From West Coast to Best Coast: The Dirty Heads

By John LaCroix

(Photo courtesy of Flickr / messycupcakes)
(Photo courtesy of Flickr / messycupcakes)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years and haven’t heard one of the greatest hits of the decade, “Lay Me Down” – holder of the no. 1 Billboard slot for a commendable period of time – then you know the musical ecstasy that The Dirty Heads are capable of creating. Although sunny Huntington Beach, where the Dirty Heads hail from, is far from the icy shores of New England, there is some good news: The sandy heads of California are bringing the beach to our own Northampton. They may be playing far from home, but east coast fans of the band are far from strangers.

With Dirty J (Jared Watson) and Duddy B (Dustin Bushnell) as the frontmen of the Southern California rock/reggae/hip-hop band bringing some of the West Coast’s energy to the East Coast, you can be sure that the place is going to be packed with people craving the band’s beachy melodies and bongo drum beats.

Jared Watson and Dustin Bushnell started their rock/hip-hop duo in Orange County, Calif., at a party during their freshman year of high school. The two collaborated and the legacy grew into The Dirty Heads. Their first release, “Any Port in a Storm,” was well received chiefly because of their hit “Lay Me Down.”  Even without a college education, these two artists created a project that has achieved above and beyond even their own expectations.

Although Watson and Bushnell conceived The Dirty Heads, percussionist Jon Olazabal, drummer Matt Ochoa and bass-player David Foral are key cogs in the musical machine known as The Dirty Heads, and these three musicians help create the dynamic, rich sounds that the band is known for.

To the ill-privileged soul who has never heard of the Heads, you must hear some of their material from the 2012 album, “Cabin By The Sea.” Hits such as “Smoke Rings,” “Mongo Push” and “Your Love” all respectively feature talented artists such as Del The Funky Homosapien, Rome (from Sublime with Rome) and Kymani Marley.

The band’s fusion of hip-hop and reggae is difficult to compare to any other act out there. If you like Sublime, Slightly Stoopid and Rebelution, then you will surely love the guys in Dirty Heads.  I’ve seen them in Boston in a big venue twice and I can guarantee that these dudes do not disappoint. Put all that SoCal energy in a small venue and pure musical chaos will ensue.

The Dirty Heads have toured extensively with acts such as Matisyahu, The Expendables, Sublime with Rome, 311 and Pepper. Opening acts for the show in Northampton consist of The Burning of Rome, Danny Pease and The Regulators. I have never heard of these artists but I am sure they will deliver.

The show is being held at Pearl Street Ballroom on April 6 at 8 p.m.  Tickets are $25 at the door or available for $20 online, but there is usually a five dollar service fee for online purchasing.

John LaCroix can be reached at [email protected]