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10 Things Not to Have Missed from WBRU’s Birthday Bash

If you were unable to snag a ticket to this sold out show, here’s everything you need to know! Use these valuable details to pass off to your friends that you were actually there ; )


1. The Rare Occasions cover Disclosure’s “Latch”

WBRU’s Rock Hunt winners showed off their creativity by transforming the electro-dance song into an intense mass of badassery. The moody reverb and vocal effects were reminiscent of The Arctic Monkeys, but adding in a new fierce guitar riff at the chorus put their own stamp on the song to make it distinctly The Rare Occasions.

Listen to the cover here:


The danceable “Miss Mary Mack” followed, building movement in the crowd as the tempo increased (note: listen for the awesome bassline under the guitar solo). They briefly switched it up with a ukulele before bringing out old favorite “Getaway”. The set ended with the upbeat “Wickenden Kids”, earning cheers during the headbang-worthy distorted synth breakdown and getting stuck in everyone’s heads until the next act.


2. Knox Hamilton Works It Out

With their uplifting vocals and their Strokes-esque groove, Knox Hamilton got the crowd clapping along from the get-go. Balloons bounced around above people’s heads as they danced to the upbeat drums and relaxed synths. Lead singer Boots Copeland and keyboardist Brad Pierce exhibited effortlessly tight harmonies and great back-and-forth when trading lines. Their single “Work It Out” closed out the set and was well-received with cheers from the crowd. This up-and-coming band is set to drop an album sometime this month. Keep an eye out as they secure their spot in the indie rock scene.


3. “He NAILED me RIGHT in the parking lot!”

No one was sure who the woman was up onstage in between acts, but once she started talking it was clear. The infamous commercial was finally matched to a face. You don’t even have to be a die-hard listener to know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, then get out from under that rock! Take that first deep breath of fresh air in what’s probably been years, turn on 95.5, and have your world changed by the piece of advertising genius from Hillview Auto Body.


4. Rome wears drop crotch pants

“What the fuck is up yo?!” Within the first few songs, Rome set the tone for the rest of the night bursting onto the stage boasting reggae rhythms and feel-good vibes. “Cheers to you guys, thanks so much!” Rome was all smiles, raising his ‘Gansett in a toast to Providence. Also, he wore great pants.


5. Rome wants you to follow your dreams

As he described his journey in the music business, Rome bestowed upon us some wisdom on dreams and finding a good mentor. He was told he had a gift, worked hard, and ended up with Sublime at 20 years old. His humility was refreshing, his gratitude was evident, and his energy spread throughout the whole venue. “Probably the best fuckin show of our tour!” He ditched his low-slung guitar for the last 2 songs and moved about the stage to the dance-inducing funky tracks. One lucky fan got a surprise from Rome as he plucked their iPhone out from the front of the crowd and filmed himself mid-song. He closed out his set with as much energy as he opened and turned to leave the stage, revealing a RUTHLESS 05 on the back of his jersey, despite the fact that he was one of the most gracious and genuine performers I’d seen in a long time.


6. Sweaters!

One lucky concertgoer won the annual Dunkin’ Donuts Birthday Bash present — anything up to a value of $300. Her choice? Sweaters on sweaters on sweaters. I can confirm there were many whispers of jealousy coming from the WBRU VIP section. Dunkin’ also hooked her up with a $50 giftcard. Because what good are all those sweaters without coffee to keep warm?!


7. Know your demographic: Filler music win

Whoever was picking the music in between bands must have caught on to what type of crowd this was after only a small handful of people started rhythmically convulsing during the drop on Lil Jon’s “Turn Down for What.” Once everyone heard what started playing next, all the lyrics to the Beastie Boys’ “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)” rang throughout the venue. An even bigger response was given when Sublime’s “Santeria” started playing and turned the place into a massive crowd sing-along. Rome should have gone back onstage to give an impromptu performance. I mean, the band is now called Sublime With Rome… Just kidding, hearing everyone know every single word totally brought this sense of unity within the crowd. The mystery DJ also scored some points by playing Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker.” The lyrics were less known except for “I’m a midnight toker” which was sung noticeably louder than the rest of the song.


8. Dirty Heads transcend genre

Was I at a reggae show? No, more like a rock show. Or was it a hip hop show? The Dirty Heads have created their own sound, breaking down the barriers between genres and exposing new types of music to those who may not normally listen to them. You got a little bit of everything with these guys.

The old theatre got significantly smokier and the green lights flashed as balloons were released from the balcony to the sound of Duddy B’s opening rhymes on “Franco Eyed.” The set revisited favorites from the previous album, including “Your Love” and “Dance All Night” which originally featured Matisyahu. They imitated his part perfectly and got the crowd singing along to this older, more familiar song. The crowd was made up of huge Dirty Heads fans who knew their albums from beginning to end. I watched a girl next to me, a super hardcore fan I might add, crowd surf at least 10 times. It was no wonder that this place sold out with such a dedicated fan base in the area.

I was getting a Southern-country-rock Kid Rock-feel from the chorus of “Hear You Coming” before the mood switched to the beachy acoustic summer song “Cabin by the Sea.” Then the lights went down and everything became intense as “Silence,” an edgier rock song, featured an eerily quiet pre-chorus before building to pounding drums and heavy distortion. The band channeled Phil Collins on “End of the World” with soaring synths and rhythmic beats. That classic Dirty Heads reggae-influence came back out with guitar on the backbeat of “Radio.”

“I know like 99% of you have shit to do tomorrow, so thank you so much for coming out tonight.” A sold out show was pretty impressive, especially on a Monday. “This one’s for all of you!” The opening lines of “Spread Too Thin” were greeted with cheers from a crowd who related all too well with the song’s step-back-and-chill-out message. Mid-song the guys dropped out and the lights came up. They stood there and basked in the applause that rose over the momentary pause. Anticipation and cheers built until they came back in with the chorus.


9. Dirty Heads + Rome = BFFs

Rome re-emerged onstage to join the Dirty Heads on their biggest single to date, “Lay Me Down” from their debut album. If you were to know only one song by these guys, it would be this one. Rome also appeared on their second album on a song called “Mongo Push.” Their collaborations and joint shows (no pun intended) demonstrated this camaraderie between the performers, which is always fun to watch.


10. Remix?

The set ended with the latest album’s title track “Sound of Change,” which was an accurate representation of the direction their music went. Straying from the traditional reggae rock the Dirty Heads are typically associated with, this album experimented a wide array of genres.

The guys left the stage as the crowd went wild, chanting “DIR-TY HEADS! DIR-TY HEADS!” The lights came back up and the backdrop changed to a giant Medusa head. Fans rejoiced as they had been waiting for this rap-heavy song all night. With hands bouncing up and down, the crowd transformed into one found at a hip-hop show.

The album’s lead single, “My Sweet Summer,” closed out the night for the big finale, as expected. The big surprise was that instead of ending the show right there, the band came back onstage to give away picks/drumsticks/setlists and wave goodbye as a bass-pounding dance remix of the track played like the ending credits to a movie. The ending was perfect, showing off the Dirty Heads’ knack for making you let loose and have fun — definitely the type of guys you want at your birthday party.


For more pictures, check out the album below!

Courtesy of WBRU Staff Photographer Ilgin Korugan

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