Live: Groundation & Chali 2na (8-22-11)

Live: Groundation & Chali 2na (8-22-11)

Date: Monday, August 22nd, 2011
Line up: Groundation, Chali 2na & The Earful
Location: Belly Up Tavern. Solana Beach, CA
What: Building An Ark Tour

On Monday night, August 22nd, Groundation played at The Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, California. The Earful and MC Chali Tunafish joined Groundation in spreading conscientious, upbeat music. Groundation also performed at the same spot the night before with Kevin Kinsella and Bambu Station. The two stops were part of their Building An Ark Tour, which is currently taking place in the USA, and happening now in the western states.

I arrived at the spot around 9:20PM, and waited amongst others to get in. The place was nicely packed for a Monday night and The Earful was pumping the crowd with their funky jazz music. The band reminded me a bit of Fishbone, another band with the same kind of music and vocal performance. The Earful had high-energy and pumped up the crowd real well.

Chali 2na was next, and he was highly welcomed by the crowd. Known for his days with Jurassic 5, Chali Tunafish has deep recognizable, hip-hop vocals. His music is either speaking of a conscientious message, or pumping the crowd. This time, he motivated the audience to address the person next to them and say “Peace.” He also represented a J5 song called, “Quality Control”. Standout songs included a song about “Freedom” in which Chali 2na asked the crowd to raise a fist, and a personal song in which he was serious, and spoke of family history. The song mostly mentioned choosing “The Righteous Way.” Chali 2na and his band comprised of drums, keys, and a 7-string bass played for some time before ending their hip-hop and solo instrumentals.

Groundation came out and the one thing which stands out the most about them is their reggae music infused with jazz tones. The jazz is most apparent in their solo instrumentals which took place in each song. Kerry Ann Morgan and Kim Pommell add a great touch to the music as backup female vocalists. They bring the roots reggae sound, and this is probably not only because they are from Kingston, Jamaica, but because they harmonize well, and entertain the crowd with dance moves which seem inspired from original African dance.

Harrison, the “reggae professor” and vocalist of the band displays conscientious lyrics and addresses the crowd well between songs with positive messages and even pauses enough to allow instrumental solos to play out. These solos take off in percussion, horns, keys, and drums. In fact, the music also featured two guest instrumental players, with a female percussionist on a bongo in one song, and a guy who played a steel pan in another song. Chali 2na also came on stage to perform the song “Beating Heart”. Harrison told The Pier a lot of the music is improvised, and because of their seven albums, they have a lot of songs to choose from so that no shows are alike.

Songs which stood out the most were “You Can Profit”, “Congress Man,” and “What Could Have Been”. Their cover of Bob Marley songs stood out as well, including Fussing and Fighting” and “So Much Trouble”, with the latter song performed for their much-demanded encore. One definitely noticed the political, unifying, hopeful message in their music tied together nicely through their embracing jazz influence.

– Article & Photo by: Liz “sandieganliz” Pimentel

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Groundation Set-List
What Could Have Been
Upon The Bridge
Beating Heart (w/Chali 2na guest appearance)
Fussing and Fighting cover
You Can Profit
Congress Man
Picture On The Wall
Marcus Garvey
Not So Simple
Silver Tongue Show
Suffer The Right
Encore: So Much Trouble In The World cover