Date: Wednesday, June 29th, 2011
Line up: Echo Movement, ROTA, VibeSteady, The Reptilians
Location: The Firebird Lounge. Saint Louis, MO
The temperature was in the mid 90’s on the week’s annual hump day as the sun began to fall. What better way to relax than to bask in the sweet sounds of reggae music? On Wednesday June 29, 2011 East Coast reggae rockers Echo Movement made a stop in Saint Louis, Missouri during their nationwide summer tour of 2011. Almost at the core of downtown Saint Louis and rising in popularity to artists is The Firebird Lounge, where Echo Movement was joined by local groups ROTA, Vibe Steady, and The Reptilians in joint effort to fill the air with rhythmic vibes and a positive message.
The first of the four bands to claim the stage were The Reptilians, a rock, blues, and reggae group from Columbia, Illinois which is about a half hour outside of Saint Louis city. Although a member showed up about half hour into the show, they presented a decent set musically. The bass got progressively louder and more ambient throughout the night, but The Reptilians had no frequency problem as I was vibrating much of the night with each bass line and drum kick.
The second group to take stage was a four-piece reggae rock band from Saint Louis named VibeSteady. The singers were spot on and a few songs actually reminded of the renowned O.A.R. They sought to pick up the tempo in which they accomplished with some distortion on the guitar and an increase in tempo. At about the halfway point of their set, the electric guitar was switched out with an acoustic to play a few songs. I enjoyed their performance of In the Mood which is a featured song on a demo disc that the members handed to fans in front of the stage.
Even through the problematic microphone issues throughout the night, the bands rocked on. The venue acoustically sounds fine and I was surprised by how well the lighting complimented each band on stage, but for the last two acts the lights were the most fitting.
ROTA then took over the dimmed over stage. As the colorful beams of light suddenly shined forward, singer Adam Belko introduced the band. His only advice for the crowd was to “live life easy”, then breaking into song. I really enjoy ROTA’s music. On stage, ROTA’s faster-paced, bending vocal-work was basically flawless minus the few technical problems. The guitars were both on point and the complex bass lines were as unique and upbeat as they are in digital form. I think presenting them with a few more watts would have made it easier to define each instrument’s role on stage. ROTA played songs such as Leave It Be and Set So High which will be featured on their 2011 album that they plan on releasing sometime this summer. As they were in the final moments of their set, the band gave thanks to all the groups performing and they attempted to revitalize the crowd for the upcoming performance by Echo Movement, as the headliner of the night.
As Echo Movement showed signs of readiness, the fans and band members began to magnetize towards the floor facing the stage. As soon as lead singer Stephen Fowler stepped up to the mic they began to perform one of the fan favorites Ganja. The horn section added a whole lot to their set and sometimes improvised from the original recordings. On top of that, the keyboards almost seemed to add another dimension to the overall sound. Although sometimes only serving as a minor detail, it sounded superb in a small, yet acoustically efficient lounge in midtown Saint Louis.
Their next song is supposedly the title of their up and coming release in September; Music Played On. In the midst of a heavy and very involved jam session, Stephen expressed thanks to the bands who supported them on their tour and ThePier.Org. From there they played songs claimed to be on the upcoming album, as well as songs off their self-titled album and the fan favorite In the Ocean. Daydreamer really brought out the spirit in the crowd, who consisted of fans and the bands who performed in advance. Although it is a live show and the bass is shaking every limb of your body, there was something somewhat tranquil about their performance. There was nothing too overwhelming yet their beats and progressions sounded so smooth even at louder decibels. They also performed a song titled Downside that was interrupted with a killer saxophone solo. I liked the increased involvement of each instrument during their live set. There seemed to be horn sections that were never there before, and it was all magnificently coordinated by the six members in the band.
The last two songs they performed were their two of their most popular songs. I Think God Smokes Weed was performed incredibly. The vocal harmony is all present in their live set, and the live aspect really helps appreciate the importance of even the minor details in music. Members of the audience were swaying back and forth while blurting out the words to the chorus. After a small break they closed out their set with a song off ‘In the Ocean’ titled Keep My Head High. Fans seemed to leave happily, as they should have. As I left, the moon was bright and a cool breeze was flowing through my clothes, somewhat ironic that I just left an Echo Movement show.
– Article by: Matt Emodi
-Photos by: Neil Farewell