Jacksonville’s New Alternative, X106.5, hosted a BBQ this past week, only this BBQ included some of the hottest music acts on tour this summer. The Front Bottoms, AJR, and Judah and the Lion joined Awolnation and Dirty Heads for a full evening of music at the St. Augustine Amphitheater, despite the looming threat of heavy rain from Tropical Storm Alberto (ah, such is life in Florida!).
Awolnation has been touring heavily to promote Here Come the Runts, their third studio album, which was released in February. Their tour kicked off just days after its release and took the band from Toronto throughout the States with Nothing but Thieves and then across the Atlantic to the European leg. Since their return they have been traveling back through the States once again, this time stopping at festivals rather than intimate club settings. The set kicked off with their new title track and the atmosphere turned electric with the crowd bouncing off of the band’s energy.
The band was decked out in their best BBQ gear, with singer Aaron Bruno sporting a pineapple button up, and guitar Zack Irons rocking some summer denim shorts while jumping wildly around on stage. Awolnation has never relied on fancy stage set ups for their tours, instead focusing on the raw talent of the musicians. This performance was no exception, and they kept the crowd captivated. “Miracle Man” and “Passion” were just some of the newer songs performed that had the entire amphitheater singing along, while also appeasing the palate of older fans with “Not Your Fault” and “Kill Your Heroes.” A cover of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” had even the people all the way in the back chanting. You could feel the crowd’s anticipation in the air as they awaited the return of Awol to the stage, after all, everyone knew there was no way they weren’t going to close out with their six time platinum hit “Sail.”
Here Come the Runts / Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf) / Seven Sticks of Dynamite / Passion / Kill Your Heroes / Soul Wars / Table for One / Miracle Man / Not Your Fault / The Buffoon / Handyman / Thunderstruck (AC/DC cover) / Run / Burn It Down / Sail
California reggae royalty, Dirty Heads, closed out the BBQ in St. Augustine. The last time we saw these two bands perform together was back in 2016 on Fort Lauderdale Beach, and the two genres melded together just as well this go around. Dirty Heads have been around for nearly two decades, but their first release, Any Port in a Storm, dates back to 2008. By the second song, “Burn Slow,” co-vocalist Dustin Bushnell was already rapping up a storm over thumping percussion while Jared Watson kept crowd going wild. Easing into the set with older tracks allowed the older fans to ramp into the newer songs such as “Mad at It” and “Celebrate” off of Swim Team which was released in late 2017.
Dirty Heads have morphed their live performance into a total party, mixing reggae, good old rock-and-roll, a little bit of pop, a whole lotta jamband, and even some old-school funk into the mix. When you think “reggae show” you might think laid back, relaxing tunes, while the crowd lazily passes joints back and forth pretending to be discreet. Well, the joints are definitely still there, but the general theme of a Dirty Heads show is anything but chill. These guys take the stage, bounding from one side to the other, and make it known they are there to throw down a vivacious set that is going to leave you wanting more. Their encore was directed more to the reggae “purists” closing with “Oxygen” and “That’s All I Need” off of 2016’s Dirty Heads.
Medusa / Burn Slow / Mad At It / My Sweet Summer / Vacation / Dance All Night / Red Lights / Your Love / Cabin By the Sea / Spread Too Thin/Lay Me Down / Sloth's Revenge / Visions / Celebrate / Silence / Franco Eyed / Diamonds and Pearls / Oxygen / That's All I Need