Sublime with Rome | 05.01 | NYC

By: Jesse Borrell

Sublime with Rome :: 05.01.10 :: Roseland Ballroom :: New York, NY

Sublime with Rome :: 05.01 :: NY
Back in the late '90s, the Sublime live show archives were open to the public, available for free download at the Skunk Records website. This was a time when file sharing was just on the rise, and restrictions to certain copyrights had yet to be reined in.

The availability of the Sublime live catalogue, featuring the band's final shows leading up to singer Brad Nowell's death in 1996, may have been an afterthought given the multi- platinum success of the self-titled Sublime album. Fast forward to 2010 and these public archives are now closed. Two-thirds of the original band is back, performing many songs live for the first time with a new lead singer named Rome Ramirez and touring as Sublime with Rome.

Approaching New York's Roseland Ballroom on a clear Saturday evening, an eclectic mid-thirties crowd awaited entry. Sublime drummer Bud Gaugh's side-project Del Mar performed first, but the set ended just as many gained entry. Second on the bill, California's Dirty Heads combined surf rock/reggae and multi-vocal harmonies, bringing to mind 311, throughout tracks like "Lay Me Down" and "Stand Tall." The set peaked during a punk-inspired cover of The Rolling Stone's "Paint It Black," when lead singer Jared Watson jumped in the photo pit and embraced the crowd with arms held high.

Sublime took the stage as a quartet and 21-year-old Rome Ramirez basked in the lights before the sold-out crowd. During "5446" > "The Youth Are Getting Restless," Rome took a commanding lead, even imitating several of Nowell's freestyle techniques during the segue.

The evening's program featured a number of Sublime's greatest songs, and the crowd seemed to be having a blast singing along to even the most obscure track. During "We're Only Gonna Die From Our Own Arrogance," tight interplay between Gaugh and bassist Eric Wilson channeled that mid '90s flow. Both founding members still can hold down a fierce rhythm, all while maintaining their mellow demeanors. During the show's most ruckus peaks ("Right Back" > "New Thrash"), the resulting sound through Roseland's PA became muddled, leaving the quartet clashing and thrashing incoherently.

Overall, most versions were kept to a tight time frame, and most exploratory dubs were kept at a minimum. Brief solos by saxophonist Todd Foreman - known for his work with the original Sublime and the tribute outfit Badfish - opened the creative space slightly. Almost in unison during "Doin' Time," the creative re-make of the Gershwin classic, many in the crowd whipped out their camera phones to document the event, bringing to mind how times have changed since Sublime's last go around.

While Rome's voice and guitar work faltered on certain tracks, we must remind ourselves that Brad Nowell's own onstage performances were known to stumble from time to time. What matters more is how Rome expressed true passion under the bright lights, obviously having the time of his life paying homage to those before him.

Sublime with Rome :: 05.01 :: NY
Sublime with Rome Setlist
Date Rape, Get Ready, April 26th 1992, 5446 > The Youth Are Getting Restless, Smoke Two Joints, We Are Only Going To Die From Our Own Arrogance, Jailhouse, Wrong Way, All I Need, Don't Push > Garden Grove > Right Back > New Thrash, 40 Oz. To Freedom, Greatest Hits, Doin' Time, Under My Voodoo, Badfish > Let's Go Get Stoned

E: Johnny Butt, What I Got, Santeria

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[Published on: 5/28/10]

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