Stephen Marley in Santa Barbara

Stephen Marley, Slightly Stoopid & Snoop Dog

Blazed and Confused at the Santa Barbara County Bowl
Words and photos by Jan Salzman

July 12 was a very hot, triple digit day in the San Fernando Valley and a trip up the coast to The Santa Barbara Bowl was a promising adventure The day’s show included MickeyAvalon, a white rapper with very explicit lyrics, the very conscious Stephen Marley, famed rapper Snoop Dog, and Southern California’s own Slightly Stoopid. This was the “Blazed and Confused Tour” and whether they were “blazed” or not, there was some fabulous music being played.

Stephen Marley bounded onstage, with his young son as the flag bearer flashing the colors of Rastafari, to his father’s song “Punky Reggae Party.” His next two songs from his Grammy-winning album were “Chase Dem” and the title track “Mind Control.” His high pitched, rough voice thrilled the crowd with every note. Steve often pointed the microphone to the packed audience to let them fill in the lyrics to his songs. Sometimes he played guitar, sometimes he took it off to grab the mic and reach closer to his audience. He was joined onstage by Spragga Benz for the chat in “Iron Bars” and Julian Marley also passed through for several songs, including the closing, with the Bob Marley classic, “Could You Be Loved.”
Snoop was fantastic and just played hit after hit, reaching a crescendo when he just dropped into “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” Apologies for missing my opportunity to photograph Snoop. We were only allowed the first three songs and I was waiting for Steve outside his bus. Steve informed me he is due for another surgery on his leg. Jah guidance on that bredren.

Next up was Slightly Stoopid. They have amassed a huge following of dedicated fans. From Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA, they brought a punk-reggae sound to the bowl. They sure can play a wicked one-drop riddim, which they proved on “London Dub,” from their latest CD Slightly Not Stoned Enough to Eat Breakfast. Kyle McDonald and Miles Doughty front the band on bass and guitar respectively. A moshe pit formed near the front of the stage. Glad to be protected by a barricade, I continued shooting my photos for the allotted time. We were hustled out after the first three songs and had to leave, so I didn’t see all the set, although I’m sure they performed fan favorites “I Would Do For You,” their very popular cover of the UB40 tune and “2 a.m.” from Chronchitis.

Miles from Slightly Stoopid

I caught the bus down the hill where they had these strong young men with bicycles and a little carriage that will take you to your car for a tip. I was very much obliged to take them up on their services. I blasted Stephen Marley music on the very traffic-filled way home.  Thanks to Moss and Anna from Nederlander for hooking us up for this fabulous concert!

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