Review: Two fests in one to end Doheny Days
All afternoon at the second half of this past weekend’s Doheny Days festival it seemed the talent on display had just stumbled in from the shore after some bewildering journey, unsure where they had landed.
“Sorry, just woke up, just woke up,” Alex Ebert warned the crowd as those loveable L.A. ragamuffins Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes ambled on stage in typically out of-it fashion, like someone just evicted Dylan’s ’75 Rolling Thunder Revue from a squatter’s commune.
Then there was David Hinds, leader of veteran English reggae band Steel Pulse, the only import in this otherwise heavily West Coast lineup. He was even more disoriented: “I don’t even know where I am. All I know is we are somewhere between San Diego and Los Angeles.”
He quickly led his group into “I Can’t Stand It,” a hearty bouncer from the soundtrack to Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing – the “it” in question being “the heat,” of which there was plenty Sunday afternoon in Dana Point. The sun occasionally ducked behind spotty cloud covering that only added humidity and a few weird raindrops to an otherwise sweaty atmosphere that didn’t stop baking until nightfall.
Hinds and his band, a recurring O.C. favorite that has played just about every venue this locale has to offer, were spot-on as usual, enlivening the crowd right off the bat with “Roller Skates” and strengthening their own resolve as the 75-minute set cruised along, hitting high points with some of their most outspoken selections: “Worth His Weight in Gold (Rally Round),” “No More Weapons,” “Drug Squad.” They can conjure the same fire as Rage Against the Machine (albeit in far more chill manner) because they’ve been fighting that same good fight for more than three decades.
But the temperature inside the oversize pouch holding Hinds’ mighty dreadlocks in place must have temporarily melted a few circuits in the process. “So much reggae,” he observed, “and it’s a rock ’n’ roll concert, right?”