On a night when inclement weather threatened to ruin a pleasant early-summer concert, Slightly Stoopid and company rose above the rain to put on a typically entertaining, if not quite remarkable show last Friday.
The Long Beach, California group, long known for its unique fusion of reggae, alternative rock, psychedelic jams and more, seems to be cursed by rain when it plays outdoor venues in South Florida. Chatter in the crowd centered on past visits by the band that were rained out, including a summer 2016 show at West Boca’s Sunset Cove Amphitheater that was derailed by a brutal lightning storm.
The facilities at the Pompano Beach Amphitheater weren’t so much impressive as they were endearing, with an almost temporary looking stage and a large grassy general admission area situated in front of it. Lots of vendors wrapped around the back of the grounds, giving off the same vibe one might experience at a small music festival or even a Grateful Dead show. Indeed, that festival vibe seems to be what Slightly Stoopid was going for: The How I Spent My Summer Vacation Tour features four acts in total, including newcomer Hirie, regular tour-mates Tribal Seeds, and the fading Matisyahu.
Despite the weather, fans showed up in droves, and there might not be a better place to find a “South Florida” crowd than at a Slightly Stoopid show. The group, whose island vibes have made them a perennial favorite in the Sunshine State, seem to play in the area constantly, whether headlining outdoor amphitheaters in Pompano Beach and West Boca, or providing a sunny mid-afternoon set on the main stage at SunFest. These many appearances have built up a strong following in the region for the band, which is now in its 25th year. The people-watching alone was its own form of entertainment: there were surfers, skaters, stoners and more in the mix, and the weather didn’t seem to phase any of them.
The sound was a bit finicky throughout Slightly Stoopid’s headlining set, with bass guitar fading in and out of audibility, and auxiliary percussion that was practically nonexistent in the mix. The brightest spot of the show was perhaps the group’s three-member horn section, which included trumpet player Rashawn Ross, known for his work with Dave Matthews Band. Not only was the horn section impeccably mixed; it added a bit of zest to the sonic palette throughout the entire show. Frontmen Miles Doughty and Kyle McDonald were charismatic as ever, not missing a beat while swapping instruments and providing characteristically unique vocals.
This was my first time attending a show at the Pompano Beach Amphitheater, and despite its seemingly rinky-dink stage and setup, I was struck by the charming nature of the space as it played host to a wonderfully summery show.
The lyrics to main-set closer “Closer to the Sun” may have seemed a bit ironic on a dark and oppressively muggy night in Pompano, but the song and its unmistakable guitar line stood out as the only truly transcendent moment during what was an otherwise serviceable show. Based on the group’s warm reception and common visits to South Florida, it’s safe to assume Slightly Stoopid will be back sooner rather than later. Let’s just hope we’re all treated to nicer weather next time.