Getting Slightly Stoopid at Berkeley’s Greek Theatre
Slightly Stoopid’s Summer Traditions Tour hit Berkeley’s Greek Theater on July 23rd, with special guests Pepper, Common Kings and Fortunate Youth. Doors for the reggae party opened early at 4:30pm, with Fortunate Youth kicking things off at 6pm with “Peace Love and Unity”. It was a beautiful California day; the sun was shining on the amphitheater, but it wasn’t too hot thanks to the breeze from the Pacific Ocean nearby. A new addition to the Fortunate Youth set from last summer when I saw them in Felton was a horn section. Plus, later in the set, the boys even brought out a special guest who played a violin solo! Fortunate Youth is always coming up with cool news ways to keep their music fresh. One thing you can always count on during an FY set is lots of smoking and the set in Berkeley did not disappoint. For the finale song, the band played “Burn One” and brought out We Should Smoke, who always has the biggest joints in which he passes around to all the band members… and sometimes audience.
Next up was Common Kings, bringing island vibes reminiscent of J Boog.
They played fan-favorite songs, “California Day” and “Wade in Your Water”, which have been ear-worms that get randomly getting stuck in my head, even as I type this. Common Kings had great stage energy, with the lead guitarist’s solos and the lead singer who interacted with all the band members throughout the set. Another memorable moment from their set was during their cover of Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode”, which really got the crowd hyped.
Pepper played next and by now, the sun had started to go down with the fog was rolling, making for a really cool, golden glow. I’m sure all the weed smoke in the air helped add to the golden haze, too. Pepper had an explosive set and played a lot of songs from Kona Town, being its 20th Anniversary. The set started off with “B.O.OT.”, “Ho’s” and “Give It Up”. During the song “Ashes”, there was even a small mosh pit. The gas never let off the break for Pepper’s set — they went full 100 the entire time. This was my first time seeing Pepper and I was blown away! Bassist Bret Bollinger and guitarist Kaleo Wassman traded off singing duties through the set and had great stage presence. I found out after doing some quick research that they’ve been best friends since their middle school years. It’s no wonder, since they come across as brothers. Closing out their set, Pepper brought out members of Common Kings and Fortunate Youth for help on a mashup of their song “Warning”, followed by a cover of Sublime’s “Garden Grove”.
Finally, it was time for my first Slightly Stoopid show! I remember discovering Slightly Stoopid and Pepper around 2008, when I was in high school and am embarrassed it’s taken me this long to see them both live. By this time, the sun was completely down, so the stage lights were in full effect. Slightly Stoopid didn’t just have cool lights and smoke machines, they had lasers! Stoopid’s set consisted of songs throughout their many releases, as well as a Grateful Dead cover of “Franklin’s Tower”. Lead singers Kyle McDonald and Miles Doughty trade off not only singing duties, but also trade guitar and bass duties throughout. They do this seamlessly and sometimes even during a song! I don’t know how they do it. Song favorites that they played included “Officer”, “2AM” and “Sweet Honey”. For the song “Sensimilla”, they brought Fortunate Youth’s lead singer Dan Kelly came out to help sing on the chorus. All in all, this was a very fun set and all around great day of reggae music!
Photography by Katey Schoenberger