One of the cool things about the reggae-rock scenes group of musicians and fans is the genuine support everyone gives each other because of their appreciation for the music. This mutual respect was evident at Jannus on Friday with crowd members sporting band t-shirts like those of the Expendables and the performing acts spinning B-Foundation, The Dirty Heads and SOJA tracks between sets to keep the sandy and salty vibes flowing through the breezy evening atmosphere.
Ballyhoo! ripped into their set around 10 p.m. with towering lead vocalist and guitarist Howi Spangler buzzing with a raw stage presence as he belted out harmonic anthems about beachside days and carefree nights backed by the tropical beats and raging rhythms of band members Donald Spangler (drums), JR Gregory (bass) and Scott Vandrey (turntables, keys and other sonic effects).
Despite a bare minimum of rest -- the band had jetted over to Orlando for a 4 a.m. spot on Full Sails The Daily Buzz immediately after their Thursday night Melbourne gig -- the band displayed an impressive amount of enthusiasm, revving up the packed venue with a set that included, Alcohol Looks Beautiful Tonight, The Front Porch, Somewhere Tropical, Scarlett Blue, Last Night, Cali Girl and Cerveza. With all the zeal of a kid mastering Guitar Hero, Howi flailed around the stage, striking animated poses as he rocked out licks on his sticker infested guitar.
[image-1]When Iration landed on stage, a paradise pulse danced through the venue as they broke into the opening riff, tambourine shakes and sudsy keyboard effects of the title track from 2010s full length, Time Bomb. The good-n-lubricated audience howled, raising plastic cups and chiefing joints in appreciation while the Hawaii-native rockers fed off all the love and played a stellar set.
The sometimes-distorted, sometimes-smooth melodic guitar work of Micah Pueschel mixed with the bumping basslines of Adam Taylor [pictured left], kinky keys of Cayson Peterson, bursting drums of Joe Dickens and percussion play of Kai Rediske creates a heady combination of sonics that is only intensified in a live setting. By constantly orbiting around the stage to keep their sound moving throughout the venue and constantly pumping up their fans, the night definitely mirrored Taylors sentiments from our interview, Playing live, especially for fans like that, makes it so easy as a musician they give us energy and we just give it right back.
With a projector style backdrop constantly changing out trippy images -- flashing lightening, twirling ganja leaves, spacey vortex designs and the like -- Iration played a plethora of tunes from their chillin catalogue, including Electricity, Let Me Inside, Cant Wait, Falling and Summer Nights. My favorite track off their new Fresh Grounds EP, All This Time, was definitely a set highlight as well as No Letter, which was performed solo and acoustic by Pueschel, giving his amorous vocal skills a chance to shine.
As people filed out formed a herd and stumbled out in an ear-ringing haze of positive vibrations, the musicians mingled, taking pictures with fans, signing CDs, T-shirts and some badass shortboards with Irations Fresh Grounds cover as the design. All around, the Fresh Grounds tour delivered a Friday night of genuine musical fun with Iration delivering a clean, quality performance worth way more than the ticket price. Next time they cruise through the Burg, I predict a sold out show.
If you can handle my shaky video skills, below are two brief snippets of "No Letter" and "Falling."
More photos by Fernando