Music News & Reviews

Reggae fusion band Slightly Stoopid headlines all-day Grizzly Fest

Reggae fusion band Slightly Stoopid headlines this year’s Grizzly Fest, Saturday May 7, at Chukchansi Park.
Reggae fusion band Slightly Stoopid headlines this year’s Grizzly Fest, Saturday May 7, at Chukchansi Park. Special to The Bee

The last time Slightly Stoopid played Fresno it was a club show, though drummer Ryan “Rymo” Moran can’t remember exactly which club. He does remember the band was playing as a four piece – drums and percussion bass and guitar – and with a different repertoire of songs.

“It’s been years,” Moran says, in advance of the band’s return to Fresno, headlining Grizzly Fest, the all-day multi-genre music festival Saturday, May 7, at Chukchansi Park.

The San Diego reggae fusion band carries the seeds planted by Sublime in the late 1990s. Like Sublime, its reggae influences are incorporated with eclectic mix of styles, including funk, hip-hop, punk and rock.

By its nature the band can get funkier, or punkier, or just vibe out when the need hits. Over the years, they have played on a variety of bills, with everyone from Flaming Lips to Snoop Dogg and Pennywise. The band recently teamed up with Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir at his TRI Studios in Marin County, playing several songs along with other guest musicians like Angelo Moore from the ska band Fishbone and Chali 2na from the hip-hop act Jurrasic 5. The session streamed live online. Eventually, it will be released on DVD, Moran says.

Following the Grizzly Fest, Slightly Stoopid plays the California Roots Music and Arts Festival in Monterey, before heading out on a national tour with SOJA, Zion I Crew and The Grouch & Eligh. The band fine-tunes the set-list based on the audience, Moran says.

“We’re able to pick a direction and go with it pretty organically.”

Here is what you need to know about the rest of the Grizzly Fest’s massive lineup.

The headliners

Over the last dozen years, Cold War Kids has established itself as a viable indie-rock radio band – its single “First” was No. 1 on Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart last year – and festival-circuit standout. The band just played two weekends at Coachella (its third time at the festival since 2008) and will be at the sold-out Bottlerock Napa Valley at the end of the month. In between now and then the band plays Grizzly Fest, Shaky Knees Music Fest in Atlanta, and the KROQ Weenie Roast in Irvine.

Lucky fans might have caught Cold War Kids at one of two packed shows it played at Visalia’s Cellar Door; in 2010 and 2013.

Atmosphere – the hip-hop duo emcee Slug and DJ Ant – push at the boundaries of independent rap, with its eight albums, a hectic touring schedule and artist-owned record label, Rhymesayers. The label is home hip-hop acts MF Doom, Aesop Rock and Grieves. Atmosphere is also behind the annual Soundset music festival; the biggest hip-hop and rap festival in the world, which this year features the likes of the Roots, Common and A$AP Rocky.

The pair’s latest single, “Fireflies,” featuring Grieves, was released in April.

Of course, there can be no mention of Grizzly Fest without Fashawn.

The rapper, signed to Nas’ Mass Appeal label, has been the festival’s driving force since he headlined the inaugural event in 2012. The festival takes its name from Grizzly City, Fashawn’s moniker for his hometown. Local fans should be eager to see the rapper in his first local outing since the Beary X-Mas show in December.

Grizzly Fest is exactly what we need to propel our band onward and forward.

Wee Beasties

The locals

Grizzly Fest pulled in a vast and diverse lineup of local artists. Some, like Strange Vine, Zee Will and Sahab, played the festival last year.

“It was insane,” says Sahab, the electronic pop songwriter, who played to 5,000 people.

Sahab recently released a pair of albums and will unveil his newest invention during the festival. “With the help of DSI Sequential Circuit,” he says. That’s a synthesizer, FYI.

“This year, I’ve been changing my direction a little bit as far as shows go and grizzliest16 will be where I will debut some new things I’m trying out.”

The alternative indie band Wee Beasties are hoping to build momentum with the festival. The Fresno four-piece has been playing for just under a year and sees Grizzly Fest as a means of propelling the band “onward and forward” – to summer and fall tours, perhaps.

Fans can expect from them: “walls of sound and power waves of words.”

Rapper MC Wicks is also new to the festival, though has been supporting Grizzly Fest as a fan and a part of the hip-hop scene, since its inception. Wicks started on the local battle rap circuit, before dropping a few mixtapes and full-length album. His latest, “Steady Stylin” was mainly produced by local DJ/Producer K. Pizzle.

With the Grizzly Fest, he’s playing the “biggest stage in Fresno,” he says.

It is a privilege.

“I’m just a student of the culture mastering my craft.”

Other acts on the bill:

Strange Vine – Blues rock duo and longtime Fresno favorites.

Hayashi – One time Clouded Vision front man does acoustic rock.

Light Thieves – Progressive psych pop from members of Fierce Creatures.

Otis Reed – Underground hip-hop from one of the Grizzly City Boys.

Zee Will – Raw-powered, poetic hip-hop.

White Glove Service – Six-piece reggae rock.

Cockamamie Jamie – High intensity comedic rap. New album “Orcha” is out Saturday, May 7.

Dirty Limbs –Surf-rock garage punk.

Battlehooch – Psychedelic indie pop revivalists from SF.

DJ Ren Rock – Local radio/nightclub DJ.

DJ Fresh – Hip-hop DJ/collaborator.

It’ll Grow Back – Old-school punk rock.

Sadeek x Serious Nyk – South Valley hip-hop collaboration.

The full lineup and schedule are available online at

This is an amazing privilege for local artist to express and showcase our art.

MC Wicks

Joshua Tehee: 559-441-6479, @joshuatehee

Grizzly Fest 2016