Sublime with Rome Bring Summer Fun To PNC Bank Arts Center Holmdel, NJ 7-8-16 w/ Dirty Heads, Tribal Seeds, & Bleeker

Sublime with Rome Bring Summer Fun To PNC Bank Arts Center Holmdel, NJ 7-8-16 w/ Dirty Heads, Tribal Seeds, & Bleeker

When Sublime with Rome announced their summer tour in the beginning of March, it helped many plot out their plans for a hot night out at a local outdoor venue near by. Bringing along three other bands – Bleeker, Tribal Seeds, and direct support, Dirty Heads – it is the type of bill that defines summer fun. Scheduled to hit cities coast to coast, on Friday, July 8th, the bands rolled into PNC Banks Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey. While thunder roared and lightning struck, as fans piled in with ponchos and towels, this lineup stacked with summer jams did not need a beautiful sunny day to assure an epic night.

Checking it all off was Canada’s Bleeker consisting of Taylor Perkins (vocals), Cole Perkins (guitar), Dan Steinke (guitar), and Mike Van Dyke (bass). Scheduled to release a new album soon, Bleeker came out ready to rock as Taylor screamed, “I bet none of you know who you are.” Too fast to judge, those who did their diligence to arrive early responded positively to Taylor, proving not only did they know who they were, but in fact loved Bleeker. So much so, that throughout the set, the audience was dancing as they were appreciative to watch the electric band perform. Taylor’s brother, Cole, rocked out on guitar as they switched microphones and screamed out to the crowd, encouraging more participation.

Playing many songs off their self-titled EP, highlights included “Free” and “Where’s Your Money.” Keeping everyone on their feet, one of the band’s most popular songs, “Highway,” was well-received and showed Bleeker was a perfect start to the night. Dressed with Rolling Stones swag and irresistible grooves, Bleeker is well worth checking out.

Following Bleeker’s set, a transition from Rock to Reggae quickly took place as San Diego, California’s Tribal Seeds took the stage next. Continuing the theme of sibling-led bands, Tribal Seeds was begun back in 2005 by Guitarist/Vocalist Steven Jacobo and Keyboardist/Vocalist Tony Jacobo. An independent band, their 2005 debut album, Youth Rebellion, began the band’s soar in popularity and, in 2008, they were awarded “Best World Music” at the San Diego Music Awards in 2008.

Coming out as a six-piece featuring Carlos Verdugo (drums), Victor Navarro (bass), E.N Young (keyboards, vocals), and Ryan Gonzo (guitar, vocals) joining the Jacobo brothers, they were very calm, as well as focused. Add to the equation their energy, the crowd embraced the band as they played feel-good tunes such as “Dawn of Time” and “In Your Eyes.” Running around the stage and engaging the audience, Tribal Seeds had everyone moving and grooving as they jammed along a delightful set that also included “Vampire” as well as latest single “Surrender.” Those yet to hear the colorful new track can download it via iTunes, Amazon, or Google Play now.

Weather aside, the interior portion of the venue was completely packed prior to direct supporting act Dirty Heads ran on stage. Begun some twenty years ago, Vocalists Jared “Dirty J” Watson and Dustin “Duddy” Bushnell have shared a close bond since the first time they met freshman year of high school. Adding Keyboardist Shawn Hagood, Bassist David Foral, Drummer Matt Ochoa, and more recently Percussionist Jon Olazabal, Dirty Heads have topped Billboard Alternative Album charts with each release. Reaching #1 on the respective Alternative Album charts with 2014’s Sound of Change, Dirty Heads dropped their fifth studio album as of July 15th. Excited for a chance to see Dirty Heads visit New Jersey for the first time since last summer when they performed a sold out show with Slightly Stoopid in Asbury Park at Stone Pony Summerstage, even the general admission area was full with anxious followers.

Whether they were playing songs from their 2008 debut album, Any Port in a Storm, or brand new cuts from their yet to be released self-titled album, Dirty Heads knew exactly how to keep everyone in the groove. Offering up songs such as “Stand Tall,” everyone was singing along to each and every word. Boosting the energy even higher, “Medusa” had everyone engaged with one of the Dirty Heads’ most creative lyrics, “I get so stoned like I checked out Medusa.”

Going on with others such as “Spread Too Thing,” fan’s dreams came true after they brought out Rome Ramirez to join them on the hit single “Lay Me Down.” Shouting out the line “I said it’s hot outside let me go swimming in your eyes,” the Dirty Heads had complete control of the audience with their crafty lyrics. Closing out with newer song “That’s All I Need,” Dirty Heads gave everyone a good sampling of what their latest album is all about and there is no doubt their followers have already picked up a copy.

Entertained by three different acts prior, PNC Bank Arts Center was buzzing with anticipation for Sublime with Rome. The story began back in 2009 when former Sublime members Eric Wilson (bass) and Bud Gaugh (drums) began performing Sublime tracks with Rome Ramirez. To the pleasant surprise of fans, it gave hope that Sublime reforming was a possibility for the first time since late Vocalist Bradley Nowell’s death in 1996. Wasting little time, Wilson and Gaugh united with Rome Ramirez and became known as Sublime with Rome. Touring and releasing two albums since, including 2015’s Sirens, Sublime with Rome are here to stay and older generation Sublime fans, as well as newer generation followers, could not be happier.

Taking the stage with Josh Freese positioned behind the drum kit, Wilson to the right, Rome came out with his guitar, front and center, as they began their set with “Date Rape.” If there was anything that was going to catch the attention of the crowd, it was this opening with its immense energy. Accomplishing the task with ease, they drifted into an array of Sublime classics such as “Wrong Way” and “40oz. to Freedom,” but also sprinkled in a cover of The Toyes “Smoke Two Joints.” Diving in and out of newer material from the Sublime with Rome era, including “You Better Listen” and “Take It or Leave,” Rome appeared to be completely immersed in the music. While the vocalist did not move around the stage too much, his emotional delivery and dedication to giving the songs their just due was enough to keep everyone smiling and moving along.

As the set moved along with more covers such as Bad Religion’s “We’re Only Gonna Die” and The Grateful Dead’s “Scarlet Begonias,” the band did a fine job of keeping the mood feeling like a well-thought-out mixtape as they offered Sublime’s “Doin’ Time” and the unforgettable “Bad Fish.” But like any good thing, it all came to an end, or did it? Keeping everyone in suspense, the band returned for an encore that featured Sublime’s “What I Got” and the Dirty Heads own Duddy and Dirty J joining them for the performance of “Sirens.” Seeming that would be enough, Rome was colored in a red spotlight as the distinctive intro of a single strumming guitar ignited a roar of cheers. That song would be the famous “Santeria” where not a soul in venue was sitting down and all their voices could be heard joining Rome, word for word.

Those who had the opportunity to see the PNC Bank Arts Center show have a summer memory that will last a lifetime. Old songs echoed throughout the venue making fans nostalgic, but yet open to the newer music as well. Inclement weather, uplifting jams, and an open-air venue, it was the perfect night. The tour continues through August, so get out and join the fun before it is too late.


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Shoshana Swell
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