Are you planning on tappin’ a keg and kicking it in your chill Isla Vista pad this weekend? If you are, then there is a strong chance that you’ll be listening to a Sublime CD while doing so. Over the past few years, Sublime has unofficially and posthumously become the house band for I.V. parties. They’re so overplayed that it seems like copies of 40 Oz. To Freedom are distributed to anyone with an I.V. address.
But just because the sounds of Sublime perfectly compliment your keg tappin’ and bowl packin’ lifestyle does not mean you should support any rip-off bands, like San Diego imitators Slightly Stoopid.
Slightly Stoopid, who played Velvet Jones on Tuesday night, have made a career out of riding Sublime’s coattails. The ska/dub/reggae/punk quartet never hesitate to mention that they were “discovered by the late Bradley Nowell of Sublime, who signed Slightly Stoopid to his record label, Skunk Records,” as they point out on their website and in nearly every interview they’ve done in the seven years since Nowell’s death.
Not surprisingly, Velvet Jones was packed with diehard Stoopid fans jonesing to get their skank on. Santa Barbara is one of the few places in the country that is still a hotbed for ska/dub/reggae/punk fusion bands. Despite dropping off the radar in the mainstream, this stale genre still thrives here, and in places like Santa Cruz, Lake Tahoe and Boulder, Colorado, thanks to the surf, skate and snowboard culture.
While it may have been fun to rocksteady to bands like Sublime in 1996, going to a downtown nightclub to see a Sublime knockoff in 2003 is a dreary and depressing experience. The Slightly Stoopid gig at Velvet Jones was not really a show, but more like a chain of embarrassing events. Here are a few of the most moronic highlights:
– Stoopid singer and guitarist Mike Doughty wore a wifebeater and spoke in an unintelligible fake Rastafarian accent throughout the entire show; any blond white guy should be banned from displaying such ridiculous behavior.
– While waiting for Stoopid to hit the stage, three mop-topped surfers standing in front of me kept trying to set each other’s hair on fire with BIC lighters.
– At the end of their set, show openers Pepper from Hawaii pleaded with the women in the audience to, “Show us your tits! Pleeease, we’ve played really good, so show us your tits!” When no women lifted their shirts (only two guys obliged the band’s request), Pepper exited the stage and Sublime’s “Date Rape” began blaring from the house speakers. The irony of the situation was most likely lost on Slightly Stoopid’s extremely stupid opening band.
As long as Santa Barbara and Isla Vista are populated with skateboarders and surfers, Sublime pretenders like Slightly Stoopid and Pepper will have an audience to play to. While Sublime’s sonic legacy as ska/dub/reggae/punk pioneers will blast from stereos at I.V. parties this weekend and many to follow, countless cheap imitations will continue heading the wrong way.