Dirty Heads, Sublime with Rome and HIRIE
The High and Mighty Tour
Coney Island Amphitheater
September 24, 2021
Photos and Review by Jess Williams
In May 2021, the High and Mighty Tour was announced. A stacked double headlining tour with Sublime with Rome and Dirty Heads, accompanied by reggae pop band HIRIE and I could not have been more excited. Four months later, the tour, which had been traveling across the nation all summer, had landed in New York City. It was a Friday night and I had just gotten off work. I hopped on a Coney Island bound Q train and headed to the beach for a night filled with ska, punk, reggae and pop music all in one.
I arrived at the venue, which conveniently sat just across the boardwalk from the Atlantic Ocean and just a handful of blocks down from the heart of Coney Island: Luna Park. Reggae was blasting from the speakers as I heard the screams of children on the rides in Luna Park in the distance. It was a sweet reminder that, despite the cold weather quickly approaching, summer was still alive and well within the Coney Island Amphitheater.
Opening band HIRIE took to the stage and set the energy bar high for the night. They danced across the stage, doing high kicks while playing the saxophone. Their smiles were surely contagious and it was looking to be a star studded evening. Towards the end of their set, HIRIE’s saxophonist switched up his instrument and took to the center of the stage with a long, thin wind instrument. It took me a second to realize that they were legitimately playing the didgeridoo, live on stage! Right in front of my eyes! It might not have been so shocking to other fans in the crowd that night, but I was maybe 12 years old at the Philadelphia Folk Festival the last time I had seen a didgeridoo — and I had certainly never seen it played during a concert before! It was an unforgettable moment on stage. HIRIE concluded their performance with just as much energy as they graced the stage with. Now, the anticipation was on.
Up next, Sublime with Rome performed. Standing in the photo pit, I had a moment of bliss when I realized that I was finally getting to photograph a bucket list band of mine. Fans along the barricade behind me were screaming almost as loud as lead singer Rome Ramirez was, during their opening song “Smoke Two Joints”. The iconic reggae band had the entire crowd on their feet, joints hanging out of their slightly parted lips as they slammed their beers together in a cheers. Sublime with Rome’s setlist featured a wide variety of Sublime songs that got the crowd going, including the highly problematic — yet fan favorite — song “Date Rape”. As well as other favorites including “What I Got”, “Wrong Way” and their final song of the evening, “Santeria”. Fans were singing along so passionately during “Santeria”, that my bones were shaking. I looked up and noticed that Sublime with Rome’s road dog had made an appearance during the final song. As the band rounded out the song, a stage tech continued to toss a tennis ball onto the stage and the pup would fetch it and return it. It was hard to tell if the hoots and hollers I was hearing amongst the crowd were in support of the killer performance that Sublime with Rome had just put on — or from the absolutely cuteness that was occurring on stage in front of us!
Dirty Heads took the headlining slot on Friday night. This being my second time seeing Dirty Heads, I kind of knew what to expect. But I was immediately blown out of the water! The stage production was immaculate. The lights and visuals on stage amped the crowd up and got everyone going especially during the fan favorite “My Sweet Summer”. Dirty Heads played a lengthy hour and a half long setlist that was chock full of hits, including “Bum Bum”, “Lay Me Down” — which Rome Ramirez joined them for — and the final song of the night “Oxygen”.
Seeing some of the most notable reggae/ska bands in the industry perform together on the beach out in Coney Island was one of the best ways to kiss the Summer of 2021 goodbye. Although the tour is wrapping up, I encourage everyone who has a date near them in the coming weeks to grab a ticket! This show is one that you definitely don’t want to miss!