A long line of fans adorned in jam band tee shirts and Rastafarian colors waited anxiously on Georgia’s first frigid night of the year. The smell of herb hung in the air above the crowd as it wrapped its way around The Tabernacle Friday night November 9th, 2018. This could only mean one thing: Slightly Stoopid was in town. As soon as the chilled fans packed themselves into the venue, the layers of coats and sweaters were traded for dancing shoes and sweaty tees.
Slightly Stoopid has become iconic in the Reggae/rock community with a righteous percussion section and a jazzy brass section. With this lively and fun style, it has become effortless for this band to please a wide array of music lovers. Their unique mash-up of big band meets reggae/rock gives them a flavor that is truly one of a kind. This became even more apparent as they performed a cover of Tom Petty’s “You Don’t Know How it Feels.”
The eight-piece ensemble paid tribute to the iconic song and artist by prefacing the cover with a brief word from guitarist Miles Doughty who spoke in relation to the struggles that we all face as “Everyday People.” He reminded us that we might not know how the person standing next to us feels or understand what they are enduring in life. As this bold idea began to spread through the crowd, so did a wave of subtle empathy. As the emotion grew stronger, percussionist Oguer “OG” Ocon played the iconic opening bars on the harp from behind his congas. Before long, and in true Slightly Stoopid fashion, the horn section matched themselves to the bars of the harp introducing a playful back and forth between the two, breathing new life into the already vibrant song.
Throughout the evening, a visible connection formed in the crowd. Slightly Stoopid has a unique sound, but for the most part, they held true to the iconic reggae rhythm. The rhythm tied the crowd together via the classic “off-beat head bob” tied into a One Drop drum rhythm. If you’ve been to a reggae show, you know what this mean. It’s a gentle sway of the body as the head nods to the off-beat or “and” of a standard 4/4 rhythm. As you looked out on the sea of people, a heartbeat emerged. Everyone moving in unison, tying us together in a collective movement.
A place of warmth, acceptance and good times emerged. Everyone became one, sharing the music, sharing the vibe and sharing the joint that bassist Kyle McDonald lit and passed to the crowd. This band has years of tours and experience under their belt as is evident in their killer live performance, but they never cease to make every show unique as they pour out love and sweet, sweet tunes for all to enjoy.