Philadelphia’s Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing, situated along the Delaware River with the Ben Franklin Bridge looming in the background, lives up to its name providing a real festival atmosphere among the urban sprawl of the City of Brotherly Love. San Diego California’s Slightly Stoopid, made their third stop on a 36-city tour in support of their new album, Meanwhile Back at the Lab. Fellow Southern Californian band, The Dirty Heads are with Slightly Stoopid for the whole tour that has The Expendables and Stick Figure splitting the third band slot.
Santa Cruz, Californian band, The Expendables, who also record on Slightly Stoopid’s label, Stoopid Records, opened the July 10 show with a set that mixed the sounds of reggae, ska, and punk with Southern Californian surfer rock. They began the set with the rhythmic reggae tinged “Down, Down, Down” from their fourth album, the self-titled debut release on Stoopid Records. Highlights of the set included three songs from the band’s newest album, Sand in the Sky, “Stereo”, “Up All Night”, and “Starry Night” along with “Sacrifice” and “Bowl For Two” from the Getting Filthy album.
Crew members changed over the stage with the speed and precision of a NASCAR pit team and there was only a short break before intro music erupted and The Dirty Heads began emerging from backstage. Bassist David Foral, drummer Matt Ochoa, keyboardist/percussionist Jon Olazabal and percussion player Shawn Hagood took their places before Jared Watson (Dirty J) entered, and the band launched into “Franco Eyed.” Soon after Dustin Bushnell (Duddy B) the other lead vocalist of the group, made his spirited entrance and joined the fray, trading hip-hop flavored lines with Bushnell. The band’s hip-hop influence continued with “Burn Slow” from the group’s latest release, The Sounds of Change, before the band switched gears to the more reggae influenced “Dance All Night.”
The Dirty Heads influences of reggae, hip-hop and rock really merged on songs “Disguise”, “Garland”, and the popular “Lay Me Down”. The Dirty Heads banner displaying their name in large letters dropped and revealed a giant banner of the mythological character Medusa that triggered a huge uproar from the crowd as the band broke into their song named after the menacing figure. The Dirty Heads finished the set with the summer anthem, “My Sweet Summer,” and what the band called a dance party to see if the audience was ready for headliners Slightly Stoopid, in which the whole band danced around on stage firing souvenirs into the crowd.
Slightly Stoopid began their set with “Dabbington” from the new album that had Miles Doughty and Kyle McDonald trading bass and guitar mid song. Funky beats and smoking hot horns were featured during a robust version of “Pon Da Horizon”. Reggae flavored “Bandelero” sizzled in the delightful evening summer breeze and a large percentage of the audience swayed to the rhythm. Two “don’ts” were paired together towards the middle of the set. “Don’t Stop” and “Don’t Care” that preceded the moody “Anywhere I Go”. “Call Me Crazy”, one of the catchier songs on the band’s new album seemed to go over well with the crowd.
The Expendables guitarist, Raul Bianchi, joined the band for “Baby I Like It” for some excellent shredding. “The Profit”, one of the more straight-ahead rock songs on the Meanwhile Back at the Lab album, was a highlight of the set. On paper, at least one of set lists that were taped to the stage, the band had allotted two songs for an encore, which grew into somewhere in the neighborhood of five songs that began acoustic before culminating into a speed metal frenzy that triggered a ‘90’s style mosh pit stage left about five rows into the crowd.
The triple threat of The Expendables, The Dirty Heads, and Slightly Stoopid made for quite the outdoor summer concert experience – chill sounds all around.