Slightly Stoopid, 311 and the Aggrolites
Story/Photos By Tri and Sarah and SurfGuru
Hidden behind the green foliage, just off A1A in St. Augustine, FL, sits a 3900 seat venue know as The St. Augustine Amphitheater which hosted the Unity Tour featuring Slightly Stoopid, 311, and the Aggrolites on July 18th. I was fortunate to cover this event, meet some of the tailgaters, sit down with RyMo of Slightly Stoopid, and get lost in the summer time sounds of some great musicians on a beautiful Florida evening.
I arrived to the venue at 3:30, paid my parking, and slipped the vehicle next to some early tailgaters, who appeared to have been set up for a while as they filled red solo cups with libations. Just as I began going over my notes and checking camera equipment for the anticipated review, a St. Augustine Police officer stopped his cruiser in front of us and addressed the crowd we had parked next to. "Damn", I thought to myself, it's going to be one of those lots where the fans can't get a break and have a good time pre-show hanging. To my surprise, the officer got out of the vehicle and said, "There is no alcohol allowed because this is a state park. If you have an open can or bottle, I have an idea of what your drinking. If it's in a plastic cup?, Got It?" We all got the gist of what he was saying, smiled back, and he pulled away.
I watched the car drive off and to my left, a familiar uniform caught my eye. "Flint Tropics?", I had to wander over and get some info because the uniform was bottomed off with orange and teal bobo socks. I ended up chatting with Michael, "Jersey" from Jacksonville, who was originally from NY and getting prepped for his 34th show. His anticipation and stoke had everyone in the lot stopping by, taking photos, and joining the beer pong festivities under his canopy, which was set up in true NBA time. Thanks for the cups Jersey!!!
The interview hour drew near and I walked toward the entrance gate of the amphitheater. I was greeted by a member of the Slightly Stoopid management team, handed a backstage pass, and escorted through a maze of prevost tour buses to the bands dressing room. As I entered the room, the sound check was just being finalized, and I was told RyMo would be in a bit. To my surprise, Kyle and the horn section of Slightly Stoopid where in the room and they introduced themselves to my wife and I with open arms. RyMo entered the room shortly after and we shared a bit of banter with regards to the Unity Tour, favorite venues, and surf of course. The Unity Tour began seeing the light of day in December of 2011 and January of 2012 with an upcoming release of the new album, "Top of the World" slated for August 14, 2012.
When asked about favorite venues, RyMo replied, "this is one of my favorite places to play", with regards to St. Augustine as well as Red Rocks. I also found out, the band enjoys the idea of playing festivals. "We have a chance to watch our friends perform, catch up, and just hang out with fellow musicians who are on tour", Rymo said. He also shared a special fondness for the slot the band was put at the 2010 Lollapalooza Festival. They where sandwiched between Social Distortion and Green Day, for these were two bands he enjoyed as much as the fans. I also learned that RyMo enjoys grabbing a few waves while on tour. "We have the day off tomorrow and are headed to Cocoa Beach this evening, I plan on long boarding for a bit if there are waves to be had", Rymo replied. In March of this year RyMo and a group of friends headed to Nicaragua for a ocean front villa, surf filled, un-official bachelor party sort of get-together. Rymo got married two months later and a big congrats to the two of you. I had one more question before I left the interview which I fielded from a fan while out in the parking lot. Jose from Jacksonville wanted to know, "have you ever thought of playing a show for the troops?" RyMo sat back, reflected, and said "of course, yes". I didn't know till that point, that some of the members had visited a USO Hospital in Bethesda, met with some injured soldiers, and shared positive vibes. Hats off to both parties on this one and stay tuned to find out if a base somehow finds its way on a tour stop in the future.
It was finally time for the band to plug into amps, turn the power switches on, and give the fans what they came to see. The Aggrolites got the fans moving as the opening act. Slightly Stoopid was to follow, and they walked on stage to a roar of the crowd around 6:30. Opening their set with an instrumental warm-up, the band soon threw in into gear and the groove began. Leaving On A Jet Plane was followed by a great animated version of Wiseman, which Kyle sang with powerful authority. The 12th song of the set was Hold On To The One and segwayed into a great version We Don't Wanna Go, which had the audiences arms held up high, swaying side to side. The entire set proved entertaining and I began to wonder how they were going to end the ride. A few notes later a familiar cover filled my happy ears. Express Yourself was shown the dusk of night and fans on the floor grooved to the sound of the last song of Slightly Stoopids set.
311 was up next and brought the same energy levels. Amber, a favorite summertime tune of mine, stands out from the set. The crowd sang note for note and the lighting crew filled the darkness with a eye pleasing palette of color.
Thanks again to the entire Slightly Stoopid road team and the management back home who made this happen. A special thank you to Rymo for taking time out of his busy schedule for an interview, and don't forget to check out the newest release...
Top Of The World, on August 14, 2012.