Sunfest 2018: More Thoughts

Living Colour founder and lead guitarist Vernon Reid, Tire Kingdom stage, Sunfest, May 3rd, 2018

[Typist’s Notes: My previous preview post on Sunfest 2018 was my first blog entry in a while, so it was nice to see how well-received it was. Thanks! Also, the festival got off to a great start with sterling performances by Living Colour and Billy Idol; more on them in a later concert-review post. Last but not least, WordPress just notified me that this is the 100th post published on this blog.]

I just had a few more acts in this year’s edition of Sunfest I wanted to highlight, so here goes:


Son of a Bitch!

Nate Rateliff
Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats

If you only know one song by Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, it’s “SOB.” After all, who wouldn’t want to walk into a bar and yell out the line “Son of a bitch! Give me a drink!” But if you know two songs by this Colorado group, the second one is probably “You Worry Me”, which might be the song Nathaniel would rather you know him for, given its sober lyrics and compelling groove.


That’s My Number

Like Ringo Starr, no one has seen the eyes of Jamaican music legend Toots Hibbert in years

Celebrated Jamaican reggae artists often play second fiddle to reggae-rock bands with considerably less esteem at American music festivals, and such will be the case this Sunfest Saturday. Toots and the Maytals, a band so essential to reggae it literally named the genre with a 1968 single, will be appearing ahead of SOJA (AKA Soldiers of Jah Army). This reggae outfit from D.C. is decent enough, but its songs lack the household recognition of “Pressure Drop”, “Bam Bam” or “Sweet and Dandy”, to name just a few of Toots Hibbert’s classic compositions.

And certainly no SOJA song comes anywhere close to matching the fame of “54-46 (That’s My Number).” Toots lets you know this is his signature tune by selling caps with his former prisoner number emblazoned on the front as part of his concert merchandise. Catch this world-famous reggae/rock-steady/ska band early Saturday afternoon.


A Good Day for Gangsta Rap

Ice Cube
Ice Cube contemplating the use of his AK?

Late Saturday afternoon will see the Sunfest debut of legendary rapper Ice Cube. Interestingly enough, Cube only got the gig because legendary Miami group KC And The Sunshine Band bowed out after the festival schedule was announced. Hopefully, all of KC’s fans got the memo, otherwise there will be some confused disco fans on Saturday. Catch the former NWA member on the Ford Stage late afternoon.


One More Thing

or several, actually:

  • If you’re an EDM fan, Friday is your night, with DJ Adam Lipson opening the Ford stage, and Zedd closing it.
  • If you’re an alt-rock fan, you have your choice of decades, with Incubus from the 2000s playing on Friday, or ’90s eclectic rocker Cake closing out the music schedule on Sunday prior to the fireworks 
  • If you long for a reunion of the Jonas Brothers, you could simulate a mini-version by watching Nick Jonas on Saturday, then DNCE (fronted by Nick’s brother Joe) the following afternoon.

As Bubba from Forrest Gump would say, “That’s about it, really.” Enjoy your Sunfest…



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