The Santa Barbara Bowl experienced a reggae takeover last Thursday, when Southern California group Dirty Heads delivered an inspired performance with opener Grammy-nominated SOJA. The latter, a Virginia-based reggae group, performed a set of accessible reggae songs tinged with soulful vocals and brass instrumentation, including the powerful “I Believe,” from their 2014 album, Amid the Noise and Haste.
Dirty Heads needed no introduction as they took the stage. They started off by satisfying excited listeners with contagious hits “My Sweet Summer” and “Burn Slow” from Sound of Change (2014), a conglomeration of tracks that demonstrate the group’s blend of alternative rock, reggae, and lyrical substance. The sweetly intended “Your Love” fostered the feel-good atmosphere that comes with reggae, and it was clear the band members were receptive to the audience’s relaxed energy. The highlight of the evening was the vigorously executed “Dance All Night,” from 2012 album Cabin by the Sea, which exhibited the vocal talent of co-lead singers Jared Watson and Dustin Bushnell that sets Dirty Heads apart from other groups who incorporate rap into their music. As the band played, the audience swayed to the music in friendly unison.