Best Introduction to Sublime (no, really, we swear it’s good)

Staff Pick

Like turning water into wine or walking on water, playing an exciting, inventive, un-ironic and joyful cover of a Sublime song should not be possible. So a sort of miracle occurred very late one recent Friday night, in the back room of the Ole Beck VFW Post 209, when Missoula’s own Golden Poppy Tribe did a strangely powerful rendition of “Smoke Two Joints.”

It’s true, Sublime purists, that “Smoke Two Joints” wasn’t technically a Sublime original either, but the Golden Poppy Tribe wasn’t covering The Toyes, who wrote the tune. They were taking an excruciatingly overplayed hit and turning it, alchemically, into something entirely new and exciting using nothing more than an acoustic guitar, a stand-up bass, rousing vocals and a barebones drum set expertly played by someone sitting on the floor. They did the same for Lil John’s “Get Low” (To the window/To the wall).

But the members of the Tribe—guitarist and vocalist Tyler Chapman, singer Tray Rippetoe, bassist Erick Knol and drummer Katie McCluer—played more than just covers that night. They also belted out originals that were as unlikely and soulful as their rendition of “Smoke Two Joints.” In so doing, they compelled at least one young woman to take off her shirt to express what everyone was feeling: freed.

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