Date: June 27, 2019
Opening Acts: Hirie, Tribal Seeds, Matisyahu
All Photos Courtesy of Melissa Haslam
It was time for some reggae on the river as Slightly Stoopid hit the shores of the Monongahela River for a night of reggae courtesy of Hirie, Tribal Seeds, Matisyahu and the Stoopid boys themselves.
With an evening of unpredictable weather in the forecast, I drove through a few strong thunderstorms along my way to Pittsburgh only to have things clear up drastically for the opening of the show. While I had never attended a show at Highmark Stadium, I’ve been to quite a few in nearly the same spot at the old I.C. Light Amphitheater. I can say for sure that I don’t remember stadium parking being nearly as expensive as it was. I could have parked in a parking garage downtown and took a bus for cheaper.
As the weather cleared up, it wasn’t long after that Hirie took to the stage. Hirie is an 8-piece reggae band that dabbles in pop and rock music while still manages to maintain a roots-y sound. With the humidity hitting hard, it didn’t stop the band and especially the frontwoman with which the band takes its name from, from dancing, laughing and engaging the audience. And credit to Hirie and a couple of other band members who were performing through illnesses. They got a great reaction from the crowd and were a great band to start the night off with.
Following up Hirie were Tribal Seeds, a roots reggae rock band from San Diego, CA who have been lighting up the reggae scene for quite a few years now. They absolutely have a classic 70s reggae sound but also dabble in dancehall and have some ska-influences. A few members of the Hirie horn section paired up with Tribal Seeds for a handful of songs and they sounded great with full horns. Tribal Seeds were definitely one of the crowd favorites and, although they’re opening up for Slightly Stoopid, have sold out tours of their own all of the globe. Their songs were tight and a perfect fit for the hot summer night.
Setting the stage for Slightly Stoopid was the one and only Matisyahu. I was looking forward to seeing him perform for the first time live in person and was definitely not disappointed one iota. Matisyahu captivated the audience with a mix of reggae, dub, pop and rocksteady music backed by his unique vocal styling and energy. He was genuinely having a good time and feeding off the audience who was having an equally good time as small smoke stacks were popping up all over the crowd. Dance pits were forming in every corner of the venue as Matisyahu got the people moving and grooving. His set was one of the highlights of the night for me.
Between the end of Matisyahu’s set and Slightly Stoopid’s sound check, lightning starting popping in the distance and some storm clouds moved in to darken the evening sun. The PA announcer informed the audience that there would be a slight delay of the show until the lightning rolled through. Shortly after that a light rain began to come down. Everyone took shelter under the covered gateways or bleachers until the storm had passed.
After about twenty five minutes the lightning moved on while the rain lingered. Slightly Stoopid were ready to go and began to play as the crowd started to worm out from cover and make their way to the stage. Starting off the show with “Dabbington”, Slightly Stoopid ignored the inclement weather and got things back to normal in no time.
Mixing their unique blend of reggae, funk, punk, alternative, ska and hip hop, Slightly Stoopid brought all of the like to the table for the night. They tore through an amalgamated setlist with songs like “Underneath the Pressure”, “2 AM”, “Running With A Gun”, “Prophet”, “Fat Spliffs” and “Punisher” to recall a few. They also performed an amazing cover of Tom Petty’s “You Don’t Know How It Feels” that had seemingly everyone in attendance singing along.
Much to the audience’s surprise and nearly 19 years to the day at nearly the exact same spot as seeing Jurassic 5 live for the first time, founding member of Jurassic 5 Chali 2na hit the stage for a few songs with Slightly Stoopid including their collaboration “Just Thinking” from “Top of the World”. The audience went nuts for those songs and it was quite a memorable experience.
With the rain finally done for the night, unfortunately so was Slightly Stoopid. With an encore that included “Collie Man” among others, they put to rest another great Pittsburgh show as they pushed through the crazy Pennsylvania weather to give everyone in attendance their money’s worth. It’s been fun to see the band move on from opening small club shows to now filling a soccer field with adoring fans. I don’t think there is a more appreciative band in the business and they’ve earned it every step of the way.