The Expendables and Passafire
Cocoa Riverfront Park, Cocoa, FL • August 18, 2012
At first it was difficult to find our way to the Cocoa Riverfront Park. (My son and I were a team for this show.) That was until I pulled out my prized Scooby-Doo toenail that I had found earlier in an old “haunted” house. You see, with that claw I was able to cut a hole in the smoke filled air in the very same way that a cartoon great dane would have done. I poked my head through the hole, and jinxy, what do you know, I found the Riverfront park. I replaced my Doo claw into my pocket and made my way to the cloudy sea of blond natty dreads and bikini tops.
Passafire played a sweet set during the daylight, generating that pale-skin irie. The songs which these Savannah Georgians dished out made me not really care about the juicy muddied ground that was rivuleting into my sneakers. Those smooth upstroked riffs breezing through the palm trees out over the park and on to the Indian River Lagoon generated the positive vibe they were going for. The sun was setting, the red eyes were reddening, and the beer line, although very long, was full of polite, happy people.
During Passafire’s set I watched as the Trop-Rock dance unfolded. This dance is called the Cupup Headbob. I have studied this dance for many years and am an expert. Here are the essential moves:
1. Eyelids must be kept at half mast.
2. Eyebrows must be raised.
3. What were we talking about here? Mmm, chips would be good
4. Oh yeah, you have to bob your head.
5. Hold a plastic cup with your drinking hand near your face. Barbecue would be nice too, or maybe… hey that girl is really cute.
6. Every few minutes switch hands so that you can dead-finger snap-pack an invisible can of Skoal several times while whistling.
During this show, I realized there were also a few new options:
1. Throw a flip-flop willy nilly into the crowd.
After Passafire came The Expendables. It was their turn to bogart the stage. They drifted in and out of island-timed riffs and made the occasional obligatory pot reference. The audience sang every word with them. Bold crowd surfers were tossed about. I’d like to see a study on boy and girl crowd surfing durations. I hypothesize that dudes eat dirt two to one, but I digress. At one glorious point they played a metal instrumental which really showcased their musicality. Their cool points went up to 11 as the riffs reminded me of some old Iron Maiden songs. Their guitar players shred. I was impressed by the number of flip-flops that entered the sky during this part. Apparently, airborne flip-flops quantify respect. They played “Bowl for Two” and did one of those clever, split the crowd and have a singing competition with the other side of the crowd routines. The only thing they were missing was a few beach balls.
The headliners, Rebelution, were up next. It was nighttime by this point, and the stagehands reset the lighting slightly to totally mess with our heads. The Riverfront park stage looked incredible with these changes. Whoever was responsible for it deserves to have several flip-flops hurled at them. To my disbelief, the smoke became thicker, and as the lights panned the crowd it looked as though we were all in a smoldering forest of hair. Outside the perimeter fence I saw a police dog with donut sprinkles around his face totally leg humping his passed-out handler. It was that smoky.
Rebelution brought their mindset of reggae music and being all-around nice gents to the forefront. There was shrubbery on stage casting shadows on the upper stage. The few oak trees in the park were illuminated as colorful lights danced around. One set of lights resembled smoke rings, as they lit up the smoke coming from the crowd. Because we were standing near the sound/light guys, we were able to see and hear everything.
Rebelution played all of their hits, to which everyone sang along. They played arm-waving games with the crowd, peace-sign games, sing-along games, and double-hands-up games. We sang Yeah-Yo! Yeah-Yo! at the top of our lungs in unison. I became hopeful that someone would do a statistical analysis of the decay period of having your hand up and not having your hand up during a concert. This could help with maximizing waving your hands like you just don’t care and ultimately lead to perfecting the live music experience.
During “Safe and Sound” I had a moment. This was the song that my son uses for his alarm clock. I wanted to go and jostle him awake, but he was already smiling and dancing away to the song so I just gave him a big hug and snapped a picture of us. We bonded. I love that kid!
They played “Green to Black” as an encore. The crowd responded as expected. Cupup Headbob, brah!
Even though I don’t listen to a steady diet of Reggae or Trop-Rock, I thoroughly enjoyed this show. It was fun and I would do it again. I suggest you also do your part and support these bands.