Last night, SOJA, Slightly Stoopid, and 311 took the stage at the Nikon Theater at Jones Beach in Wantagh, NY for one of the best lineups of any concert this summer. Reggae sensation, SOJA, started things off around 6:30 playing to a crowd of a few hundred people. While the venue was very empty, SOJA being the admirable group they are still put 110% into their set and played an incredible show. Their set featured “Here I Am,” “Sorry,” and “Everything Changes,” and a number of other tracks. Unfortunately their set was only 45 minutes, but what a 45 minute set it was. SOJA features Jacob Hemphill on vocals/guitar, Bobby Lee Jefferson on bass/vocals, Patrick “Ricochet” O’Shea on keys, Ryan “Jah Byrd” Berty on drums, Ken “Papa Iyah” Brownell on percussion, Hellman Escorcia on saxophone, and Rafael Rodriguez on trumpet. After their set, they made their way to the merchandise area where they graciously awaited fans to sign autographs, take pictures, and hang out for the evening. If you haven’t seen them live, you need to. SOJA is an incredible band, with amazing music, powerful lyrics, and an all-around good time.
Following SOJA’s set was fan-favorite Slightly Stoopid. As the co-headliner with 311, they had a longer set than SOJA which was filled with some of their best hits as well as new tracks from their upcoming album Top of the World, due out in just 10 days on 8/14. Highlights from Slightly’s set included “Baby I Like It,” “2 AM,” “Somebody,” and “This Joint.” They also played their classic cover of John Denver’s “Leaving on a Jetplane. They played a few of the new tracks including the title track of the album “Top of the World.” Towards the end of their set, they played one of the best live versions of “Closer to the Sun,” we’ve ever seen with the famous Karl Denson on saxophone who busted out a very energizing sax solo. The set slowly came to an end, however, Slightly Stoopid took a moment to thank SOJA for opening and 311 for having them on tour with them for the 2012 Unity Tour. As a thank you, they played a cover of the classic Charles Wright song, “Express Yourself,” and dedicated it to 311. Slightly Stoopid features Miles on guitar/bass/vocals, Kyle on guitar/bass/vocals, Rymo on drums, O.G. on congas/percussion, Dela on saxophone, C-Money on trumpet and keys, and Paul on keys. The Unity Tour featured Karl Denson of Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe guesting on saxophone for Slightly’s set.
311 came on stage after a lengthy intermission between sets and played pretty solid 2 hour set featuring a mixture of big hits and lesser known tracks. Their set featured such songs as “Beautiful Disaster,” “Come Original,” and “Who’s Got the Herb.” Following “Who’s Got the Herb,” drummer Chad Sexton performed a mind-blowing drum solo which was then followed by the entire band walking out on stage with their own drums and symbols. They began to drum along together and mid-solo, stopped, everything threw their sticks to each other across the stage without anyone dropping one, and continued the solo without missing a beat. That was pretty cool to witness.
After a few more tracks, they played their more famous “Amber” which was followed up with a solo from bassist P-Nut, followed by “All Mixed Up,” and “Down.” They thanked the crowd and left the stage, only to return with “Beyond the Great Sky” and “Creatures” for an encore. 311 features Nick Hexum on vocals/guitar, SA Martinez on vocals, P-Nut on bass, Chad Sexton on drums, and Tim Mahoney on lead guitar. The 2012 Unity Tour will be making a stop at the Comcast Center in Mansfield, MA tonight (8/4) with SOJA opening, and the Comcast Theater in Hartford, CT on Monday (8/6) with 311, Slightly Stoopid, and an opener TBA.