The successful fusion of Sublime with Rome and The Offspring’s punk sounds proved that the two iterations of the genre rock hard live, please the ear and cut across generations.
Both bands opened their co-headline tour at Northern Quest Resort & Casino in Airway Heights on Thursday night, part of the casino’s Pepsi Outdoor Summer Concerts series.
The Offspring kicked off their set with the hit song “You’re Gonna Go Far Kid” from the 2008 album “Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace.” After making music for nearly 20 years, 51-year-old lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Dexter Holland proved he still remembers how to rock, and possessed the stamina needed to carry the high-energy, vocally taxing song live.
At first, the instruments overpowered Holland’s vocals, but the issue was quickly rectified.
Fans received nearly a full performance of The Offspring’s 2005 Greatest Hits record – including hits “The Kids Aren’t Alright,” “Pretty Fly for a White Guy” and “Gone Away” – minus a few tracks.
The band immediately energized the crowd by playing three of its most recognizable songs in a row, including the 1994 hit “Come Out and Play.” Generation Xers and millennials alike pumped their fists, bobbed their heads and shouted along to the song, a clear indicator of the band’s reach and staying power.
Pete Parada, the Offspring’s drummer, stole the show with his magnetic presence and talent. It was impossible to remove your eyes from his drumsticks as they flew across his drum set at what appeared to be lightning speed.
The band also included “Bad Habit,” one of their most angst-laden punk anthems to date, and Holland reached into his higher register for gruff screams while his band members backed him up with occasional yells.
“I think I’m seeing things. It’s like a rock and roll mirage,” Holland shouted to the audience after playing the song.
Sublime with Rome, a collaboration between bassist Eric Wilson (formerly of the band Sublime) and singer and guitarist Rome Ramirez, took the stage next. The band has had a significantly shorter run than The Offspring, releasing two studio albums since 2011. However, the band primarily plays music from the 1990s ska punk band Sublime fronted by Bradley Nowell until his 1996 death.
Though I was born nearly a year after Nowell’s death, I grew up listening to Sublime on road trips or commutes to school with my parents. The band’s amusing and catchy tunes like “What I Got” and “Santeria” made appearances in the soundtracks of many of my sunny Las Vegas summers. Naturally, I ride a wave of nostalgia when I listen to the band’s music, so I was thrilled to hear that Sublime with Rome packs sets with tributes to its predecessor.
Ramirez’s Sublime performances did not fall flat.
His alternative rock-infused performance of Sublime’s song “Date Rape,” which opened the set, kept Sublime’s unmistakable ska and reggae vibes intact. He immediately captured the audience with his quirky charisma.
Sublime with Rome is small but mighty, creating a full sound with three members and a DJ. Its hourlong set also paid homage to the sounds of reggae singers like Bob Marley. When Ramirez sang Sublime with Rome’s song “Murdera,” his Marley-esque enunciation and Jamaican flair made my eyes well up with tears. The crowd grew silent, as if sharing my emotions.
Ramirez’s performance did not feel artificial or forced. It was a welcome tribute to his ska and reggae influences. His band closed with three Sublime songs, including hits “Badfish” and “Doin’ Time,” performing with vocals and style true to the original recordings.
Ramirez would have made Nowell proud of his work.