Date: April 1st, 2011
Location: The Soundwave. San Diego, CA
Line-Up: Natural Vibrations, Tribal Theory, Fortunate Youth, Kahi Lofa
Hailing from Hawaii, Natural Vibrations came to Southern California to bring some classic island-reggae. They made three stops, including Hollywood, Hermosa Beach, and San Diego. The Pier checked out the sold-out show in the Mission Beach part of San Diego, CA as Kahi Lofa, Fortunate Youth & Tribal Theory fulfilled the line-up.
It was barely 9:00pm when I came into the parking lot and it was full of people standing outside the club in a line waiting to get in. I grabbed my ticket and made my way inside to the setting of four merchandise tables with t-shirts, CDs, Stickers, Posters & other misc media occupied by Kahi Lofa, Fortunate Youth, Tribal Theory, and the event producers, Polynesian Underground. With a full line up of four bands, the first group, Kahi Lofa, started the night at 9:00pm sharp.
Kahi Lofa is a band based out of San Diego, CA with most of the members hailing from Hawaii. As a 7 piece roots-reggae group, they also carry over some of the island flavor into their set & sound. They include a ukulele in their music, and have a progressive type of sound with 2 keyboardists, 2 Guitarists, Horns (Flute & Sax), Bass & Drum. Pivotal moments included standout electric guitar riffs, and a saxophone solo which got a good reaction from the crowd as the sax player marched off the stage surrounding himself with the audience on the dance floor hitting every note as the band played. The band threw out a couple of shirts, and ended their set with the appropriate song titled, Showstopper.
South Bay reggae stand-outs Fortunate Youth was next as they hit the stage at 9:45pm, and started with a song called, Reggae Radio. Like Kahi Lofa, Fortunate Youth embraced the stage as a 7 piece and made their presence known to the sold out San Diego crowd with a 30minute set. They sound like progressive California reggae with a lot of dance-hall breaks followed by a good mixture of a roots influence. Vocals stood out the most as Dan Kelly’s voice suits the reggae vibes well. Lead guitarist, Ryan Gonzales also backed and led vocals. Before ending their set, they premiered a new song called, Sweet Love which included classic reggae riffs backed by subtle percussions.
Tribal Theory went on close to 10:45pm and the floor was packed. Loud cheers were apparent, as the crowd seemed familiar with the bands easy-style reggae. Vocalist, Aberay Blount sang with soul bringing a more rhythm-and-blues sound, while vocalist, Seuko Hawkins gave the music an edge with a more reggae-hip hop sound. Ukulele player, Dominic Blas, also sang a song while the guitar player, Rich Duenas, moved around the stage, playing with each member. At one point, Seuko called him, The Situation. The band threw out shirts and two of their latest EP, which got the crowd to cheer even more for them.
It was getting to be about 11:35pm when Polynesian dancers took to the stage prior to Natural Vibrations appearance. Dressed in hula skirts, bikini tops, and a flower in the hair, these girls danced to some island music. Also in the crowd enjoying a night off were members of Tribal Seeds, as well as Andre Davis, bass player of Tomorrows Bad Seeds & OG of Slightly Stoopid. It’s always a pleasure to see other artists on a night off, enjoying live music with the rest of us patrons.
They were scheduled to hit the stage at 11:45pm but it was about 12:15am before the first song started and every bit of the 800 person capacity crowd stuck around for these Island Headliners. The first thing I noticed about Natural Vibrations, besides their classic reggae play, was their classic-looking style. They formed in 1993 and are probably one of the first Hawaiian reggae bands to really flourish across the states.
The band started with a song called, Man Down, before making their way into a cover of Two Joints. The crowd sang along to You and I and Put A Little Love. The group also played a new song titled Got This Music, which is expected to be on their new album rumored to be out sometime this summer. A standout song was when percussionist, Kayton, addressed the audience with a song sang mostly in Hawaiian. The crowd went wild, and the long jam session included announcement of members, and an ending of Mahalo, Mahalo, Mahalo….
Natural Vibrations wasn’t done yet, though as they played for another forty minutes with songs, such as Freedom Fighter, Mary Jane, which featured Mike Flanagan on the saxophone, and Natural Vibration. Reaching the time limit of 1:30am the band made their way back out to a demanded encore and closed the night out with One on One.
– Article by: Liz sandieganliz Pimentel
– Photos by: David Norris