Sublime & Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad – 7/10/12 – Artpark – Lewiston, NY

Artpark’s “Tuesday in the Park” featured Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad opening for Sublime with Rome this past Tuesday (7/10/12.) From the opening licks of the Sublime Classic “Smoke Two Joints,” you could tell this jam packed crowd was hyped for this performance. Throughout the night, 24 year old Rome Ramirez led original Sublime bassist Eric Wilson and “A Perfect Circle” drummer Josh Freese through a myriad of some of the biggest hits of the 90’s, with the crowd singing most every word to each song played. Going into the night, in all honesty, personal expectations were low for Sublime with Rome, but Rome proved to have the chops to play the late Bradley Nowell’s guitar riffs, as well as sounding pretty good singing the tunes as well. After starting the show out with the crowd pleasing “Smoke Two Joints,” the band played through other huge Sublime classics like “Wrong Way,” “Badfish,” and “Doin’ Time,”. They also threw in their great cover of the Grateful Dead staple “Scarlet Begonias,” a personal favorite, as well as a nod to another passed 90’s rocker Kurt Cobain, with a stellar cover of Nirvana’s “Drain You.” After finishing the set with “40 oz to Freedom,” the crowd was absolutely pumped, and definitely wanted more, chanting “One More Song!” Rome and the guys obliged, and after a few words in rememberence to lost leader of Sublime, Bradley Nowell, they ended the night out with two of Sublime’s absolute biggest hits, “What I Got,” and “Santeria.” Proving my original theories wrong, Sublime with Rome rocked Artpark hard, and I would definitely pay to see these guys again. Opening for Sublime with Rome that night was Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad. Panda is an amazing group of musicians out of Rochester, NY and the surrounding areas of Upstate New York, that play the absolute freshest and most positive Reggae out today. Featuring an extremely tight rhythm section comprised of James Searl on bass/vocals and Chris O’Brian on drums, Dylan Savage and Dan Keller on guitars/vocals, and Aaron Lipp, who is nothing short of a musical virtuoso, on organ/keyboards/vocals and harmonica throughout the night. Lipp is known to jump off keys and also play slide resonator guitar, pedal steel, as well as electric guitar at times, which begs the question. Is there anything this cat can’t play? During their shortened, opener set, they played songs like “Missing You More” and “Far Away,” both are amazing songs about being separated from family & loved ones, and the pains of being away. We also heard a great segue between “Pockets” and “Healing,” just as it is on their newest album “In These Times.” Panda fan favorites “.45” and “Seasons Change” were also played right towards the end of their set, with both having some killer extended jams that really had the crowd dancing. They ended their set with Family’s Sake, yet another great tune sung by guitarist Dan Keller, keeping with the “Family” theme heard in many of their songs. Keller’s family was in attendence at Artpark for this show, as he is local to the area, hailing from North Tonawanda, NY. According to Dan, it was the first time they got to see him perform live, and what a show they got to see! This band is seriously overflowing with messages of love and positivity, and its an awesome presence in our music scene. If you at all dig reggae music, you MUST see Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, nothing can hold these guys back!

By Cody

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