Hands down, Sublime is one of my favourite bands ever to have existed. ‘I don’t practice Santeria, I ain’t no crystal ball’ is a line from one of their songs. Santeria … that will be forever etched into the minds of a lot of Generation Y-types. With their reggae, rock and ska influences, Sublime’s music was the soundtrack of a generation. In 1996, lead singer Brad Nowell met his untimely end and Sublime was no more – gone before they had even had peaked.
Enter the Sublime Tribute Show: a collective of SA’s top bands paying four hours of sweet homage to the legendary Sublime. In January 2012, the first SA Sublime Tribute show was held at Mercury Live and more of a success than anyone could ever have imagined. It featured a rolling cast of some of South Africa’s finest musicians hailing from the alternative scene. That night, 25 rotating sets of artists performed more than 3 hours of classic Sublime tracks. Due to the show’s overwhelming success – and by popular demand – 2013 featured 35 different musicians and saw two consecutive nights selling out and the crew invited to perform later that year at Splashy Fen Music Festival. In 2014, the SA Sublime Tribute Show saw even further growth and the performance sold out within three days of launching online tickets.
This year there will be two events paying tribute to Sublime. The first night will be 13 February 2015 at Mercury Live and will no doubt be the usual energetic, party-on-steriods vibe it has always been. The second will be something brand new – an all ages afternoon show on 21 February 2015 (the eve of Sublime frontman Brad Nowell’s birthday RIP) at the Cape Farmhouse in Scarborough. In addition to regular Sublime die-hards, this mini-festival event is designed to cater for the older fans who would like to introduce the family to the Sublime experience. Confirmed artists for the shows include 7th Son, Cpt Stu, Half Price, Peachy Keen, Grassy Spark and many more. Joining this year for the Mercury show will be none other than Francois Van Coke from Fokofpolisiekar!
Formed in 1988 as a garage punk band, Sublime rose to fame in the mid- 90s on the back of the California punk explosion engendered by Green Day and The Offspring, through Sublime boosted their punk influences with heavy elements of reggae and ska to create a truly unique cross-genre sound which appealed to a much wider market.
Sublime found mainstream success with a self-titled release in 1996. It proved to be Sublime’s last proper album, as lead singer Brad Nowell died in May 1996, just two months before the record’s release. In 1997, their more popular songs such as ‘Santeria’, ‘What I Got’, ‘Wrong Way’, ‘Doin’ Time’, and ‘April 29, 1992 (Miami)’ were released to US radio. Since Nowell’s death, Sublime have achieved iconic status and are still regarded by many as one of the best contemporary acts of all time due to the band’s ability to fuse together an incendiary mix of song-writing combining elements of reggae, punk, rock and ska.