Sublime Discovery Green April 1, 2011
Aftermath has been listening to Sublime as long as we can remember.
They helped define our childhood, but we never thought we would get the chance to see them live, because vocalist Bradley Nowell died long before we even began attending concerts. At the time of his death, we were only eight and, to our recollection, had never even heard Sublime's music.
Unaware of his untimely death, we grew up and began discovering music, eventually stumbling on a few tracks by the Long Beach natives that made us smile. So much so that we ran to our local CD store (remember those?) and bought the group's entire discography.
Two years ago, when we caught wind that Sublime would once again be performing but with a new lead singer, we were skeptical. Nowell's voice sparked in us a love for music we couldn't find in anywhere else at the time.
The older, cooler kids we knew listened to Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and Pink Floyd, but we weren't ready for that yet, and their greatness was lost on us when we finally heard their albums.
Our peers, meanwhile, were listening to Korn and Limp Bizkit. Maybe we just weren't as angst-filled as some of our classmates, but they didn't quite satiate our appetite for music either.
Sublime was that band for us.
The announcement that Rome Ramirez, who was only 20-years-old at the time, would be taking over as the voice of Sublime seemed like an affront to us and, as far as we were concerned, to all fans of Sublime.
But once we heard his voice (first, via YouTube), we realized that the young man had the pipes, the swagger and the confidence to keep Sublime alive and hopefully share its music with another generation.
Friday night, with the Houston skyline as a backdrop, thousands of Sublime fans of all ages got exactly what they wanted: one hell of a show. From what we saw, Rome may even be talented enough to bring life back to the genre, too. We can only hope.
While Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh, two of the band's original members, kept the rhythm going on bass and drums respectively, Rome hopped around the front of the stage with a huge smile on his face, unable to hide his excitement and appreciation for the band's fans.
He hit the high notes, wailed on his guitar and kept the fans happy for an hour and a half. During the band's encore, "What I Got," he even gave a shout out to Nowell, to which the fans roared in approval.
Every type of person imaginable was there - kids and their parents, older Sublime fans and their significant others who were probably thinking, "What the hell is this?" hipsters, jocks and, of course, plenty of police officers, shaking their heads disapprovingly as kids crowd-surfed and screamed along to lyrics like "Can't fight against the youth, 'cause we're strong."
Before SWR, Los Skarnales put on an energetic show that went underappreciated, in part because of their early set time, which we're sure was difficult for 9-to-5ers to make on time. The Hold Steady were a sleeper hit, and more people caught their performance than Los Skarnales'. And when it was all said and done, more than enough tourists and Houston natives were present to validate the entire event.
Aftermath hopes that this becomes something of a regular thing. Not every weekend, of course, but downtown Houston and Discovery Green in particular are two extremely underrated resources for live music.
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Seeing so many people in downtown in the evening was thrilling, and we hope the entire city gets the chance to do it again soon.
Personal Bias: Lovin' is what we've got. Remember that.
Overheard in the Crowd: "I smoke two joints in the morning. I smoke two joints at night. I smoke two joints in the afternoon. It makes me feel all right. Duhn, duhn!!"
Random Notebook Dump: Downtown at sunset is friggin' beautiful. If you haven't already been, go visit Discovery Green on a lazy afternoon.