Photo: Chad Tyson

Written by Cassie Morien for SunFest

Before a massive crowd of adoring fans, Sublime with Rome took SunFest’s Tire Kingdom stage on Thursday. The alternative reggae-rock group wasted no time teasing, and immediately launched into fan favorite “Date Rape,” resulting in a wave of giddy screams from the crowd.

Of course, Sublime’s songs are all fan favorites. I have yet to come across a person who can’t sing almost every word of “Santeria” or croon along to “Bad Fish.” Sublime songs, and Sublime with Rome’s, possess a magical element that makes listeners feel both nostalgic and hopeful. Hearing their music is like slipping into your favorite pair of worn-out sandals or biting into a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (on white bread). It’s familiar and feels good down to your bones.

PHOTOS: Sublime with Rome's SunFest Performance

My heart aches for the surviving members of the original Sublime, who tragically lost their friend and band mate Bradley Nowell in 1996. The path leading to the formation of Sublime with Rome has been debated and critiqued. But as a fan, and admittedly not a die-hard one, I believe Sublime with Rome’s music only inserts joy into the music scene. I love that they still perform these dearly loved songs for new and old fans. It’s important.

Photo: Chad Tyson

Guitarist and lead singer Rome Ramirez is just 25 years old, and has the talent and poise of someone far beyond his years. Do the shoes get much bigger than Nowell’s? I can’t fathom it. I left impressed by his vocal capabilities and his unquestionable passion for the band.

I also enjoyed the opportunity to see Sublime’s only original member, bassist Eric Wilson, and the truly talented drummer Josh Freese (check out his resume if you get a chance).

The hazy, friendly crowd embraced every moment of the evening. Lifting their hands to the trio, while singing along to their beloved catalog of sounds. It was an excellent way to wind down the day, beneath a clear sky of stars.

The group performed almost all of their hits, including “Smoke 2 Joints,” “Pawn Shop,” “Wrong Way” and “Safe and Sound,” before returning with “Panic,” “What I Got” and “Santeria” for the encore.

Read more of Cassie Morien's articles on the SunFest Blog.