REVIEW: Sublime with Rome at Summerfest


“Summertime, where the livin’s easy.” That could sum up Thursday’s show for this now legendary band. But yesterday seemed anything but easy for Sublime with Rome. In spite of the 90-degree weather, the band trudged through their setlist of classic tunes with a few new songs sprinkled in there for good measure. It was clear that the band was ready for the show, but the crowd wasn’t necessarily feeling moving to the groove in the way that they normally would. That didn’t stop them from cranking out an hour and a half set.

The Band

As we all know Sublime has been around for a long time. However, Sublime with Rome is legally a bit different. After some lawsuits after the passing of original band founder, Bradley Nowell, Sublime with Rome retains the rights to perform songs with the remaining original members but also dips into a different territory. Keeping with the same vibe of Sublime, SwR plays that SoCal reggae/punk/ska that we know and love. Although their newer stuff has a different following, it commands some respect in its own right.

We all know it’s not the same as the O.G. Sublime, but it’s still really great summertime vibe music that you can sing along at a summer BBQ. I know there are some naysayers, but trust me, they do nothing but pay respect to their roots and it shows. 

The Experience

Sublime is exactly what you’d expect. Hit after hit, with the crowd loving every minute of it. The only problem, the heat. I think the heat killed a good portion of the energy that I’ve come to expect with a Sublime with Rome show. The crowd was there. Much to my surprise, the crowd was packed more than I expected for a July 4th show. That compiled with the heat and humidity, made it difficult for some to move around as much as they’d have liked, myself included. Don’t get me wrong, everyone was still belting out their favorite songs. Whether it was Garden Grove or Doin’ Time, the fans loved every minute of it. 

Sublime with Rome however, looked a little tired. I can’t blame them, it was a scorcher, but the crowd interaction was pretty low up until the very end. They’d finish one song, hide from the lights for about 30 seconds and then reappear and go right into their next song. This shouldn’t be as a hindrance for how great they sounded and played, however. They poured their hearts into each of their songs, including extended solos and some variations of songs to elongate the crowds’ enjoyment. 

The highlight of the show came during the encore though where they played the OG Sublime’s big hits of What I Got and Santeria. While this was to be expected, I always feel a bit jaded when a band of this caliber saves their biggest hits for the encore. Obviously, we know what the songs are going to be, which in my opinion diminishes the surprise of an encore. That being said, it was clear that’s what the fans were there for and they were extremely excited to hear their songs played. With a somber, but uplifting tribute given to the late Bradly Nowell, Sublime wished everyone a happy 4th of July and departed the stage. Until next time.

The Verdict

Look, I wasn’t able to see the original Sublime was around. Mostly because Bradley died when I was five. Therefore I can’t compare the two, but what I can tell you is that Sublime with Rome does a damn good job of making me feel like I’m listening to the original Sublime. And with great responsibility comes great respect, something that the band makes sure they have. Despite the heat and a crowd that was very hot, it was a great Sublime show. It brought a smile to my face, they rocked the Harley Davidson exactly how they should and the crow seemed to love it all despite feeling like they were in a swamp. 

P.S. Don’t bring your gigantic light up bulb to a show. I will throw stuff at you. 

Smoke Two Joints

Wrong Way

Date Rape

You Better Listen
Garden Grove
Take It or Leave It
April 29, 1992 (Miami)
40oz. to Freedom
Skankin’ to the Beat
Let’s Go Get Stoned
Doin’ Time
Scarlet Begonias


Wicked Heart

What I Got



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