It’s been five years since the out-of-pocket darlings of Kailua-Kona, Pepper played a show in their hometown and judging from the roaring, packed house tonight at Brewery Block they were sorely missed.
Homecoming: Pepper 20 Years of Kona Town
The parking lot adjacent to Kona Brew was transformed into a makeshift venue for their much-anticipated homecoming. The buzz of excitement was palpable, as openers Ocean Grown and direct support, The Elovaters, turned up the volume and primed the sold out crowd for the rain-soaked show of a lifetime.
The celebration commemorates the 20 year anniversary of their iconic album, Konatown, which put them on the map as young artists and continues to be their most-streamed record to date. Original members Kaleo Wassman, Yesod Williams, and Bret Bollinger were joined by newest addition Jeff Nisen as they performed the beloved album in its entirety, in addition to a drum solo and acoustic mini-set.
Adding to the excitement and immaculate vibes was a torrential downpour for the better part of their performance, soaking the entire audience as they danced and sang along at the tops of their lungs. As inconvenient as it was for the poor crew who feverishly scurried around covering gear and cords with tarps, the rain made for an unforgettable night that will no doubt become legend and live on forever in the hearts of all who witnessed it. Words simply cannot describe the level of energy and joy in that parking lot. Everywhere you looked you were surrounded by people smiling, singing, screaming, throwing shakas, kissing, holding their children, and enjoying the pure adrenaline-fueled ecstasy of the moment. Dripping wet and hearts full, this crowd got what they came for ten-fold.
In a heartfelt message to the audience, Bollinger proclaims, “Everywhere around the world, they know that Kona is the place to be!”. Shortly after, Pepper closed the night out with “Warning”, featuring Jackson Wetherbee and Matt Link of The Elovaters, and “Shake Senora”, the punchy Harry Belafonte cover that sent the crowd into a frenzied tailspin of booty shaking.
Catch Pepper with The Elovaters and Stick Figure this summer in select cities.
LIVE REVIEW AND PHOTOS BY: ALLIE ADAMS