With the stoniest hippie crowd we've seen this summer, reggae group Soja set solid groundwork for the evening's obvious message of “Unity.” Hailing from Arlington, Virginia, Soja sent out reggae vibes that seem to give everyone in the amphitheater at least a contact high, if you weren't already from the random hazy clouds of smoke. The mood and message was, er um, clear: Peace, love and herb.
San Diego-based ska-punk/reggae rockers Slightly Stoopid lived up to their reputation blasting stoner rock with drippy, psychedelic sound effects. Most of their tracks came from their newest album Top of the World, which was released August 14th, as well as tracks from other albums such as the all-time favorite Everything You Need. Throughout the show, they did not hesitate to pass around several fat blunts to the crowd (am I surprised? Maybe jealous for once I wasn't in the pit). They even busted a six-foot glass bong that safely rested on security guard's shoulders and extended right into the crowd. Much obliged, the crowd clamored with excitement and those locked into row seating seemed a little green with envy while people in the pit puffed away.
311 closed the show with popular hits such as “Down” and “All Mixed Up,” to name a few that drove the massive crowd ape shit. Although 311's live performances never really did much for me, there's something about their infectious vocal harmonies reggae kick-backs that capture my surfer mentality. Lead singer Nick Hexum's animated facial expressions lit up the jumbotrons behind him. The most impressive act was drummer Chad Sexton's insanely long and amazing drum solo that seemed to persist for minutes on end without pause. It forced me to stop fiddling with smartphone apps to appreciate the chops of this master. A few minutes later, Sexton was joined by the rest of the band members, who all followed his lead in unison with timpani. This restored my faith in musical talent for the evening.
Critical bias: Reggae music with positive messages was something I was craving all summer.
Crowd: One word: Ganja. Oh, and any song that remotely talked about love, everyone would turn to someone and swap saliva between tokes and/or sips of brew. The sight of this THC-induced PDA was pretty much inescapable, whether you were in your concert seats, outside the bathrooms, the pit and even in the ticket lines. Wasted or not, this crowd loved to taste tonsil.
Overheard: “Hey puff-puff-pass, man! Soo, can I hit that?”
Random Notebook Dump:
A drunk guy climbs over the seats and while attempting to climb over my head, spills his beer all over me. He begged me to slap him.
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