At the entrance to the Santa Barbara Bowl on the evening of the Kickin’ Up Dust 2013 Summer Tour, a visibly intoxicated teen stopped an older attendee on his way up the hill. “Slightly Stoopid and Atmosphere!” the teen declared, “Will you be able to handle it?”
“I bet I’ll get Stoopid-er than you, kid,” the older gentleman responded.
Don’t let this Hawaiian-shirted teen’s tragic attempt to preserve some sort of rebellion fool you, though; there’s nothing imposing or radical about the music of Slightly Stoopid or Atmosphere. In fact, you’ve almost certainly listened to both artists without ever realizing it. It might have been while waiting for your food at a local bar, trying on a new swimsuit at a surf shop, or at your older sister’s boyfriend’s “super chill” summer BBQ. Such settings are this music’s natural habitat — in the background of an afternoon filled with tank-tops and Coronas.
On Sunday night, there was plenty of dancing, weed smoking, and selfie taking. Requests for sing-alongs by both artists were ignored by an overwhelming majority of the audience, either because they weren’t paying attention or because they didn’t know the words. Occasionally, “Santa Barbara” was inserted into the lyrics of a song, each time drawing a slew of reflexive “Wooos!” from the crowd.
“I can tell ya’ll smoking that good herb,” Stoopid frontman Miles Doughty proclaimed while his bandmates jammed. “You know Slightly Stoopid wanna get high with y’all!” This felt like the apex of the evening, but then I spotted the man who’d been badgered at the entrance. He was fisting no less than six churros, as if to silently prove to that random teen that he could, indeed, handle it.