As a child of the 90s, I jumped at the opportunity to see Sublime with Rome in my hometown, Atlanta. Bradley Noel, the original lead singer for Sublime died of a heroin over dose in 1996. A testament to Bradley's rebellious spirit is the band's Debut Album, 40 Oz to Freedom, which was recorded in secrecy at the recording studio at California State University. The band would sneak in after hours and record until morning. Sublime scored $30,000 worth of studio time for free. Bradley dropped out of Cal State one semester short of earning a finance degree.
Typically I’m a purist, especially when it comes to music, but my friends’ comments about Bradley not being with us any more did nothing to dampen my excitement. I was headed to the Tabernacle to vibe. I must have arrived too early because getting in was a breeze - no security line. I secured my camera in a locker, ordered a double Jack and Coke at the bar, and chain-smoked, giddy with excitement, in the towering shadow of Atlanta’s Sky View ferris wheel.
The evening started with two openers. I was surprised because I thought there would be one opener, Tribal Seeds, who I was equally thrilled about. The first opener, Bleeker, hail from Ontario. Bleeker did an excellent job of warming up the crowd, setting the tone for the evening with their sexy Canadian rock ‘n’ roll flavor. Turns out this was Bleeker’s first night on tour with Sublime too! Singer Taylor Perkins worked the crowd sweetly, moving about the stage with passion and grace. Like a true gentleman, Perkins took the time to check in on how we, the audience, were feeling between power chords. After an energizing performance, Bleeker joined the audience to enjoy the rest of the show.
As the second band, Tribal Seeds, took their place on the stage, I realized that if I grinned any harder, my face was going to crack. After years of grooving to the San Diego band’s sweet reggae tunes at home and around the world, I was finally seeing them live! Finally, I could taste the pure rock star dripping from the pores of every single member of this band. Against a backdrop of satisfying bass lines and mouthwatering drums, E.N. Young rocked both the pianaca and his glorious dreds, which, by the way, would be the envy of any Rasta. The pianaca, also known as a melodica, is a handheld keyboard with an attached hose into which the player blows. It sounds like the moans of a love child sweetly begotten between a harmonica and a keyboard. Among the highlights of this set was an exquisite version of The Vampire, one of my favorite Tribal Seeds tunes, where bassist Victor Navarro delighted the audience by spitting a Spanish rhyme. Afterwards, Victor and I exchanged a sweaty hug. Grins all around. I told some kids to take their tasty sinsemilla outside. The Tabernacle is a classy venue, damnit!
Sublime with Rome opened with a sprightly rendition of “Date Rape.” This was the moment I knew I would be whupped the next day from the dancing that was about to occur. It’s too bad that I and the rest of Atlanta had to work in the morning. I get it, gotta pay the bills, but where were all my fellow funky dancers? Crowd surfers? There were none. Believe me, I tried to instill the notion that “crowd surfing is the most fun you can have” in every petite sister I saw standing with a tall, husky dude in her radius. Apparently, Atlanta was just too high to get down! Regardless, the morale was high and the vibe was, well, sublime. Not bad for a Thursday evening.