfying all who stayed until the final note.
Overall, the biggest night of The Great South Bay Music Festival treated visitors to a great line up of Groove, Funk, Ska, Reggae, and Dance. The acts were tremendous and the atmosphere was charged with fun and excitement. Filled with great variety of food and drink, with the latter provided by local brewery Blue Point, there was much to do and much to be seen throughout the day. As for 311, they were simply brilliant in their approach and remain to be a band to see live all these years later. Delivering a twenty-one song set full of hits from their extensive collection, there is still time to catch them before the Summer is over, so do not miss out.