California’s Long Beach Dub All Stars, Carrying Sublime Mantle, and The Aggrolites Coming to Beach Haven

By Jon Coen | Jul 24, 2019
Courtesy of: Long Beach Dub All Stars The Long Beach Dub All Stars from Long Beach, Calif, will play Bird & Betty’s in Beach Haven July 29.

Beach Haven — On Monday night, July 29, the walls of Bird & Betty’s will be vibrating with a sound that hasn’t been heard in some time in that venue, the sound of original reggae music.

While dozens of performers have covered Bob Marley tunes throughout the summer and many original local bands incorporate elements of reggae with rock, funk and soul, the Jamaican-rooted genre will be the focal point as the Long Beach Dub All Stars and The Aggrolites swing their summer tour through Beach Haven on Monday, July 29.

The “Long Beach” moniker has nothing to do with our barrier island but rather the city of Long Beach, Calif., within the Los Angeles metropolitan area, an urban coastal area of mixed races and cultures on the Pacific Coast.

In the 1990s, the band Sublime, from that very city, gave reggae music something of a rebirth in mainstream culture, mixing it with elements of ska, hip-hop and punk added to a surf and skateboard vibe. Lead singer Bradley Nowell died in 1996 of an overdose, leaving behind a legacy of music.

When bassist and drummer Bud Gaugh and Eric Wilson formed a 10-piece band of friends and Sublime contributors as a way of dealing with their loss, it became the Long Beach Dub All Stars.

After Nowell’s death, the self-titled Sublime record was released and spent 122 weeks on the Billboard chart. But the world wanted to hear more. The Long Beach Dub All Stars, sticking to a similar adopted reggae style and revolving members, offered fans something they’d been missing. They put out seminal releases in 1999 and 2001.

The band broke up for 10 years and in 2009 Wilson and Gaugh reformed Sublime with Rome Ramirez taking Nowell’s spot. They continue to play classic Sublime songs all over the world.

In 2012, vocalist Opie Ortiz, Marshall “Ras MG” Goodman and other Long Beach Dub All Star members fired up the bus and started playing shows again. This summer they have a refreshed lineup.

“I’m really digging the cohesion of this lineup of All Stars. I’ve got a team of musicians that are versed in their craft. Roger Rivas from the Aggrolites is as pristine as they come, Devin Morrison from the Expanders is a competent reggae guitarist and vocalist, Brad Croes moves the crowd every show with his saxophone prowess, and Ed Kampwirth is holding it down the bass. It’s been a pleasure sharing the stage with a team of pros,” said Goodman.

This summer’s tour has already taken them through the Northwest and Canada, the Rocky Mountains and through the South with an extensive number of East Coast shows.

“There’s always a great response to our originals and most fans know the classic reggae covers that we play. I’ve found that there has been an equally welcoming response on both coasts for the new songs from our forthcoming record. The crowds have been great and very responsive; I think they may have missed this band a little bit,” he joked.

“The new album is scheduled to be released this fall. As a member of Sublime, I was a part of promoting reggae and dub music by paying homage to many artists from those styles. There are several young reggae artists impacting mainstream music now. So, in my opinion, the future looks bright for reggae and dub music.”

Opening the show are Mike Pinto and the Aggrolites. Pinto is regional, hailing from Philly, often playing acoustic reggae as a solo act. He performed at the Old Causeway Steak & Oyster House in May.

The Aggrolites are a L.A. reggae band that play what they call “dirty reggae,” inspired by earlier Jamaican styles. They started out in 2002 as a backing band for reggae icons like Derrick Morgan, Prince Buster, Joseph Hill of the band Culture and Tim Armstong of Rancid on his 2007 solo reggae record.

All summer, Bird & Betty’s has made an effort to bring original and touring bands back to Beach Haven. On Mondays, they’ve offered drink specials specifically for local service industry employees to gather after long weekends in bars and restaurants.

“The energy at Bird & Betty’s on Mondays is incredible. It’s great to cut loose after a long weekend of work,” said Brian Farias, whose stores have been sponsoring the Monday night bands. “I’m stoked to see original music in a setting that was built for live music and really looking forward to seeing the Long Beach Dub All Stars here at home. I’m so glad they brought this spot back to life.”

Tickets for the show are online at Ticketweb for $25 and available at the venue if it doesn’t sell out. Doors open at 9 p.m.

— Jon Coen

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