Live at Red Hat Amphitheatre
August 4, 2023 Review by M.B. Edwards
Southern California’s own Dirty Heads is spreading all the summer vibes across the US as part of their Island Summer Glow Tour. Not content to keep the party to themselves, they brought three dynamic musicians with them when they made a stop at the Red Hat Amphitheatre in Raleigh, NC.
The ever-grateful Bikini Trill opened the show, and this surf-pop trio featuring front-woman Lauren ‘LJ’ Johnson, guitarist Tony Stern, and bassist Kourosh ‘Roach’ Poursalehi got the party started!
After opening with “Scarlet Begonias,” the early crowd was treated to their popular hit “Chapo Howl.” Before playing “If It’s Cool (With You),” Johnson said the song was about falling in love with your best-friend.
Bikini Trill showed off a newer song called “Too Much TV” before diving into “Sticky Treez.” Johnson quickly said, “Alright, that’s it,” to end their set, and told everyone the band would come down and hang out with the crowd. During the rest of the show, they could be found in the aisles, taking pictures with fans, passing out stickers, and saying thank you.
G. Love & Special Sauce took to the stage next. The Philly natives bring their own unique sound, which is a soulful blues turned hip-hop type vibe that incorporates a large string bass and harmonica.
Garrett ‘G. Love’ Dutton is a beast on the harmonica and showed off his skills during an incredible solo. Fans were also treated to a guitar solo by bassist Jim ‘Jimi Jazz’ Prescott.
Before playing “Thanks and Praise,” G. Love said he was “thankful for you.” This trio band can switch back and forth between styles effortlessly, and gave the crowd a little taste of everything they had to offer.
Tonight was the last night G. Love & Special Sauce was going to be on tour with Dirty Heads, and he took time to acknowledge his band and band staff, and thanked them for a great job the past six weeks of touring.
In between song breaks, G. Love jokingly said, “If you’ve never seen us before, where the fuck have you been? We’ve been around since 1994… Get your shit tighter… But it’s nice to meet you!” They closed their set with “Baby’s Got Sauce.”
Lupe Fiasco was the last opener of the night and had DJ Smokey with him.
The song “NAOMI” was first out of the gate followed by “Go Go Gadget Flow.” After telling everyone to get on their tippy toes and stretch their hands as high up in the air as they could, he dove into “Touch the Sky” by Kanye West (featuring Lupe Fiasco).
Fiasco was definitely a crowd favorite; he’s a boss onstage, his lyrics flow smoothly, and his movements are sharp. He was very energetic and engaging on stage, and while playing “Wild Child,” the crowd was engaged, clapping their hands above their heads. As a final act on stage, he dedicated “Superstar” to all the superstars, just like Raleigh.
During the break to get the stage ready for Dirty Heads, those in the pit were throwing beach balls around. I ran into a wonderful couple who had won tickets to the show and while they were huge fans, it was their first time being able to see Huntington Beach natives live in concert. They were donned with Dirty Head pins and they were making sure those around them had a great time. They shared their light up balls, talked to everyone around them, and were even kind enough to give me a purple octopus. This is what makes concerts so great – sharing a moment with fellow fans and living in the moment.
In speaking with Jared Watson (Dirty J) and Dustin Bushnell (Duddy B) over the years. They have told OC Music News that they love their fans worldwide, it is always like a family reunion no matter where they play.
The crowd was enjoying the festival-like atmosphere, then, all of the sudden, an ominous voice played a monologue before bright white lights started flickering. A platform covered the stage while three flags fell from the sky. The center, larger flag had a skull with crossbones underneath, and they provided the perfect backdrop to the entire band of Dirty Heads who started playing “Heavy Water.”
The light show that took place during the night was incredible; there were times colorful beams were coming out from every direction moving, flashing, and highlighting the eight band members. Red lights were most prominent and the way they illuminated of the band added to the mysteriousness of it all and coincided with their pirate, island theme.
A shirtless, Dirty J was rapping all over the four corners of the stage, plus up on the risers where Matt Ochoa (drums), Jon Olazabal (percussion), Ruben Durazo (trombone), Mark Bush (trumpet), and Shawn Gonzalez (keyboards) were parked. Bassist David Foral mostly stayed to one side of the main stage while guitarist Duddy stayed to the other. Despite being from Orange County, their blend of hip-hop, reggae and that distinctive Jawaiian sound mesmerized the crowd.
When the band launched into “Medusa,” the crowd went absolutely crazy. Beach balls were flying, hands were in the air bouncing, and everyone was dancing. The stage was lit up in deep blue and green lights. Everyone was chanting Medusa during the chorus.
Watson’s lyrics were crisp and on point. The speakers carried his voice through the night air remarkably well. Foral was all over his area, spinning in circles, jumping, and head banging while he played the bass. Eventually, Foral found his way up on the risers by Gonzalez, which gave those in the back a better view of his shenanigans. Ochoa and Olazabal were killing it on their drums tonight.
They had a huge setlist with a nice mix of old and new: “Bum Bum,” “Franco Eyed,” “Silence,” “That’s All I Need,” “John Linen,” “Burn Slow,” “Rescue Me,” “Oxygen,” and “Rage.” There was no Aimee Interrupter for this one, but it still sounded damn good!
The crowd was told to get out their cell phones and lighters and put them in the air before the band would play “Moon Tower,” and the audience happily obliged. Dirty Heads closed the night off with “Sloth’s Revenge” and the tour namesake, “Island Glow.” Their fans cheered and screamed for Dirty Heads throughout the show and I’m willing to bet many throats were sore by the end of the night.
All three openers brought something different to the show and each played into the next with a perfect transition that led up to the grand finale of the night, Dirty Heads. This added to the uniqueness and memorability of the show.
The tour continues through late September when they end at FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine. You can also see them at the Alta Music Festival in Avila Beach, also in California. You can also catch them at Oceans Calling Festival in Ocean City, Maryland. If you are a devout follower, trek across the other pond and see them October 14th at the Waikiki Shell in Oahu.
SHOW PHOTO GALLERY
Photos by Jed Gammon Photography
<Slide To View Photo Gallery>
SID 230806 | TRACI TURNER, EDITOR