Sublime with Rome (USA)

Rome Ramirez, Sublime with Rome (The Palace, 9th April 2012)

Rome Ramirez, Sublime with Rome (The Palace, 9th April 2012)

When you’d love to tour but your lead vocalist died 15 years ago, you’ve got a problem. INXS don’t seem to think so, but that’s probably not consistent with the rest of the world’s view.

In 1996, Sublime lost their lead vocalist and guitarist Bradley Nowell to a heroin overdose, and that was all, she wrote.

Only, it wasn’t. Some 13 years later, guitarist Rome Ramirez was added to the lineup, and Sublime with Rome was born.

Tonight in Melbourne, only one member of Sublime was on stage – bass player Eric Wilson - meaning that what older fans of Sublime got was a few layers removed from what they remembered.

But first, it was the job of Beautiful Girls frontman Mat McHugh to warm up the crowd. And he did so admirably, delivering a mix of his own creations, and covers of some little known artists including Madonna, U2 and The Police. All were given his unique treatment and it was a set that worked well, despite his own apparent initial apprehension.

Taking to the stage, Sublime with Rome were welcomed by their DJ, and kicked off proceedings with Smoke Two Joints. Not hard to guess what filled the room only a short time after this song kicked off. Josh Freese has been drumming with the latest Sublime incarnation and provides a solid backbone for the set. Bass player and founding member Eric Wilson  stares blankly into space for the bulk of the set, however this doesn’t seem to detract from the crowd’s involvement.

Even recent songs – which typically prove problematic for comeback acts – are warmly lapped up by the 1500 strong crowd. Panic, taken from the album Yours Truly is noticeably popular.

It’s a solid set, but to this viewer at least, one that is probably taking more than a few liberties with the Sublime name. That’s far from an original critique, but when you’ve one remaining member of a trio, it’s probably time to start again.

Related: Sublime with Rome @ The Palace on Tone Deaf

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