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Slightly Stoopid a hit at Legends

Sara Felsenstein | Monday, April 27, 2009

On Friday night students gathered outside of Legends, forming a line that ran down the sidewalk, to see the much anticipated reggae/punk band Slightly Stoopid. This performance at Legends kicked off a short tour for the band including Notre Dame, the University of Rhode Island, Boston College, Burlington in Vermont and West Palm Beach in Florida. Currently, Slightly Stoopid is composed of Miles Doughty, guitar, bass and vocals; Kyle McDonald, guitar, bass and vocals; Ryan Moran, drums; Oguer Ocon, congas, percussion, harp and vocals; DeLa, saxophone; and C-money, trumpet and keyboard. Co-frontmen Miles Doughty and Kyle McDonald are lifelong friends and have been playing together since they were in high school. The current band has been more or less together for the past five years. After meeting and shaking hands with each of the band members, Scene sat down on the couches at Legends and spoke with saxophonist DeLa and drummer Ryan Moran (RyMo). They were both laid-back and easy to talk to, which was not surprising, as the band prides itself on being “ultra-chill.” Slightly Stoopid describes their music as “a fusion of acoustic rock and blues with reggae, hip-hop, and punk.” The band does not try to squeeze into a single musical category – instead, they just play how they feel. Said DeLa, “[We play] everything from tons and tons of reggae to jazz … everyone has their own thing they really like … [for example,] Miles likes classic rock.” When the band jams, each member brings in a different style that is reflective of the music he likes or has been listening to recently. When asked if there is one word or phrase that is representative of their sound, DeLa immediately said, “I think it’s ‘So-Cal.’ It’s really just that.”Slightly Stoopid is known to have an exceptionally diverse fan base known as “Stoopidheads.” In general, the fan base has a fairly young demographic, but fans range from high school students to people in their late 50s. Explained DeLa, “It has to do with our collective group of music [tastes] – it brings in all kinds of people.” In addition to the wide age range, the fan base of Slightly Stoopid also transcends cultural divides. They have a high number of Latino and Islander fans. The group often tours with Jamaican reggae musicians, and then fans of those artists will hop on the “Stoopidhead” bandwagon as well. RyMo and DeLa spoke of how the band strives to present a unique concert each time they perform. Sometimes one band member changes things up a bit and the rest of the band will just have to keep their ears open to make the necessary adjustments. It makes for a more exciting experience. RyMo said, “We don’t ever play the same thing twice. Things vary every night – it’s part of the way we do things.”Stoopid opened with a few improv-type numbers, highlighting the saxophone. During “Ocean,” the audience simulated the movement of waves with their hands and swayed to the lengthy sax solos. The band also played “This Joint” and “Till It Gets Wet.” When the intro began for “Bandelero,” California-born students exploded in excitement for the song, a tribute their home state. Said freshman Dan McQuarrie, “They have a very unique sound which is relaxing yet danceable, and it made for a great concert experience. I had only started listening to Slightly Stoopid a few weeks ago, so I was very excited to hear that they were coming to play at Legends.”At one point in the night it seemed that people were getting a little too stupid for Stoopid because Legends staff members had to walk across the front of the stage to make sure excited fans did not get too close. Finally, a member of Slightly Stoopid grabbed the microphone and politely asked everyone to take “one step back” so as not to crush “these guys in the front.” At about 11:30 the band exited the stage, and the crowd shouted for an “Encore!” After a short wait with scattered, nervous whispers of “They’re not doing an encore?” the band resumed their places and asked the crowd what they wanted to hear. Responding to the enthusiastic “Col-lie- man! Col-lie man!” Slightly Stoopid delivered “Collie Man,” one of their most popular songs. This was certainly a crowd favorite. Said McQuarrie, “My friend and I were waiting all night for them to play [Collie Man], and when they played the first few notes the crowd just erupted. It was intense.” Excitedly, the audience began to sway, sing along, dance with their friends and yell, “It doesn’t really matter as long as the music goes on!” A few songs later, Stoopid played “Closer to the Sun,” another one of their better known songs. Despite the exceptional improvisation and lesser-known numbers the band performed throughout the night, “Collie Man” and “Closer to the Sun” were the songs that many audience members had been eagerly waiting for. When asked if there is a difference performing in their home state and elsewhere, both RyMo and DeLa agreed that it is generally “more fun out of Cali.” Outside of their home state, they said, people don’t know their family or their entire background and history. The audience can just accept the performance for what it is. Slightly Stoopid tours about seven months of the year. They will kick off their “Blazed and Confused” summer tour on July 10 with Snoop Dogg and Stephen Marley, and they are planning on going abroad to Europe in the fall of 2009. The pair explained that they approach performances at colleges and universities the same way they approach any other concert. “We go into every room with the same energy. We come in to the space and have a good time. We want to get the kids going and pumped up. We do the same thing if there are five or 500 people in the audience.” According to freshman Mike Flynn, a So-Cal native, the Stoopid concert was the “best show at Legends this year.” He said, “I’ve been listening to Slightly for a few years now, and they definitely know how to put on a show. Coming from Southern California, I’ve been to a few ska/punk shows and [Slightly Stoopid is] definitely my favorite.”RyMo explained that before each performance, “We say, let’s come together and deliver this.” And deliver it they did. Eager fans sighed disappointedly as the lights in Legends were turned on around 11:50, crushing their hopes for one last encore.