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I'm So Stoned: Slightly Stoopid's SoCal skatepunk pastiche carries just a whiff of weed.

Let's Get Stoopid

SoCal skatepunkers (sort of) mature

By Greg Cahill

Sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. Closer to the Sun (Reincarnate Music), the new album from Slightly Stoopid, the reggae-inflected Long Beach rockers, is laced with this winning formula. "Fat Spliffs," "Till It Gets Wet," "Zeplike"--all are songs that touch the heart of adolescent rock culture. Of course, this isn't exactly new for Slightly Stoopid; the band's breakthrough 1998 album Longest Barrel Ride included the anthemic "I'm So Stoned." That album, recorded when the band members were still teens, was one of a pair recorded on Sublime chief Brad Nowell's Skunk imprint and served as a showcase for Slightly Stoopid's SoCal skatepunk pastiche of ska, thrash and hip-hop.

But the band's latest album--with its heavier focus on the mixed dub and dance-hall reggae influences that have tempted No Doubt and other pop acts in the past--finds these twenty-something musicians maturing, though not exactly trading in their Quicksilver gear for Ralph Lauren.

The pop-friendly songs include the sunny "Somebody," with its light jazz groove, and the piano-laden "Up on a Plane." The band even addresses its growing maturity in the mellow dancehall tune "Older."

Some critics have likened Slightly Stoopid to a modern-day UB40, and the comparison is warranted, not just for the whiff of pot that envelops the music, but also for the contagious contemporary brew of rock and reggae that Slightly Stoopid have concocted, showing the staying power that ska have in the rock world.

Not so stupid after all.

Slightly Stoopid return to the Mystic Theatre on Wednesday, Aug. 17. The Expendables and Capitol Eye open the show. 23 Petaluma Blvd., Petaluma. 8pm. $15 (18 and over). 707.765.2121.

Adventures in Clubland

Robben Ford and the Ford Blues Band, a mostly Ukiah-based blues dynasty, cruise into 142 Throckmorton in Mill Valley on Friday, Aug. 19. Guitarist Robben and brother Patrick, a drummer, honed their chops fresh out of high school with blues harp great Charlie Musselwhite. The Fords so impressed Chicago-based Chess Records that the label once offered them a chance to back Muddy Waters, a recording project that never came to fruition. Robben went on to tour and record with jazz trumpet legend Miles Davis. His brothers, including the amazing harp player Mark Ford, have continued to impress. It's worth the extra 10 bucks to attend the preshow reception--these guys have some stories to tell. . . .

Honky-tonk alert! Wayne "the Train" Hancock brings his pedal steel-fired hillbilly swing to the Mystic Theatre on Saturday, Aug. 20. Hancock, a songwriter whose compositions have been recorded by Hank Williams III and others, drips with authenticity. . . . Multi-instrumentalist David Lindley, who knows a thing or two about fusing reggae influences with rock music, brings his virtuosity to Sweetwater on Monday, August 22. Over the years, Lindley has lent licks to recordings by Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne and a host of other heavyweights. You know that when someone is on Ry Cooder's go-to list, they've got something going. . . .

Alterna-pop band Harsh Krieger of Nashville--think Cold Play with balls--take the stage Thursday, Aug. 18, at 19 Broadway in Fairfax and Wednesday, Aug. 24, at the Last Day Saloon in Santa Rosa. . . . Eighties nostalgia lives on Saturday, Aug. 20, and Sunday, Aug. 21, when Missing Persons return to 19 Broadway. Look for General Public the following weekend. . . . Hot on the heels of Gettin' My Groove Back, his first studio album in seven years, Marin County blues guitarist Elvin Bishop brings his band to Rancho Nicasio on Sunday, Aug. 21, where they will fire up the audience at the Backyard BBQ concert series.

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From the August 17-23, 2005 issue of the North Bay Bohemian.

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