A Sublime Evening in Tampa

A Sublime Evening in Tampa

“Summertime and the living’s easy, and Bradley’s on the microphone with Ras M.G.” say the lyrics to Sublime’s 1996 hit “Doin’ Time”. Fast forward almost twenty years, and neither Bradley Nowell, nor Marshall Goodman, a.k.a Ras M.G. were on the microphone, but the sound they created, and the mellow vibes that go along with it were in the air at Tampa’s Midflorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on August 14th.

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This was where I found myself on that Friday night, along with my friend Mike, and scores of other fans, after making our way down a rain-soaked I-4 at a snail’s pace, then dodging huge puddles in the parking lot. Despite the rain, the other attendees seemed to be in great spirits, laughing and having fun even while waiting in line. The amphitheatre, while having a roof, does not have sides, so I found our seats, I also found they were wet.

Thanks to slow traffic, or poor planning on my part, I missed Mickey Avalon, but was able to see the Hawaiian based trio, Pepper as they strummed through their set of ska-punk songs. The crowd’s mood became contagious, and I found myself feeling mellow and happy, watching the sun set behind Tampa’s Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, through a haze of drizzling rain and the smoke of less-than-legal recreational drugs. Pepper is known for such songs as “No Control”, and “Give It Up”, during which vocalist Bret Bollinger asks “Why don’t you have some dirty hot sex with me?” The crowd loves this one, and all throughout the seats, people are standing up, swaying to the beat, and singing along.

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The sun finally went down, and Pepper wrapped up their set. While the stage was set for Rebelution, strangers in the crowd talked to each other as if they were old friends, sharing stories and contraband, the atmosphere was charged with good vibes, which I was not prepared for, because most shows I attend are on the heavier end of the rock spectrum, and the attendees are just not as friendly. Rebelution came on, and the air was filled with the sound of horns, relaxed percussion, and distinctly tuned guitar licks. Their music is a mix of reggae and ska, and while not necessarily my thing, I found songs like “Bright Side of Life”, “Outta Control”, and “Good Vibes” put me in a good mood, and to forget about the troubles of this modern day life for a moment.
If you are into feel-good music, and want to learn more about them, please visit http://pepperlive.tumblr.com/ , and http://rebelutionmusic.com/site/, or find and like them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pepperlive, https://www.facebook.com/rebelution. Make sure to tell them Rara’s Farm sent you (and then Like our page https://www.facebook.com/rarasfarm)

Sublime with Rome finally got their show underway about 9pm, opening with “Date Rape”. I was taken back to my youth as they pumped out hit after hit, “Smoke Two Joints”, 40oz to Freedom”, “April 14th 1992.” “They played “Pawn Shop”, “Badfish”, and when I thought it was all over they played a two-song encore, “What I Got”, and karaoke favorite “Santeria”. The audience knew, and sang along with, every song, and despite the level of alcohol and recreational drugs that were consumed, I never saw any fights, though our neighbor a few seats down was distraught after discovering he’d lost his shoes.

So many good songs, so many good memories. The only remaining member of the original group from southern California is bassist Eric Wilson, but from where I sat, it didn’t even matter. The current lineup is as good as the original, and is currently on tour throughout August, but the remaining dates are all on the west coast, so if you’ve missed them here, you might be too late this year.
This summer’s tour was in support of the group’s newest offering, Sirens, which had a worldwide release date of July 17th, and is available via Itunes or through the merchandise store on their website http://sublimewithrome.com/ or you can visit and like their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sublimewithrome.

Philip Snyder