Friday, June 27, 2014

CONCERT REVIEW: Badfish / 6.26.14 (Guest Post)

w/ Shrub
Capt. Hiram’s / Sebastian, FL / 6.26.14

Michelle Wilson recently 
was doin' time at another
Florida concert spectacular. 
And she's returned with
a sublime "Guest" review.

It was one of those sublimely cool Thursday nights on the Indian River, as I found myself ensconced among throngs of potential body-surfing fans, all eagerly anticipating the Sublime Tribute Band, Badfish. With the river breeze holding its own and the T-storms remaining at bay, the abundant crowd at Capt. Hiram’s was about to get rocked double-fold.

Taking the stage promptly at 7:30pm, the Columbus, Ohio-based independent band Shrub opened the show with an energetic, one-hour reggae / rap / rock set featuring material from their first record, Señorita as well as their latest effort, the creatively titled Highceratops. They are in the midst of a 13-show tour with Badfish. Cleverly adorning the stage with potted “shrubs” and fronted by reggae / rapper Jay Shrub, the group garners comparisons to such bands as The Dirty Heads and G. Love & Special Sauce. Comprised of two guitarists including Josh Altfater and one-time member of George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic, Kevin Oliver, who joined the band in 2013, as well as bassist Benny Coles, keyboardist Alex Willard and drummer J. Baskette, the colorful, high-energy lineup offered a rousing round of rap-reggae based tunes with graceful harmonies and stellar guitar work thrown into the mix. Opening with “Go Run” and the harmony-laden, reggae-infused “Fast Lane” off their newest release, the multi-talented artists also performed “Cherries” from the same collection and a great cover of “All Along the Watchtower” featuring Kevin Oliver on lead guitar and vocals. One of the real highlights (and I’m still laughing) was “Dick (In the Mashed Potatoes),” seemingly inspired by the Beastie Boys’ “B-Boys Makin’ With the Freak Freak,” and also reminiscent of Florida-based Dead Serios-type humor. A thoroughly enjoyable 60-minute set was over in the blink of an eye, and a more fitting opening act couldn’t have graced the stage to precede the boys of Badfish. 

Kevin Oliver of Shrub.
Exploding onto the Hiram’s “Grand Sand Bandstand” at 9pm, Badfish guitarist / vocalist Pat Downes, bassist Joel Hanks, drummer Scott Begin and keyboardist / saxophonist Gerard Ramm delighted the apparent diehard Sublime fans with a smorgasbord of career-spanning songs including “The Wrong Way,” “Caress Me Down,” “Doin’ Time,” “Santeria” and “What I Got.” At times, the mix tended to overpower the vocals for their nearly two-hour set, but this was a minor distraction for the body-surfing fans who reveled in hearing all of their favorite Sublime tunes executed so deftly. A flurry of female fans found their way on stage and danced with band, and the night came to a quick conclusion as the lightning and thunder moved quicker and closer. 

Michelle Wilson w/ Scott Begin of Badfish.
Michelle Wilson w/ members of Shrub.
There was nothing about this show that I didn’t love. Cooperative weather, a great crowd and talented and vivacious bands all combined to offer a stellar night of live music at its best.

-Michelle Wilson
(June 2014)

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