Sublime generate a massive feel good vibe that is incomparable to any group during their existence, and possibly all time. Sublime incorporated elements of ska, reggae, punk, hip-hop and surf rock to create an amazing groove. Their live energy is captured perfectly in Stand By Your Van.
During their live shows, Sublime meandered through their many genres, occasionally focusing enough to play a song that might or might not have enough cohesion to remain the same song when they stop playing. Sometimes their music would become an immense jam with no real direction. At times Bradley would forget the lyrics and the audience would fill in the holes. The instruments blend together and send out tangible waves of a summertime party that make me wish I was a part of the LBC. Sublime’s live sound was stripped down. The band didn’t have a DJ at their shows to add in the dubs and samples. Instead Bradley improvises and uses spontaneous guitar licks in their place. (i.e. STP, Djs, Lets Go Get Stoned, etc.) This is especially noted in “Caress Me Down”, where Bradley says, “Okay let’s try this new one, I don’t have any lyrics yet so I’m just gonna f’uckin’ fake it.”
The fact is, Sublime were not always of the highest-quality live. The music would spiral into incomprehensible chaos, like a whirlwind of energy. There are numerous occasions when Bradley seems too wasted to function, let alone play an instrument and sing. Most of these moments grow on you and add even more to the party atmosphere on this album.
If you are new to Sublime, this album is not for you. It’s stripped down sound and chaotic jams are acquired taste. For hardcore fans, this is a must have. This CD places you in the midst of a party down in Long Beach circa 1994.