Years ago, back when the East Coast was my home and summer was seldom more than a two-and-a-half month season, G. Love used to call my ex-girlfriend and leave these hideously good messages for her on the answering machine-and I hated it. This week, as Zaca ash rained from above, Garrett Dutton’s trademark hip-hop casual voice was once again in my life (though this time with significantly more enjoyable results). No strangers to our womb of musical nirvana, G. Love & Special Sauce headlined and highlighted an evening of music at our beloved Bowl. For five full hours, the Summer Haze Tour rocked the near-capacity crowd, providing a perfect soundtrack for beer drinking, ass shaking, and the occasional mid-grade moshing.
With a simmering summer sun still high in the sky, the music invaded early. And as the seats began slowly filling up, the always popular Ozomatli took the stage. The Ozo has become a seasonal staple at the Bowl-its Latin-infused funk rock a guaranteed good time for anybody with ears. The band capped off its set with a march through the crowd, leaving in its wake a ripple of funky chicken dancers as it descended into the packed courtyard below, drums beating and saxophones flaring every step of the way.
Slightly Stoopid was next, offering an entirely cannabis-friendly set of reggae beats, rap rhythms, and punk breakouts. Ash and smoke of a different origin filled the air as the band whipped the crowd into a frenzied state of party. Trading instruments, waving bags of marijuana above their heads, and delivering a well-dressed and deliciously complimentary horns section, Slightly Stoopid’s set was all about R-rated fun.
Waiting in the wings was G. Love & Special Sauce who, though markedly more hip-hop sounding, provided the perfect endnote to the party-their unique sound equal parts soothing and inciting. Rollicking through their classic hits, dabbling in a couple Snoop Dog and Bob Marley covers, and ending with “This Ain’t Living,” Garrett and company shined in their headlining role. With the always-too-early 10 p.m. curfew ruining any hopes of an encore, the soon-to-be-hung-over crowd made their way out of the Bowl and toward their respective Mondays, the burning days and smoking nights of summer buoying them every step of the way.