Summer reggae shows in Florida, gotta love ’em. 😎 The first of the big three tours this summer featured Dirty Heads with Soja, The Green, and RDGLDGRN. I caught the Riverfront Park show in Cocoa on June 9th, the first stop on the tour!
I’m ready for the first big reggae show of the summer. The second would be just a short two weeks later with the funky reggae jams of Slightlyyyyyy Stoopid on their “Sounds of Summer Tour 2017” with special guests Iration, J Boog, and The Movement, which made stops at Cocoa, Boca Raton, and Saint Augustine (last year’s summer tour was a blast). Then, at the end of July, Rebelution‘s “Good Vibes Summer Tour 2017” comes to those same three Florida cities, with special guests Nahko and Medicine for the People, Collie Buddz, Hirie, and DJ Mackle. There’s still time to check out what summer sounds like in a city near you!
It’s a typical bipolar June Saturday in Florida — hot and sunny then overcast with off and on showers. It rains on my drive from Orlando to Cocoa but the skies begin to clear up by the time I arrive around 6pm.
D.C. hip-hop-infused punk/indie/rock trio RDGLDGRN kicks things off. I’ve never heard of these guys before but they are an awesome way to jumpstart the night. Comprised of Marcus Parham (Red, guitar), Andrei Busuioceanu (Gold, bass) and Pierre Desrosiers (Green, vocals), this refreshing appetizer to the night grabs my attention. Their unique style hints at inspirational energetic influences like Chuck Brown, Vampire Weekend, Outkast, The Neptunes, and Bad Brains. They get the early hardcore crowd ready to rage and the singer even comes down into the crowd for the last two songs. You can preorder their new upcoming album here.
Dial up a second trip to the adult beverage line and a quick *breath* of *fresh* air, and the crowd & I are warmed up nicely. The crowd has doubled in size by the time The Green hits the stage. The park has plenty of room and many fans enjoy the riverfront beauty and hang out in the back of the park. The boat parties are also in full force further back.
The band comes out to get things bumpin’ for a few minutes before lead singer Caleb Keolanui steps onto the stage. Their roots island reggae are the perfect soundtrack to this sunny afternoon, albeit a hot one. The sun is brutal and the crowd tends to gather in any available shade areas that could be had, but by the end of the set these spaces were getting filed in as not even the heat could stop us from enjoyin’ the beat.
The Green released their self-titled debut album in February 2010. The album’s single “Love I” was the band’s breakthrough single on Hawaiian radio. The album set a Billboard Reggae Chart record by remaining on the chart for 69 straight weeks.
Up next is one of my favorite reggae bands and who I am most excited to see on the lineup this evening, SOJA. I’ve probably seen them a baker’s dozen times and always try to get to their shows whenever they’re in Central Florida. They played here in Cocoa last August on the Slightly Stoopid tour and it was great to have them back in Florida this summer. So, the crowd continues to thicken and the party is in full swing by the time they take the stage. With so much established energy in the air to build on already, they sound as cohesive as could be.
Throughout the set are several songs I don’t recognize and I wonder if they are from an upcoming record? Or am I just not familiar with some of their recent stuff (they haven’t released an album since 2014’s Amid the Noise and Haste). I was also enjoying some adult beverages and occasional random conversations with old friends I ran into at the show. That being said, I didn’t film the show or take notes on the setlist, and I’m reflecting in this review more than a month after the show. What I do remember though is getting pretty lively and singing along during “I Don’t Wanna Wait.” Here’s to hoping we get a new SOJA album soon.
Check out this clip of “You Don’t Know Me” from The Sober Goat’s Instagram.
The last time Dirty Heads played here in Cocoa, it stormed all afternoon leading up to the show and they had played a striped-down acoustic-ish set with drums. It was actually pretty cool to get that, to be honest. I was stoked to see them back in Cocoa, headlining too! The reggae hip-hop group from Huntington Beach was accompanied by a dank light show and an elevated platform at the back of the stage providing a steppin’ path for Jared “Dirty J” Watson (co-lead vocals) and Dustin “Duddy B” Bushnell (co-lead vocals, guitar), as well providing good views of drummer Matt Ochoa, percussionist Jon Olazabal, and keyboardist Shawn Hagood. Bassist David Foral held down the right side of the stage.
The Dirty Heads continue to explore their music progressively with just the right amount of that vintage sound to balance out the vibes. They bring the high energy when needed for one or a few songs, and the next they’re their chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool. A Dirty Heads show, to me, is one of the ultimate party concerts around. As previously stated, I was thoroughly enjoying some adult beverages and occasional random conversations with old friends, but the one song that always stops me in my tracks and makes me get down is “Medusa” and it’s got me pretty good.
Last summer they released their fifth studio album (self-titled) which features featuring the feel-good summer jam “That’s All I Need” which is prefect for whenever your feeling like old school mixtape or killing that low ride Sunday. Here’s a video clip of that tune from The Sober Goat’s Instagram.
Thanks for the first epic reggae show of the summer!
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