LIVE REVIEW + PHOTOS: Sublime with Rome, Slightly Stoopid, The Movement, Atmosphere in Mansfield, MA (08.25.23)
As a summer breeze danced through the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, Massachusetts, on a rainy late August evening, fans gathered in anticipation of a musical journey they wouldn’t soon forget. Slightly Stoopid, the Southern California-based band known for their genre-blurring fusion of reggae, rock, and punk, headlined for what now seems like an annual summer tradition for their trek through New England, featuring like-minded bands old and new.
The Movement (a reggae-rock band from South Carolina & Philadelphia) was the first to play, whom I have been a big fan of for the last 12 years. I was first introduced to their music back in 2011 when I embarked on a 311 cruise (they played a “white out” show with everyone in attendance wearing their cabin robes, which was quite the sight). Unfortunately, for tonight’s show, it was a packed lineup and they went on pretty early (5pm), so I was only able to make the last song of their set. They played “Sounds of Summer”, which has a great summer vibes with a really catchy pop hook.
Next up was, hip-hop duo Atmosphere (from Minnesota), consisting of “Slug” (Sen Daley) and “Ant” (DJ Anthony Davis). The duo have built a legacy out of bringing honesty, humility and vulnerability to the forefront of their music. Slug has a sort of introspective style of storytelling and writing compelling narratives, leaving a trail of his own influence while paying homage to the rappers and songwriters that helped shape him. I was not previously familiar with his work, but getting his start in the late 90s – this group has released over a dozen studio albums, Ep’s, and even more collaborations with other groups over the years. With many large projection lyrics and messages looming behind him, he seemed quite the story teller entertaining the incoming crowd (which was about one third full at this point) with tracks like “God Loves Ugly, “The Best Day”, “God’s Bathroom Floor”, and “Trying to Find a Balance”.
Sublime with Rome (originally hailing from Long Beach, CA) then took over the stage, which really set the mood for this night. Now only featuring one original member of the band (Eric Wilson on Bass), they have continued performing and writing new material as a band since introducing singer Rome Ramirez in 2009. So far, they have released about the same amount of studio material as the original lineup, which has been a fun progression to follow along.
In a nostalgic blast from the past, they brought listeners on a time machine back to the sun-soaked days of the ’90s. Their set kicked off with the infectious groove of “April 29, 1992 (Miami),” instantly transporting the audience back to a different era. Rome Ramirez’s vocals were on point, capturing the spirit of Bradley Nowell and making it feel like he had never left the stage. The crowd’s energy was electric, and it only intensified as they flowed into “Doin’ Time,” complete with its laid-back reggae vibes that made everyone sway.
Sublime with Rome didn’t just stick to the hits; they delved into some deep cuts and memorable covers. “Smoke Two Joints” had the audience toking and singing along with carefree abandon. A highlight of the evening was the collaboration with Slightly Stoopid for their new joint-collaboration, “Cool & Collected,” which added an extra layer of reggae-infused bliss to the performance. The surprises kept coming with a soulful rendition of B.B. King’s “What Happened,” showing the band’s diverse musical influences. “Skankin’ to the Beat” (a Fishbone cover) showcased their ska roots, and the crowd couldn’t resist getting on their feet and dancing like it was 1992 all over again. As the night rolled on, the hits continued to roll out. “Badfish” and “Date Rape” had the audience singing at the top of their lungs, and the band threw in a Grateful Dead cover with “Scarlet Begonias” that blended perfectly with their signature sound. Their performance concluded with hits, “What I Got” and “Santeria.” The crowd’s energy reached its peak as everyone joined in, making it a true sing-along celebration of Sublime’s enduring legacy. With a setlist that paid homage to their roots and celebrated their evolution, the band left a lasting impression on the hearts of fans old and new, reminding us all why Sublime’s music will continue to be timeless.
Now time for the main event, Slightly Stoopid. With a setlist that promised a diverse range of musical influences, this concert was destined to be an unforgettable experience. Opening with “Top of the World,” Stoopid immediately set the tone for a night of laid-back grooves and infectious energy. The crowd’s enthusiasm was noticeable as the horn section took off, featuring notable sax legend, Karl Denson (from Greboy Allstars, his Tiny Universe band, and a little band called Rolling Stones 😉 – “Officer” followed, showcasing the band’s ability to seamlessly blend reggae rhythms with rock sensibilities. The infectious melody had everyone grooving along to the beat, while the powerful lyrics resonated with the audience.
The highlight of the night came when Slightly Stoopid delved into covers. “Franklin’s Tower,” a Grateful Dead classic, received an electrifying rendition that paid homage to the band’s roots while infusing their unique style. They masterfully transitioned into “2 AM,” another fan favorite led by the horn section, leaving the audience captivated by the seamless flow between tunes. “Mellow Mood” was a true crowd-pleaser, with the stage filled with an infectious positive vibe. It was a moment of pure musical synergy that left the audience in awe. “Till It Gets Wet” and “Sweet Honey” continued to showcase Slightly Stoopid’s exceptional songwriting and musicianship, keeping the energy levels high. “Up on a Plane” had everyone soaring to new heights, thanks to its exhilarating guitar riffs and dynamic rhythms. “Hold It Down” and “Waiting” were emotional and poignant, striking a chord with fans who connected deeply with the lyrics and overall musical prowess.
As the night progressed, Slightly Stoopid continued to surprise and delight the crowd with unexpected covers like Tom Petty’s “You Don’t Know How It Feels.” The band’s interpretation breathed new life into a beloved classic. “No Cocaine,” featuring rapper Slug, added a hip-hop twist to the reggae-rock fusion, proving that musical experimentation knows no bounds.
The grand finale was nothing short of spectacular. “Closer to the Sun” washed over the crowd like a warm, musical embrace, leaving everyone feeling connected and uplifted.
For the encore, Slightly Stoopid returned to the stage to deliver the final blow with “One More Night.” The night concluded with an explosive tribute to the Beastie Boys as they covered “Intergalactic,” leaving the audience dancing and singing along one last time as the band came out with three of them dressed as the Beasties, blowing smoke out into the audience and doing their best to recreate an era gone far too soon. In the end, Slightly Stoopid’s performance at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA, was a testament to their exceptional musicianship and ability to unite a diverse audience through their eclectic blend of genres. It was a night that celebrated the power of music to bring people together, leaving everyone in attendance with smiles on their faces and a sense of euphoria in their hearts. Their live show is not just a concert; it’s an experience that transports you to a world of musical bliss, and this performance was no exception.
Photos: Sublime with Rome, Slightly Stoopid, The Movement, Atmosphere at Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA on August 25th –