Slightly Stoopid in Key West

There are two types of fans in this world: fans of Slightly Stoopid and everyone else. The amount of constant, consistent love and respect Stoopid fans show in particular is absolutely remarkable. ‘Stoopidheads’, as they are otherwise known, follow Stoopid as they tour around the country, much like Grateful Dead fans. My father followed The Dead, so it must be genetic.

There was nothing we could really do to ward off the heat on June 9th, the day Stoopid hit the Florida keys. So, we embraced it with our frizzy hair and constant sweat mustaches. Still, the beauty of Key West lies in the spots you don’t even know exist. A great comparison to the heat we experienced in Key West that day was much like living inside a camel’s hump. Not a damn thing could keep this dedicated music family from catching these artists. The How I Spent My Summer tour may have brought the heat and smoldering humidity, yet neither of which deterred the bands from entertaining the masses. If anything, it showcased how hard each performer hit the stage, unfazed and elated to be there. 

Not a damn thing could keep this dedicated music family from catching these artists.

First up was HIRIE. Patricia Jetton fronts this seven-piece, San Diego-based tribe of musicians and straight up solid humans. Talk about a rhythmic display… Between the percussion section, brass, guitar and Jetton’s angelic voice, musical magic was made that day. The writing and vocals showcase love, heartache, strength, weakness, self-confidence and, sometimes, a lack of it. I would say growth is at the forefront of HIRIE’s new album; you get a sense that imperfections have been embraced and tainted wings still have the ability to fly. It is very hard not to relate to what you hear when HIRIE is playing. It’s only natural to feel a strong connection to Trish and her band of brothers.

Tribal Seeds, as I have mentioned before, has never disappointed me with their live performances. They always come at their audience with a mighty and unified funk that slowly, but surely melts my face off. Endless hits in their arsenal, it’s difficult and maybe impossible to choose or narrow down just one part of that set. They played everything a true TS fan could ask for and did it looking pretty effortless. 

This is the point in our time together that I must mention the strong and tasty aroma of herb floating my way. It looked like someone turned a fog machine on and faced it directly at the stage. With Matisyahu up next and the sun still beating down, I took this time to find cover, water and friends, both old and new. A memory came to me then. The memory is simply hearing this voice and wanting more. When Matisyahu’s first album King Without A Crown had been released, it was 2006 and this album rarely left my car CD player. As the crowd and myself made our way forward towards the stage, what came to my mind was “Full Circle”. 11 years later, his body of work continues to stop me in my tracks. When I got to the pit, the energy being pumped from the stage to the crowd was electric. Looks like this ‘King’ certainly found his crown. 

Every time I see Slightly Stoopid, I gain more and more respect for them…

As the sun continued to beat down on us, we got situated for Stoopid’s set. I made it a point to get a shot of the sun setting. As I turned around to prepare my camera, men sporting red solo cups entered the stage. My mind was about to be blown and I had no idea. Every time I see Slightly Stoopid, I gain more and more respect for them, between their career’s longevity, the visible love they show fans and, obviously, the pure talent brought to every single show. The one and only Don Carlos came out dancing endlessly. That man is a living legend and being that close to his energy was magnetic. HIRIE also made it back out to perform “Mona June”. This song holds a special place in so many of our hearts. It was one of the many highlights for all in attendance. 
They played for what seemed like a lifetime. Watching the sky go from orange to navy blue, the moon made its first appearance over the sea of wide-eyed concertgoers. Satisfaction isn’t a grand enough word for that moment. Towards the end of the show, Kyle McDonald threw some of the savage fans who lasted up against the rail some Modelos. 

My first trip to The Keys is going to be extremely hard to top. Thank you to all who joined in this unforgettable weekend! Key West 2019 is a wrap, but you can still catch this tour in a city near you. Thank you for everything, my Stoopid family. 

Photography by Jay Cohen

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