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About five or six years ago I saw the Dirty Heads open up for SOJA in Bethlehem, PA at an outdoor venue called Steel Stacks.  Steel Stacks is an old steel mill (Bethlehem Steel) converted into a unique outdoor concert venue directly in front of the old industrial steel smoke stacks lit up in radiant colors.  I remember during that show Duddy B, of Dirty Heads expressing that it was the coolest back drop they had ever played in front of.  So, of course when I heard Dirty Heads were coming back to Bethlehem and bringing Lupe Fiasco, along with one of my favorites in G-Love, and a really cool band in Tropidelic I knew we had to go.  Much to my surprise, the show was actually going to be held at Steel Stacks, but instead inside at the adjoining Wind Creek Casino, but at least we would get to see 4 great acts.

Before the concert started, Tropidelic held a meet and greet outside of the casino where they played a few of their stripped down songs showing off both their musical and vocal raw talent.  The meet and greet was open to anyone and we all had a few moments to meet the band and take pictures before we even got into the venue which only amplified the excitement for the show.

We entered the casino grabbed our press passes and went down to the pit to get ready to see Tropidelic open the show with their full live act.  After experiencing Tropidelic outside playing their stripped down songs, their full on electrical live performance kind of rips your face off (in a great way).  The blend of horns, shredding guitar, thumping bass, and vocals that can rip through the air or blend melodically together is something to experience.  They are a combination of California style reggae meets hip hop meets funk and it comes together live like a peanut butter, banana, and bacon sandwich at 2am (trust me or find out for yourself).  Thankfully the crowd did not have their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouth from the peanut butter as they sang favorites like "Falling Down", along with "Trop" at the top of their lungs. 

Next to hit the casino stage was G. Love and Special Sauce.  G. Love, or known by his birth name Garrett Dutton, is originally “Philly born and bred,” which is about an hour from the venue that we are at.  If you are not familiar, G-Love and the Special Sauce were formed in 1992, and gained popularity in 1994 with their break out song "Cold Beverages".  Their blend of blend of blues, rock, hip hop, and soul blends together with so many other great artists’ sounds.  G. Love has written and played with so many great artists including, Jack Johnson, Slightly Stoopid, and The Ries Brothers to name a few.  I have had the pleasure of seeing G. Love and Special Sauce many times before, and while at least the drummer looked like a new addition to this version of the Special Sauce, I must say this was the best I have seen the band and G. Love sound.  Sporting a throwback baby blue Phillies jersey G-Love was cranking out the beautiful sound of sloppy blues on his guitar while playing crowd favorites like "Cold Beverages", "Baby’s Got Sauce", and an extended version of "Rodeo Clowns" that set the packed house on fire.  It was obvious to see that G Love has a huge following, as he should with his years of original music, and constant touring.  However, what struck me just as much as his live performance was – was the fact that minutes after he was done performing, he was in the lobby taking pictures and talking with fans in what seemed like genuine moments he wanted to give back to those that came out to see him.  To stay that connected with your fan base 30 years into his musical career, I have mad respect for his music and character.

This is where things started to get a little strange.  Next on stage was Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco.  When I first saw that he was touring with Dirty Heads I wasn’t quite sure of the “fit.”  But as the Grammy winning, record producer, entrepreneur and community advocate hit the stage, and I looked out at the crowd, I got it.  It did make sense and the crowd was so into it!  He came out strong, his flow was so tight and on point.  I started having flashbacks to the early 2000’s when he first hit the hip-hop scene.  Shortly after he went into his second song Kick, Push the energy and flow started to rise.  The crowd was jammin’ and having a great time. About halfway through the song things got so weird.  Let’s just say for unknown reasons and unknown circumstance, we were unable to photograph and watch the rest of the concert.  Not only the remainder of Lupe but Dirty Heads as well.  I heard from an old elementary school friend that was also at the show, that Dirty Heads sounded great and, as always, put on a great performance.  It was upsetting, but we will get to see and photograph Dirty Heads in the future. 

One Love- Todd  

Todd Judd

Photojournalist - Pennsylvania

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