Was I thrilled to go back into the miserable heat after spending all day Saturday outside in it? No. But I knew that Sunday night’s Dirty Heads show at The Cabooze Outdoor Plaza was a show that I just couldn’t miss. It’s not even that I knew all of the bands because honestly I only knew the headliner but it was a reggae show and, if you ask me, a reggae show is one of the most perfect ways to kick off what’s sure to be a hectic and insane week of work, shows, and everything else life tends to throw at me.
With the sun beating down, on the quickly growing crowd, Pacific Dub kicked the show off right at 5. Hailing from Huntington Beach, CA, Pacific Dub had that classic California vibe about them. Although the set was extremely well put together and I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a single missed note, there was a sense of being completely laid back and completely “go with the flow”. Their catchy choruses seemed to juxtapose the almost rock n’ roll feel of the guitars but it created a truly unique sound. That was one of the main things I loved about Sunday night’s show. Although all four bands that performed were reggae bands, they each brought something different to the table which made each one of them memorable. The coastal vibe from Pacific Dub definitely had me forgetting about the beads of sweat rolling down my back and the ominous sky that was started to hover over the skyscrapers of downtown Minneapolis.
Following Pacific Dub was The Movement from South Carolina. The Movement definitely stuck with the laid back, “go with the flow” vibe that Pacific Dub had kicked the show off with but they made it their own with their unique blend of reggae, hip-hop, and even acoustic rock (maybe? Not quite sure how to describe it). With six studio albums out and more singles and other random releases than I can count, The Movement is nothing new and that was made obvious by the now packed parking lot. Many people were still carrying on conversations towards the back of the lot but, as you moved up closer to the stage, everyone had their eyes on the musicians. There was a sense of respect the flowed from the audience to the stage and vice versa that made the atmosphere during The Movement’s quick set truly beautiful.
There was a small shift in the audience between the Movement’s set and the point where Hawaiian born Iration took the stage. I figured that it was because of the looming storm clouds that seemed to be circling the parking lot but as soon as Iration kicked into their set I realized that the tenseness in the audience had nothing to do with the ominous weather– it had to do with the band. Having never heard of Iration prior to last night’s show, I felt a bit out of place as the band kicked into their infectious set of music with the entire audience singing along to every word. Although the band is currently based out of California, the fact that all members grew up in Hawaii was loud and clear. Their music had an island vibe to it that the previous two groups didn’t have and made the heat feel somewhat bearable at times (or it was the storm front moving through.. regardless, I wasn’t complaining about the breeze). Out of all of the acts that had played thus far, Iration stood out to me as far as the crowd participation went. You could just feel the excitement and the energy in the air and, like so many other shows that I’ve been to, it was hard not to get wrapped up in the hysteria even though I had never even heard their name prior to Sunday night.
The skies darkened as the stage was turned over for headlining group Dirty Heads. I started making a plan in my head as to what tent I was going to run under when the skies finally opened up. I’ve been in this spot before. One of the last shows I was at at The Cabooze Outdoor Plaza was Flogging Molly with Frank Turner and I got caught in a terrible storm. Although the night turned into a dream come true (Flogging Molly played an acoustic set inside for the hundred idiots, myself included, that were too stubborn to go home) it also ended in a terrible bout of strep throat. That wasn’t going to happen again. I had one eye on the sky, and the other on the stage as Dirty Heads appeared to a roaring applause and, just like that, the sky opened up and the sun came out. It was truly a magical moment and within the first song from Dirty Heads I had completely forgotten about the threat of rain.
The headlining set went off without a hitch. Having seen Dirty Heads a couple of times before, I knew that their set was going to be amazing, flawless, and fun. Seeing them outside definitely gave their live show a new vibe that you just can’t get from an indoor show. Their music is definitely a bit more pop than the previous bands that had performed. Although a couple of their songs have become top 40 hits, there’s still very much a sense of Dirty Heads being a bit of an underground band. They came off as genuinely excited to be back in the cities and you could feel the love as they thanked the rambunctious crowd for coming out and sticking through the entire show. That love was reciprocated by the audience creating an atmosphere that just can’t be put into words.
With a twenty song set list that ended in a straight up dance party, Dirty Heads proved to me, once again, why they are on top of their game and that they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Sure, it was awesome to hear some old favorites from this group but it was just as exciting to hear them play some new songs. Although their music seems to be always evolving, it’s still distinctively theirs which brings me a sense of comfort. It also means that, even though I wasn’t able to sing along to the new songs, I still felt connected to them like I had heard them before. That’s not to say that everything sounded the same– more just to say that their style is so uniquely theirs that there’s a sense of familiarity no matter what they are performing.
I wasn’t happy walking in the heat from my car to the black top and was already drenched in sweat by the time I claimed a spot near the stage. No matter what I did to try and snap myself out of it, I found myself doing little rain dances in my head while waiting for the opening band to start. It’s not that I didn’t want the show to happen, more that I was just so over being outside. That being said, as soon as the first band started, I was beyond thankful it didn’t rain and ended up having an amazing night. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again– Sunday shows set the tone for the week. This is going to be a hell of a good week!