Cover band ensures Sublime is still music to people’s ears

It’s no wonder that with lyrics such as “I’m drunk by noon, but that’s okay/I’ll be president someday,” musical group Sublime has managed to maintain a steady fan base among the college crowd since its debut album, “40 Oz. to Freedom,” was released.

It is also no wonder, then, that students from the College eagerly anticipated the arrival of Badfish, a Sublime tribute band, in its second visit to the Rat last Tuesday night.

After the death of Sublime’s lead singer Bradley Nowell due to a heroin overdose in May 1996, many fans of the band’s unique style of rap, reggae and rock worried that the spirit of the group’s music would not live on. However, thanks to Badfish, this is certainly not the case.

Formed in the spring of 2001 in Rhode Island, the band, composed of Dave Ladin on guitar and vocals, Joel Hanks on bass guitar and Scott Begin on drums, found an immediate following.

Perhaps at first this following grew solely because Sublime fans were drawn to the fact that they could hear their favorite music live once again. However, in the past three years, Badfish has developed a strong base that is theirs alone. As the group’s press release explains, “Badfish make their mark on the audience by playing with the spirit of Sublime – they perform not as Sublime would have, or did – they perform as Badfish does. The attitude of Sublime cannot be faked, so Badfish doesn’t try – they’ve got their own and it’s one that works.”

Tuesday night’s set, comprised of a mixture of radio favorites and songs for the die-hard Sublime fanatics in the crowd, was a testament to this statement.

While Badfish did not disappoint with its renditions of “Wrong Way” and “What I’ve Got,” the band also pulled out a crowd-pleasing acoustic performance which included “KRS-1” and “Babylon.” Badfish took requests, relied on plenty of audience participation and seemed truly eager to please the pack of fun-loving, intoxicated students who had come to share the evening with them.

Although some underclassmen were disappointed to discover that the concert was for students ages 21 and over, the event was a success according to Caitlin Gaughan, junior communications studies major and the College Union Board’s Rat co-chair. “We were filled to capacity, which means that 100-plus people showed up,” she said.

Gaughan was also quick to mention that Badfish’s first performance, which took place last March, was an all-ages event. The next time Badfish visits the College, it will most likely be open to all members of the campus community.

In the meantime, those who were able to view last week’s performance had nothing but good things to say about Badfish.

“They were dead on. I think it’s great that they keep Sublime’s music alive,” Stephen Marshall, a senior biology major, said. He added that both Sublime and Badfish “provide the perfect blend of reggae with radical teenage attitude that make people want to just relax and party.”

“Sublime equals chill music, and you need chill music in college or else you will go nuts,” Daniel Grzywacz, senior history major said. “I would love to see Badfish come back in the spring. I mean it’s not like Sublime will be touring anytime soon, so you might as well get the next best thing,” he said.

Right before Badfish took a short intermission in between sets, lead singer Ladin urged the audience to “keep Sublime alive!” Based on Badfish’s great chemistry with the audience and a set-list that seemed to invoke the spirit of Nowell himself, it seems that the group is doing just that.