Sublime With Rome, 311, Cypress Hill, etc. at The Woodlands, 7/27/2013
Houston radio station 94.5 The Buzz has been hosting large-scale, almost festival-like events at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion for several years now. Mostly focusing on rock and alternative music, these gatherings always attract a huge crowd. Whether it be their biannual Buzzfest or this event, the Bud Light Weenie Roast, they always do a good job at putting together lineups of like-minded bands.
I am usually not attracted to the bands that The Buzz brings to their events - not that they're bad, they're just not my thing. This time around, though, the situation was different with an onslaught of '90s stoner-nostalgia groups. Headliners Sublime with Rome were supported by regular tourmates 311, as well as hip-hop legends Cypress Hill, SoCal punkers Pennywise and Philly funksters G. Love and Special Sauce.
I've seen these groups a combined total of at least 30 times, so familiarity with the subject is not an issue. Being a teen in the '90s who loved the greener things in life also didn't hurt in my knowledge of these bands, either. I can sing lyric for lyric on pretty much every Sublime tune, most Cypress Hill songs and a handful of the rest of the other bands' songs as well. I'm sure I annoyed several people around me when "Hits from the Bong" or "Wrong Way" came on, but cares were something I was far from worrying about at that point in the day.
Yeah, I know that all five of these bands -- who are noticeably aging right along with their music -- were much better in their mid-'90s heyday, and hell, Sublime is only touring with one original member (bassist Eric Wilson), but it's still super-fun to sit out on the hill with a nice buzz on and feel like you're back in high school again. That is, if you weren't one of the many thousands of teeney-boppers in attendance on Saturday night, hearing "Come Original" and "What I Got" for the first time ever.
Sublime With Rome
Sublime with Rome served as the evening's headliners over 311, despite opening for them the last time both bands came through just a year earlier. Their set was pretty much exactly the same as that show as well, but how much can you really change it with only a limited canon of material to work with. Bradley Nowell, Sublime's celebrated singer who passed away in '96, is surely missed, but this group serves as a fitting tribute.
It's unfortunate that founding drummer Bud Gaugh, who originally toured with Sublime with Rome, isn't a part of the band anymore. It kind of takes away from the whole "original members coming back together with a new singer" thing many bands have done both successfully (Journey) and unsuccessfully (every other band I can think of).
They played every hit you can think of, and even touched on a few rarer tracks including covers of Bad Religion's "We're Only Gonna Die For Our Arrogance" and the Grateful Dead's "Scarlet Begonias." Of the four times I've seen them now, this might have been the worst of their performances, though it might just be that their appeal has lost its luster.
It's a cool idea, and a fitting tribute to what could now be considered timeless music, but it seems as if the idea has peaked and it might be time to shelve it.