Although The Dirty Heads have appeared in Tulsa previously, local audiences may have never seen the band in a better head space than when it arrives for a concert with Matisyahu at Cain's Ballroom this Wednesday night, September 5. After a long wait, the band recently released its sophomore CD, Cabin by the Sea, in June and arrives with a renewed energy as well as a fresh batch of songs.
That's not to say The Dirty Heads wasn't enjoying the ride with success it found with its debut, Any Port in a Storm. That album definitely laid the groundwork for what was to come and established the band's feel good vibe and affinity for delivering a positive message. After initially being released in 2008, however, a new album is a welcome arrival for both the band and its fans.
When discussing how things have changed for the band over the course of four years since the debut was released, lead singer Jared Watson shared that "A lot of things are different. The first record was out first time in the studio. We had to get comfortable with it and learn how to work with other people and be open minded."
Although four years was a long time to wait between releases, the band used the time and experience to its advantage. "This time we had time to grow as people, as musicians and as songwriters," Watson said. "We had time to really find our sound more."
"This record is pure Dirty Heads and was really fun to make," he continued. "It was easier because we had more of a vision for the album. Instead of going from song to song, we were able to approach it as an album as a whole."
By taking that approach, the band was able to compose a more consistent and fluid album, which is tied together by an underlying theme, as represented by the album's title, Cabin by the Sea. When discussing the album, Watson has said "It starts with the title. No matter where you are or what's going on, we want to transport you to this place, the 'Cabin by the Sea.'"
Dove Shore Photography
When discussing the band's reggae undercurrent, Watson shared that "We're not trying to glamorize Rasta. I'm not really into Rasta so much as the music, which has a lot of positive messages. Once I got into what it (Rasta) was, I realized that I really don't identify with it that much. We were really more interested in the mood and vibe and feeling that comes from the music."
More than taking from reggae's political message which can call for a militant stance, the band focuses more it its positive vibes and sound. "We took from reggae just like we took from hip hop and classic rock and acoustic folk music," Watson concluded.
The result is a hybrid that crosses not just musical boundaries, but demographics, drawing fans from rock, pop, hip hop and world music. That has opened many doors for the band, not just at radio, but on the concert trail, where the band has worked tirelessly over the past four years.
When the band arrives in Tulsa this Wednesday night, they share the stage with Matisyahu for the pairing's first true tour together.
Although the two artists have played together previously, Watson shared that "We've never toured together. It (playing together) has always happened on larger shows or festivals or a just a couple of shows. This is our first tour together longer than two weeks."
"It's great, because it fits perfectly. At least, I think so," he continued. "It works because we both have positive messages, have high energy shows and want the fans to have a good time, but we're not too similar, so it's not too much of the same all night."
On top of the current success of The Dirty Heads' latest CD, Matisyahu released a new CD, Spark Seeker, this summer as well, which sees his sound continue to evolve as well. Each band has a loyal following, but the pairing has proved to be wildly successful, creating an advance buzz and keeping fans of both artists happy.
When asked what the future holds, Watson said that "Obviously, we're going to keep touring, but our real focus has been on getting the new music out because it's been so long. The most fun and uplifting part was just putting it out so people can hear it. After that, it's really about word of mouth. Don't get me wrong, we appreciate the airplay, whether it MTV or Fuse or radio stations or whatever. I think word of mouth is the way to go: it's lovely to see how much we've grown over the past couple of years and we want to keep growing.
Looking forward, Watson shared that another of the band's goals is to tour more internationally and play in Australia, the UK and Japan, hopefully getting to do some of that after the current tour wraps.
As for now, however, Watson stated "In my personal opinion, this is the best tour we've ever been on, in that it's been so much fun and we've gotten such a good reaction from the venues and response from the audiences."
Of course, it helps that the band is touring with a good friend in Matisyahu, who also made an appearance on the new album, singing on the band's current single, "Dance All Night." More than anything, however, it's the new focus and direction of Cabin by the Sea that has renewed the audience's fervor for the band, making this pairing one of most anticipated shows of the summer for fans of both bands.
The Dirty Heads and Matisyahu play Cain's Ballroom this Wednesday night, September 5 with HB Surround Sound opening the show at 8pm. Tickets are still available for $32 in advance or $34 at the door, so don't miss out on a great show.
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