Even if you think you haven’t heard of the band the Dirty Heads, you’ve probably heard their stuff. When asking my friends if they knew of them, some said no originally until I asked if they knew the songs “Lay Me Down” or “Stand Tall,” which they did.
The Dirty Heads are straight out of my hometown in Huntington Beach, California, where some of the leading reggae and beach rock music comes from. The band has a tremendous fanbase out there, and to my surprise, at the concert in New York there were almost as many people wearing Dirty Heads shirts as there were people in Sublime with Rome shirts. I’ve always been a fan of their popular music, but it wasn’t until I heard they were on tour opening for Sublime with Rome that I really began to listen to some of their other songs.
The band made a big comeback in 2016 by joining the Tribal Seeds and Sublime with Rome on a vast tour all over the country, and hyping everyone up for the release of a hot new album. After listening to a few songs off of this new album, “Dirty Heads,” I couldn’t help but enjoy the diversified feel-good rock and reggae vibes, mixed with a bit of ’90s hip-hop sound that they brought to the table. I knew this would be a concert that I couldn’t miss, especially with Sublime playing too.
The concert was at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater right outside of Long Island in Wantagh, New York. The ambiance of the venue was perfect for this kind of concert. As the sun was just starting to slowly make its way down to set right on the water, the Dirty Heads went on stage and began with singing “Burn Slow” off of their previous album, getting everyone in the crowd pumped with the energy from their rap-based song. After that, they played one of the biggest hits from that same album, “Sweet Summer.” This one instantly had the crowd moving along to the beat and dancing crazily during the drop in the chorus. A few songs later, they played “Stand Tall,” the classic and extremely catchy reggae rock song that happens to be one of their biggest hits.
By now, the audience was put in a feel-good kind of mood and everyone was just singing along and having a blast. One thing I love about reggae concerts is how the mood is incredibly laid-back and people around you are all savoring every moment of the music.
To end the set on a high note, they played their most well-known song “Lay Me Down,” and had everyone out of their seats indulging in the music and singing along to every word. After that, they astounded the audience by performing the up and coming song from their new album, “That’s All I Need” as their last song. This song has a bit of a funky twist to it, diversifying the style from a lot of their other music, but in a great way. It’s the type of song in which you can’t help but move along to the rhythm and feel the liveliness spring upon you. It was a satisfying way to end their set and left the crowd on a cheerful note.
When it was time for Sublime with Rome to come out, the lights on the stage dimmed and then came back on unexpectedly aiming the spotlight on Rome Ramirez, who began singing the famous Sublime song “Date Rape.”
Everyone couldn’t help but wonder which old Sublime hits they would actually play, so every song was a bewilderment in a way. Next he sang “April 29, 1992 (Miami)” and had the crowd instantly swaying and anticipating rocking out to the famous guitar riff in the chorus. Towards the middle of the set, it was time to play one of Sublime with Rome’s own hits, “Take It or Leave It.” One of my favorites was next: “Doin’ Time,” and it was completely invigorating to hear it live. I felt the same towards the end of the set when they played “Badfish.”
I don’t know if I’ve ever been to a concert where almost everyone in the audience had giant smiles on their faces. The band’s authentic sound and sweet-toned rhythm to support it was hard to beat and allowed the crowd to be easily consumed in the music. They ended their set and encore with “What I Got” and “Santeria,” leaving the crowd overjoyed from rocking out to the intense guitar solos and screaming every word soulfully.
If you are into reggae, rock or just enjoy great music, the Dirty Heads and Sublime with Rome are the kind of bands you should go see live.