Last night, my wife and I decided to think outside the box and become those weird late twenty-somethings hanging out in a Tabernacle full of teenagers. And no, I don't mean we volunteered as youth ministers at a Mormon house of worship. Something about Collie Buddz's (how do you make that name possessive??!) 2007 single "Blind to You" really impressed me, and I have been a fan ever since.
However, I'll be honest, I'm not sure I'm a big enough fan to pay $36 to see him in the opening slot for Cypress Hill and bong rockers Slightly Stoopid. Not that I hate Cypress Hill. It's just that the newest material I've heard was a cover of "Paradise City" with Slash and Fergie. I guess I'll just say that leaves me feeling a little...disconnected. Hopefully I won't offend anyone, but I had not heard of Slightly Stoopid until I saw their name on the bill for this show. I sort of skipped on figuring out who they were after I read "if Jack Johnson, 311, Sublime, and Bone had some kids..."
Fortunately, I didn't have to pay $36 to see anybody, because I won free tickets from the Criminal Records website!! Apparently no one enters those contests, so winning wasn't that hard. If only that were true of scratch-offs. After a slight delay while will-call tracked down our tickets (causing us to miss the beginning of the show), we were in.
Collie Buddz (born Colin Harper) was halfway into his acoustic guitar-driven ode to marijuana cultivation, Herb Tree. The underage crowd was packed in tight, but they seemed more intent on securing a good spot for the later acts than singing along.
The set was solid, and it was evident that the backing musicians, New Kingston, could do this in their sleep. Collie Buddz, however, revealed a bit about himself that had me wondering. I never doubted that he could toast, and he's never been scared to address any concerns otherwise. However, on tracks like the Major Lazer production "Good Enough", Mr. Harper croons, and his unique tenor shines throughout his studio releases. Last night, however, that tenor didn't really show up.
About halfway through the short set, Collie Buddz left the stage and the guitarist (Stephen Suckarie) grabbed a mic and led the crowd through a rousing (well, as roused as stoners can get) sing-a-long of "No woman, no cry."
Sure, I'm tired of reggae artists using Bob Marley to make their work a little more accessible to college freshmen. But if you have to do it... why can't the evening's featured performer handle the singing? The crowd seemed to be excited when the tribute led into Collie Buddz's biggest hit, "Come Around", but that may have been driven by the addition of the Slightly Stoopid horn section on stage.
Everything ended quite quickly with "Blind to You", however Buddz seemed to expect his backing vocalist and the audience to help him through the verses, even opting out on one of the tracks more powerful lines: "it's true me white like chalk, likkle p****hole gwan go play de race card."
The song, and the set, ended with Slightly Stoopid's Kyle McDonald jumping on stage to lend a quick double-time verse before the final "blind to you" refrain. Based on their reaction, this seemed to be a welcome reward to the young fans willing to show up and catch the opening act. We didn't stick around to see what all the fuss was about.
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