Sublime With Rome

support Dirty Heads + Babylove & The Van Dangos
author PP date 08/11/13 venue Amager Bio, Copenhagen, DEN

300 DKK at doors? That's a fairly steep ticket price even for Sublime, but then again, based on our interview with Rome Ramirez a little while ago, Sublime With Rome is a business with millions of dollars going back and forth between the members and the Bradley Nowell estate alone, so something's gotta finance that, I suppose. Then there's also the novelty factor of Sublime never having appeared in Denmark in the past, and after all, they are a legendary band playing songs off multi-platinum records, so I guess that's fair enough. Tonight, it merely means that Amager Bio isn't anywhere near sold out, with only about three-quarters of the floor filled even when the upstairs area is closed for tonight, as Danish music fans aren't usually too keen to shove those kinds of amounts at concerts. In any case, along for the ride Sublime had brought two support bands tonight, let's talk about those first.

Babylove & The Van Dangos

Babylove & The Van Dangos

The opening support couldn't have been a better selection for tonight, considering Babylove & The Van Dangos are considered by many to be the premiere ska band in the country. They mix together several styles of ska and reggae of mostly the chill out variety, with few if any punk elements mixed in to allow for a relaxed, worry-free rhythm throughout the show. Hence it's no surprise to hear their vocalist say things like "if someone thought that one was a slow song, then check this next one out" after a song that many contemporary ska bands would consider a ballad to start out with. The horn instrumentation is enjoyable and provides for a danceable sound, which their vocalist fully utilizes with his performance style that slightly resembles the 'walking' appearance of for example Greg Attonito of The Bouncing Souls. He's the only one moving around by dancing on stage, although the trumpet and saxophone players take their time to do some deliberate posing after completing solos for each of their instruments, respectively. Not much else is happening on stage, other than Babylove playing ska with capital s throughout the evening. They suffer from the larger stage that removes some of the intimacy experienced at their shows at Loppen and smaller venues, which exposes their lack of movement slightly more than is necessary tonight. Enjoyable, but not particularly memorable performance tonight.

Dirty Heads

Dirty Heads

Hailing from Huntington Beach, California, which many know as the hometown of The Offspring, A7X, and The Vandals among many other notable names, Dirty Heads differ from the punk oriented sound of the city by delivering a purely reggae based sound. They incorporate elements of hip hop and ska punk into their sound as well, but primarily they deal with bright songs, bongo drums, tambourine, hand plucked bass and that sort of stuff. It's a varied sound, which is why they're a good fit for Sublime, whose experimental sound has probably been an influence to this band as well. For "Lay Me Down" they bring Rome Ramirez on stage to sing a song, but other than that, their set is also rather plagued by a static delivery with only small amounts of dancing taking place by any of the members in the band. Their material seems stronger than that of Babylove earlier, so they do induce some dancing from the crowd's side every now and then, especially given the embedded hip hop rhythms and cool samples found in songs like "Disguise".

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Sublime With Rome

Sublime With Rome

As the intro song Sublime like to set the crowd into a ska mood straight away, so they opt for a ska version of Bon Jovi's "Livin' On A Prayer" with light early 2000s hip-hop scratching complementing. This is also done to highlight the DJ who plays the samples throughout their set, I believe, because he is not otherwise noticeable throughout their set. Kicking off with "Date Rape", the band immediately puts the crowd on a nostalgic trip down the memory lane as the set is focused on old Sublime classics as opposed to new songs from the Sublime With Rome era. "April 29th, 1992 (Miami)" and "Pawn Shop", for instance, induce solid sing alongs from the crowd's side, whereas "Wrong Way" sees the whole crowd dancing frantically in the pit in their best skanking shoes.

If the record had you convinced that Rome Ramirez is a sublime replacement for Bradley Nowell, then tonight you're likely to agree with me that his delivery is nothing short of fantastic. He seems to live and love the songs in exactly the same way as I imagine Bradley to have done during the 90s, with a very faithful delivery straight down to the rolled r's and reggae bits in each song. Yes, he adds in showmanship during opportune moments mid-song to shout things like "Copenhagen... make some nooooooooooiiiiise", but that's just part of his charisma, which makes him stand out so well in the band. Eric Wilson, the only original member left in the band, is content to just chilling out looking über cool while plucking his bass, and leaving all of the interaction for Rome tonight. There isn't very much interaction, though, as the band just play their awesome songs one after another in a 90 minute set. "Safe And Sound" does see the guy from Dirty Heads join on stage for guest vocals, and the included covers of "We're Only Gonna Die" (Bad Religion) and "Soulcraft" (Bad Brains) both sound awesome in a Sublimified version.

Sublime With Rome

The encore sees the band play "Panic" from their latest album, as well as two of the biggest Sublime hits in "What I Got" and "Santeria", so in the end everyone got what they came for: a chance to see Sublime in a way that recalled our old memories without ruining any or leaving you wanting for more, or less for that matter.

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Setlist:

  • 1. Date Rape
  • 2. Smoke Two Joints
  • 3. We're Only Gonna Die (Bad Religion cover)
  • 4. Ebin
  • 5. April 29th, 1992 (Miami)
  • 6. Pawn Shop
  • 7. Doin' Time
  • 8. Scarlet Begonias (Grateful Dead cover)
  • 9. Burritos
  • 10. Wrong Way
  • 11. Slow Ride
  • 12. Safe And Sound
  • 13. STP
  • 14. Soulcraft (Bad Brains cover)
  • 15. Badfish
  • 16. Let's Go Get Stoned
  • --Encore--
  • 17. Panic
  • 18. What I Got
  • 19. Santeria

Photos by: Kenny Swan

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