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POP MUSIC REVIEW

Lack of surprises makes for disappointing Sublime tribute

June 22, 2005|Lina Lecaro | Special to The Times

On the new album "Look at All the Love We Found: A Tribute to Sublime," a formidable array of artists including Jack Johnson, No Doubt and Camper Van Beethoven gleefully celebrates the music of Long Beach's genre-blending groove rockers, whose career was cut short when singer Bradley Nowell died from a drug overdose nine years ago.

Sublime devotees will find the album moving in every sense of the word, but Monday's record-release concert at the Vault 350 club in Long Beach failed to live up to the disc's star-powered alchemy.

With its reggae-seeped jam-rock vibe, early-evening performers Bargain Music may have evoked a rhythmic warmth similar to Sublime's mellower offerings, but its performance lacked the poignancy and urgency that made Nowell's work so seductive. Fishbone pumped the energy level way up. Singer Angelo Moore's wacky croons and swoons, not to mention wild stage moves, made for giddy fun on Curtis Mayfield's "Freddie's Dead" and Sublime's "Date Rape," one of the group's more upbeat, ska-powered hits.

Though the tune's cautionary narrative was buried by the band's beats and antics, it's a perfect fit for Fishbone sonically, a fun and frantic offering that shines bright on the record and was the highlight of the evening.

Surprise guests were expected to join Los Lobos during their closing set, but with the exception of Sublime drummer Floyd "Bud" Gaugh, they never materialized. Los Lobos turned in a short and solid, if laid-back, set, ending with two soulful renditions of Sublime favorites, "Pawnshop" and "Santeria."

The crowd waited around for nearly 20 minutes after the curtain closed in hopes of a more dramatic climax. It never came.

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