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The long ride to Shortbus

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Getting burly with the bus.
  • Getting burly with the bus.

Sublime is dead. No one disputes that the original Long Beachers perished when Brad Nowell overdosed on heroin in 1996. Like Nirvana sans Cobain, the band just wasn't going to fly under the same banner with a different frontman. But also like Nirvana, Sublime had too significant a legacy simply to recede into the shadows.

Whereas Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl lured many grunge fans along with him to the Foo Fighters, Sublime bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Bud Gaugh carried many of their faithful to Long Beach Dub All-Stars shows.

But a difference persisted: Grohl innovated a new sound and proved his merit as a musician -- far from Nirvana's influence. Wilson and Gaugh continued to capitalize on Sublime's sound, spicing it a bit with keyboards, saxophones and gobs of guitars. Arguably, it worked. That is, if you'd also argue that the Wailers alone sound like Bob Marley and the Wailers.

But let's be honest.

And let's also be fair. Though the teenagers had crushes on Nowell, it was Wilson's catchy bass lines that pioneered Sublime's successful punk-reggae sound. And though RAS1 didn't compare to Nowell as Dub All-Star's frontman, he wasn't all bad. Now that Wilson and RAS1 have picked up a fresh guitarist and drummer and have pared back down to the magic number four, they appear to be in better shape than ever.

As Long Beach Shortbus, they blend the sharp snare drums of punk with heavy walking bass lines, and cheery acoustic guitar with electric solos. Many of Shortbus' songs retain Sublime's rock lullaby feel, but the guys deserve credit for carving their own niche away from the popular ghost of their past.

-- Matthew Schniper

capsule

Long Beach Shortbus with Porcelain Hand Jive

The Black Sheep, 2106 E. Platte Ave.

Wednesday, Jan. 25, 8 p.m.

Tickets: $10 in advance or $12 at the door, all ages; visit sodajerkpresents.com or call 227-7625.

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