By Jesse Faatz
Photos by Jesse Faatz
STROUDSBURG, Pa. — After gaining an adequate following with their No. 1 Billboard hit “Lay Me Down,” featuring Rome Ramirez of Sublime with Rome, the Dirty Heads’ sophomore album had broken the Top 20 with hits like “Spread Too Thin,” “Dance All Night” and the title track “Cabin by the Sea.” Attributing bands like Bob Marley and Sublime as their core influence, it’s quite easy to imagine yourself with sand beneath your feet laying on the beaches of the California coastline while listening to their albums.
When recording their third studio album, “Home: Phantoms of Summer,” the Dirty Heads took a different approach, mixing an entire album of acoustic songs that seem to be molded for the perfect summer soundtrack. Although not quite as popular as their previous album, it debuted at No. 27 on the Billboard Album chart and features an even more laid back, relaxed feel that we’ve come to know the Dirty Heads for.
The band made a tour stop in Stroudsburg at the Sherman Theater last Thursday and delivered a set of unstoppable good vibes. “Dance All Night” has consistently been their opener for this tour, with Dirty J starting the lyrics to the song off stage and the crowd exploding as he makes his entrance during the first verse. In addition to filling the Sherman Theater’s available standing room, fans were also delightfully surprised when the band had made the announcement that they would be filming for an upcoming live concert DVD throughout the night.
They kept the crowd’s attention, blasting through their catalog with tracks including “Neighborhood,” “Disguise” and “Stand Tall” before breaking out one of their new acoustic tracks, “Garland,” which most fans seemed quite familiar with, leaving one to wonder why the track hasn’t reached radio yet. “Garland” has a catchy hook, reggae strumming and quickly gives you the sense of what West Coast living is all about.
“Your Love,” a track originally recorded with Bob Marley’s son Ky-Mani Marley, slowed things down as the Dirty Heads gave tribute to one of their biggest influences while fans chanted along with the chorus: “Your love gets me so high/ Like when we’re listening to Bob Marley, and you can feel it in the melody/ You know we got the feeling right?”
The crowd interaction didn’t stop most of the night, with Dirty J turning his mic to fans numerous times for singalongs during their two most popular radio tracks, “Lay Me Down” and “Spread Too Thin.” After encoring with “Check Thy Level,” the band proceeded to sit on their monitors at the edge of the stage to smile for a photograph with the animated excitement of all their fans behind them that has quickly become a staple of their live tour, Instagrammed of course.
Opening acts included The Burning of Rome and Stroudsburg local reggae favorites Trouble City All-Stars.