"There's nothing that often comes up in Sublime tributes and on the countless Web pages dedicated to the band which describes Sublime as a "below average garage punk band that every kid wants to play his party." Though many authors are quick to point out that Sublime's genre-jumping style of ska, hip hop, punk, reggae, and dub reached far beyond that, live Sublime- even at the height of their career- always retained far beyond that three-guys-playing-for-beer attitude. Whether in front of 50 or 50,000 people, Sublime was either at a party, brought along one or caused one to start. Just three guys and a Dalmation jumping onstage and looking for a good time. Often playing without a set list and letting the show go in any direction it chose, the Sublime experience had the ease of an open-invitation Long Beach backyard party.
Undedicated to one specific genre or clique, Sublime were a direct representation of the Southern California beach community where color, race, and musical style didn't matter. One of the few bands that could remain so individualistic yet appeal to so many kinds of people, Sublime shows would have dreadlocked Rasta lovers grooving, beach bunnies shimmying and SoCal tattooed punks moshing- all to the same song. Anyone though, who tells you Sublime were always good live were lying. But that's what made them so memorable. There were those nights when the extended members of the Sublime family would jump on stage for their go at the mic. But then even the guys were able to string grooves together, peppering ska riffs with snippets of songs in the works or giving way to punk ferocity, ending the set with a series of Bad Brains covers.
Having played together since childhood, the guys could improvise with ease. When they hit that groove, it didn't matter so much what Brad did- a scat master of lyrical improvisation- was saying, but what everyone was feeling. Those were the moments of bliss. When Brad would forget the lyrics, but the crowd would fill in the gaps. When the set became an incomprehensive jam that wondered down all of Sublime's musical avenues, snagging parts of songs throughout. When you were allowed to do your thing- whatever that may be. When nothing else mattered except that party around you. That's when you realized there will never be a band that felt as good as, as free or as welcoming as Sublime." -JR Griffen