Rebultion w/ The Green + J Boog, Stick Figure, Through the Roots, DJ Mackle
Wednesday, June 8th
@ College Street Music Hall (New Haven)
$32.00 / 5:30pm Doors / All Ages
Tickets On Sale Now: http://ticketf.ly/1PmZQsr
Premier Concerts and Manic Productions Present:
Too blessed to be stressed,” is one of many key song lyrics from Rebelution’s new album Count Me In. The California band’s fourth full-length release on its own label 87 Music, and partnering for the first time with Easy Star Records, marks its tenth year together. And while surely every band has its share of stress, Rebelution feels they have been “too blessed” to have much time to worry about it.
Said guitarist/singer Eric Rachmany about the band in its decade milestone, “we still have the same energy as we did as a young band, if not more. The more experience we had doing this, the more inspired we became.”
The songs on Count Me In show that as they combine ever-youthful energy with a mature perspective. For every hopeful “Count Me In,” there’s a worldly-wise “Counterfeit Love.” For every message of positivity, as in “More Love” (“You’re in a dream, wake up and now gear up/Come on”), there’s a look at the hard edge of history: “Invasion” recounts the plight of the oppressed as Eric sings, “No time for questions/Don’t ask for reasons/Washed of their faith/Thrown in the fire.” “Every song has a story,” the singer explains matter-of-factly. The acknowledgement of injustice that deepens some of Rebelution’s stories draws on the roots-reggae tradition that inspired the band in the first place. Indeed, their love for the inspirational roots of modern Jamaican music have culminated in a collaboration with Don Carlos himself, on the jam-anthem “Roots Reggae Music.”
The seeds of Rebelution germinated in Santa Barbara’s college town of Isla Vista in 2004. A student named Marley D. Williams had recently switched from baseball to bass guitar when, walking to choir practice one night, he heard strains of roots-reggae coming through a door. The fellow reggae enthusiast turned out to be Rachmany, a devotee of roots-reggae and dancehall, and especially the music of Don Carlos and Black Uhuru.
The nucleus of a new and innovative “California Reggae” band got rock-solid when Marley heard percussionist and drummer Wesley Finley’s impressive solos on a big African drum in a World Music class. At the same time, the bassist had befriended a local band featuring keyboardist Rory Carey, who soon became another cornerstone of the budding Rebelution.
Fate? Good luck? Some combination of forces had stirred in Isla Vista to bring these boys together. Guerilla-style cover gigs led to bigger local shows, original songs, and a homemade five-song EP that surprised everyone by becoming a radio hit in Hawaii, quickly leading to a tour there. The eye-opening thrill of headlining a show in front of 600 fans, all singing along, told the young musicians that even though they were still college kids, they were onto something big there on the Big Island.
Back home, it was time to invest in recording a full album. After a few growing pains, Courage to Grow hit the airwaves, and of course the internet – it was the heyday of Myspace, and the band took full advantage. The album’s title expressed their fearless energy, and the same kind of organic underground surge that had created their early Hawaiian fan base propelled Courage to Grow to #4 on the Billboard Reggae chart and earned it the nod as iTunes’ Editors’ Choice for Best Reggae Album of 2007.
Bright Side of Life, released on their own 87 Music label in 2009, hit #1 on the iTunes Reggae chart, and was the third most downloaded album in the U.S. in all genres while reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Top Reggae Albums chart and #34 on Billboard’s top 200.
As if that weren’t enough, their third LP, Peace of Mind, released in 2012 with additional acoustic and dub versions of all twelve songs, marked an even higher chart debut: #13 on the Billboard Top 200, not to mention #1 on the Reggae chart and #1 on the Independent chart – and it was the #4 iTunes album overall.
All very different, but always musical brothers, these tireless pioneers of California Reggae now play 100-120 shows a year. Tours have taken them to South America, Guam, Aruba, New Zealand and Europe. They’ve performed at Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, Glastonbury, Lollapalooza, and Austin City Limits. They’ve headlined and sold out Red Rocks and the Santa Barbara Bowl, and done all this with no backing from any major label and very little media support.
Marley explains: “Our music is meant to move people physically and mentally at the same time. When people are really dancing and really thinking, that’s a double threat.” Among other things, he adds, it evokes “It’s a ‘one love’ spirit and we’re doing it in our own style, influenced by the diversity in California and the people we were surrounded by growing up.”
Still, at heart, the story of Rebelution is a pretty easy one to understand. As the band embarks on its second decade, Eric explains, “Rebelution is a great example of four friends who got together to play music for the fun of it, and still do that today. We just play music that we really enjoy.”
The Green + J Boog
The Green’s latest album, Hawai‘i ’13, opens with a chant. “From the times of ancient Hawai‘i and even up to present day, chanting has been a part of our culture,” says JP Kennedy, guitarist, vocalist, and one of the band’s five songwriters. “It’s a way to start something important. When we chant, we ask for blessings, knowledge, and guidance so that we can be ‘pono’ or righteous in whatever we do.”
The chant of “He Mele No Ku‘u Hawai‘i” prepares the album’s listener as much as the band. Hawai‘i ’13 dances through roots reggae, soul, and R&B. The album charts a journey through Hawaiian life and music in 2013, reflecting The Green’s musical upbringing as much as their vision for the future of Hawai‘i and its musical output. Following The Green’s usual modus operandi, the album was written by the group’s five separate songwriters (Kennedy, guitarist-vocalist Zion Thompson, vocalist Caleb Keolanui, keyboardist-vocalist Ikaika Antone, and bassist/multi-instrumentalist Brad Watanabe); the band’s four singers (Kennedy, Thompson, Keolanui and Antone) take turns on lead vocals, sometimes trading off with each other within a song. Once you listen to this record, there is little doubt that the chant served its purpose, as the results show the band has been righteous in their hard work.
The Green formed on O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, in 2009. The group began as a vehicle for six different members of Hawai‘i’s tight-knit music scene to record a few songs and have a bit of fun along the way. Their self-titled debut album, released in 2010, earned both critical and commercial acclaim, and was awarded iTunes Best Reggae Album of the Year.
Afterwards, the band jumped on a plane to the mainland and started a heavy touring cycle. On the strength of their debut album, The Green struck a record deal with ground-breaking independent reggae label Easy Star Records to record their sophomore album, Ways & Means. Ways & Means hit #1 on the iTunes and Billboard Reggae charts and the band embarked on more intense touring; supporting acts like Rebelution, Iration, SOJA and Damian Marley. They also played at acclaimed festivals including Vans Warped Tour, Wakarusa, Sierra Nevada World Music Festival and California Roots Festival.
Despite all the time spent away from home, Hawai‘i never left the band’s day-to-day life on the road. In almost every state, the band met Hawaiian ex-pats, driven away from their home state for reasons both economic and social. The Green’s concerts became a place where Hawaiian natives could gather and for one night, share a bit of Aloha spirit from the Pacific islands they call home.
“Hawaiians living on the mainland will come to our shows and say ‘I haven’t been home in years! You remind me so much of home,’” says multi-instrumentalist-songwriter Brad “BW” Watanabe. “I feel like that’s our service in some way.”
In early 2013, The Green retreated to Hurley Studios in Costa Mesa, CA, to record their third album with Danny Kalb (Ben Harper, Beck, Jack Johnson), the band’s first outside producer/engineer, at the helm. In addition, the group brought in Joe Tomino, drummer from Dub Trio (who also double as Matisyahu’s backing band), to handle the drums for the sessions.
“We were worried about it because we always recorded everything ourselves,” Kennedy admits. “But when we added Danny Kalb to the mix, and Joe on the drums, they just brought so much to the sound of the songs.”
The addition of an outside ear helped sharpen the band’s direction, and the 13 tracks on Hawai‘i ’13 sound focused and pointed, despite the group’s many different songwriters. “All of us contribute to the creation of a song,” says guitarist-vocalist Zion Thompson, “whether it’s lyrics or music, it’s always collaborative.”
“Everyone respects each other’s opinions,” Thompson continues. “Everyone has their place and everyone makes room for it to work.”
The album’s songs span soulful lover’s rock (“Striking Up A Love,” “Take Me On”), heavy roots workouts (“Good One,” “Forgive Me”), smooth R&B ballads (“Chocolates & Roses”), roots reggae-pop hybrids (“Power in the Words,” “Good Vibe Killah”), and herb anthems (“Hold Me Tight”).
The Green hit all the right notes with their first two albums, but the band members are still coming to grips with the personal toll of success. Bands from the mainland may be used to touring from state to state, but that’s no small step for a group from a small island in the South Pacific. “While I face a dozen spotlights, you’re crying at home,” goes “Something About It,” one of the lead singles from Hawai‘i ’13. “Sit by the phone. You think I’m alone, wishing I could be there. But the music’s got me traveling on.”
The Green struck the reggae community hard with their debut in 2010. Their sophomore LP Ways & Means solidified their status as a force in reggae music. With Hawai‘i ’13, the band aims higher. The album collects 13 stellar tracks by a group with an insatiable urge to push their music onto the global stage. Some songs punch and some songs sway, but ultimately they all blend to form a new shade of Green.
Jerry "J Boog” Afemata, a reggae singer of Samoan descent, was born in Long Beach and was raised in Compton, California. Steeped in Samoan culture and as the son of a Samoan chief, J Boog’s large family has had a huge impact on his artistry. He is the youngest of seven brothers and one sister. He credits his sister with being one of his earliest musical influences. She played piano and he began to sing along when she brought home a Bob Marley songbook. Each sibling offered exposure to other genres, such as rap and R&B, which allowed J Boog a sense of freedom to be himself. This variety of musical influence combined with Reggae’s feel good sound that was embraced by the whole Afemata family, J Boog was set on a path to creating his own unique reggae sound.
J Boog is keeping true to his namesake. Nicknamed “Boog” by his siblings because he could never sit still for long, J Boog is currently living and traveling between Hawaii and California. J Boog has not taken a break since the release of his debut album "Hear Me Roar" in 2007. It was his close collaboration with island music pioneer, George "Fiji" Veikoso, whom he met in 2005, that has helped spur the creation of J Boog’s unique sound, as well as pave the way for many other Polynesian artists. Another great milestone in the creation of J Boog’s debut album was when he joined the Hawaii/San Francisco based musical family, Wash House Music Inc. This collaboration started J Boog on a journey that would keep him plenty busy and would also provide the influence for his follow-up album.
In 2008 J Boog teamed up with Yami Bolo and a member of reggae’s royal family, Ambassador Gramps Morgan of Morgan Heritage. He then traveled to Jamaica to experience the culture of Jamaican reggae. This being J Boog's first visit to Jamaica he did not expect to find himself working in such amazing studios such as Bob Marley's "Tuff Gong Studio" , Don Corlean's "Hit Maker Studio", Bobby Digital’s "Digital B Studio", Shaggy's " Big Yard Studio" and Sugar Minott’s “Youth Man Promotions”. Guided by Gramps Morgan, J Boog found himself surrounded by several artists he himself had been influenced by and would later appear on his follow-up album, “Backyard Boogie” in 2011. Backyard Boogie entertained a great spectrum of reggae fans and invited new reggae fans around the world, offering a variety of musical roots, including R&B and Rock. J Boog got back to that feel good, be himself music that is uniquely his. "Backyard Boogie" topped the US Billboard charts and iTunes charts in numerous countries. Featured hits were "Let’s Do It Again”, produced by legendary Don Corleon, and "Sunshine Girl”, produced by Gramps Morgan/Dada-son and featured Morgan Heritage front man, Peetah Morgan. The success of Backyard Boogie earned J Boog the Best New Entertainer Award at the 2012 International Reggae and World Music Awards held in Chicago.
J Boog is a true student of music. He is currently and constantly collaborating and recording, getting his sound out for others to enjoy in many creative ways. In 2013 and 2014 he recorded several singles both independently and collaboratively. In July he released the EP “Live Up!” on Washhouse Hawaii, which reached #18 on the Top Heatseekers chart and #4 on Top Reggae Albums. He has also worked on a mixtape release of his tracks called “My Diamond Life” for fashionista powerhouse Diamond Supply Co. J Boog has toured around the world in locations such as Europe , Africa, Dubai, New Zealand, Australia, United States, and Japan, just to name a few. His music is transparent and preaches that music is the only universal tongue. However, what stays with his listeners is his humility, his deeply engrained commitment to his family and to his proud culture.
From the musical imagination of Scott Woodruff emerges a vibrant sonic soundscape, revealed in the newest Stick Figure release, Set in Stone. As with his previous releases, Set in Stone was written, produced and recorded by Woodruff, a self-taught musician.
An intuitive and accomplished producer, Woodruff crafts authentic artistry from the foundation of roots-dub reggae. Cavernous grooves, sparkling electronic orchestration and thick rhythms; songs and sounds that have incubated in a studio cabin in the woods near Santa Cruz, CA, where Woodruff found solace excavating a foundation and constructing a studio, all in preparation for his most ambitious recording to date. When completed, a brotherhood of hard-jamming musicians delivers this widescreen soundtrack in concert performances of consciousness-altering emancipation.
With Woodruff as the genial on-stage figurehead, Stick Figure concerts are gatherings distinguished by extended improvisational interludes, the mind-manifesting hues of a light show, and the much-anticipated entrance of the band’s canine mascot, a rescued Australian Shepherd, Cocoa The Tour Dog. The release of Set in Stone is a culmination of a journey that has seen the producer go from a mysterious figure to becoming a major player in the scene, virtually inventing a melodic subgenre, at a time reggae is reaching new heights of popularity.
Through the Roots
From what was once a dream inspired by close friends, to humble beginnings filled with living room jams, late nights writing songs in the garage, backyard house parties and countless complaints from neighbors, San Diego-based reggae/rock band Through the Roots was born.
By coincidence in early 2008, Evan Hawkins and Taylor Boatwright met at a local guitar center. It was there that Evan shared his vision with Taylor, which eventually led to the beginning of TTR.
Evan and Taylor came from different musical backgrounds but shared some similar musical tastes, and both were very moved by reggae. They believed TTR would provide them with the perfect vehicle to spread their message and adopted a Cali reggae/rock concept.
In late 2008, Through the Roots added Brady O'Rear to round out the group's core. He brought his own musical tastes, complete with Hawaiian Islands reggae, and mixed them with those of Evan's and Taylor's to give TTR a broader range of ideas and influences to draw from.
Through the Roots quickly moved from the streets and backyard shows to touring in 2010 and soon hooked up for West Coast and national tours with some of the reggae/rock genres top headliners. The San Diego band eventually added Corrick Watson (lead guitar/vocals) and Budda Foster (bassist/keys) from Los Angeles to the talented, five-man mix.
With the band set, Through the Roots looks forward to continue spreading its positive messages, and showcasing its high energy shows to a growing legion of fans.
DJ Mackle has progressively shared stages with reputable names such as Rebelution, The BassJackers, DJ Vice, DJ Reza, Porter Robinson, Dillon Francis, Iration, Tony Royster Jr., DJ Scotty Boy, Jakwob, Foamo, 6Blocc, The Green, Steve Prior, Stick Figure, Heavygrinder, Eric Dluxe, DJ Gusto, Josh David of Breakdown, Dave Aude, and the like the beat, the list goes onwards as DJ Mackle's career grows stronger.