Concert Review: Dirty Heads and Sublime with Rome at Abacoa Amphitheater

Southern California reggae rockers Dirty Heads and Sublime with Rome brought the High and Mighty tour to South Florida with a brief stop on Sunday (July 25), performing before a jam-packed crowd at Abacoa Amphitheater in Jupiter.

After nearly a year and a half without live music, the pandemic-weary crowd filled nearly every spot of the moderate-sized amphitheater. Tired of isolation and remote work, fans of Dirty Heads and Sublime with Rome showed up in droves on a steamy humid South Florida evening for a night of feel-good music. where a contact high was freely available for those who wished to indulge. Tickets for the concert sold out weeks in advance; for those lucky enough to score a ticket, it was an opportunity to catch both bands in a more intimate gathering, something fans rarely get to do, as both bands usually play much larger venues. There was energy, plenty of it as fans came to support both bands who have continued to build a solid following with their rhyming reggae-fueled tunes. It was a relaxed vibe similar to a hanging out at a keg party with thousands of your closest friends, keeping everyone on their feet as they sang along word-for-word to all the songs. On this tour, both bands have been alternating the headline spot. This time, Dirty Heads was the closer, but that didn’t mean Sublime With Rome didn’t give fans of the longtime Southern California band what they came for. They sounded superb digging into their catalog of fan-favorite tunes. Sublime with Rome frontman Rome Ramirez sounded great, the band as a whole was tight, and the music superb. However, it was Eric Wilson, the lone remaining member of original band Sublime, who seemed tepid, lacking spirit during his performance; perhaps he’s put in too many years on the road. After an hour and 45 minutes, they closed out their set with two of Sublime’s signature songs, “What I Got” and “Santaria.” Wilson seemed to phone it in.

Dirty Heads provided great entertainment, a laid-back reggae groove complete with rhyming references to ganja and booze.  One of the highlights of the night was when Rome joined Dirty Heads on stage for “Lay Me Down,” a song they recorded in 2008 with Rome Ramirez. This was a party where the night was about letting loose in a tropical singalong atmosphere to the band’s catchy tunes that kept the mellow crowd moving side to side for the entire set of both bands. Dirty Heads wasted no time and played fan favorites  “Oxygen,” “Believe,” and “Sweet Summer” among others from their catalog.

The night wasn’t perfect; there were some technical problems with feedback that required Dustin “Duddy B” Bushnell’s mic to be lowered to the point where the crowd could hardly hear him. The crowd wasn’t happy; they reacted and let the band know. The lighting could have been better; most of the night the bands were in near darkness under blue and red lights that created a silhouette effect that limited what the audience could see and experience. Despite the bevy of technical snafus, the music is what saved the night. It was what we all needed after the pandemic kept music lovers from attending concerts. Dirty Heads remains a fun band to see, hear, and experience live.

Jared “Dirty J” Watson of Dirty Heads. Photo: Rick Munroe for MFN.

Opening the night was Hirie, the seven-member band that brought plenty of irie vibes. Hirie is a San Diego-based, Phillipine-born lead vocalist who delivered a memorable high-energy show that got fans moving and grooving to her every move.

Eric Wilson of Sublime with Rome. Photo: Rick Munroe for MFN
Rome Ramirez of Sublime with Rome. Photo: Rick Munroe for MFN
Dustin “Duddy” Bushnell of Dirty Heads. Photo: Rick Munroe for MFN.
Jared “Dirty J” Watson of Dirty Heads. Photo: Rick Munroe for MFN.
Jared “Dirty J” Watson of Dirty Heads. Photo: Rick Munroe for MFN.
Hirie. Photo: Rick Munroe for MFN.


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