Date: Friday, June 15th, 2012
Line up: Fiji, J Boog, Common Kings, The Hot Rain
Location: 4th&B. San Diego, CA
‘Twas a Summer Friday night, and San Diego was yet again in treat for a commendable group of world-class island musicians. Hosted and produced by Polynesian Underground, Tatau Clothing Company, and Primo Beer, San Diego was taken over for an evening of island reggae massive including Fiji, J.Boog, The Common Kings, and The Hot Rain band.
Despite their extremely busy summer schedule and long, seemingly draining nights, every group brought energy and immeasurable music enthusiasm, leaving myself and others with jaws dropped, only able to exclaim amongst one another, “Wow.”
Throughout the course of the night, members from internationally acclaimed Big Mountain, and San Diego’s HI Roots were out showing support for the music. The musicians supporting musicians creates a familial tie at these shows and when the boys get together on stage, it’s one large family reunion.
It could have been the massive crowd that filled the entire dance floor of the downtown venue, the Primo Big Braddah beer specials all night, or San Diego’s DJ Carlos Culture mixing our favorite reggae hits in between sets, but the entire crowd was in the nature of pure enjoyment the entire night.
J.Boog and Fiji were both backed by the Hot Rain Band, whose drummer Leslie filled The Pier in on the group’s history as well as his own background as a drummer, which included a starting point with The Green. His upbringing on the island of Oahu has immensely influenced his presence in the reggae community. Leslie mentioned the influence that all of the musicians in the community have on eachother. In addition, a desire and willingness to help out one another, so all the music can be heard both far and wide. In addition to playing back up during Fiji, and J.Boogs 16 17 song sets, The Hot Rain Band single handedly kicked off the set, opening the show for the night.
There seemed to be a trend for the groups to cover the late Michael Jackson throughout the course of the night. The Common Kings, whose background includes Hawaii, Samoa, and Fiji, put on an extremely entertaining rendition of the younger Jackson 5, which obviously was reggae-fied. First impressions of The Common Kings was definitely impressive, as well as anxious and excited to see what the future holds for these immensely talented island boys.
Recently catching J.Boogs set at California Roots Festival in Monterey and spending time backstage with him built anticipation to see him at a smaller scale venue, creating a more intimate experience. J Boog falls into the category of a true serenading vocalist that doesn’t let his fans down. His willingness to interact with his fans and true love for what he is doing does not go unnoticed.
Capping the entire night was Fiji, who I have been waiting for years to experience live. There is something special that the Island’s do to the voice of a reggae musician. Fiji’s voice did not lose dignity or strength during his entire set, and created more than a memorable live music experience. As expected, J.Boog joined Fiji on stage for their classic “Every Little Thing”, sending the crowd into an explosive dance frenzy. J.Boog’s style and smooth stage presence is the ideal combination to Fiji’s likeminded presence. The combination of the two is surely one of the inspiring and uplifting music moments I can recall. Fiji singing his classics, “Come on over”,”Naughty Girl” as well as his Samoan gospel music that caught me so off guard that I failed to recognize J Boog was on stage for half of his set.
Since my exposure to the music of the islands, I have always been drawn to the music, the crowd, and the experience that goes along with live island reggae music. As mentioned before in previous articles, the island reggae connection to San Diego is strong, and during these specific events, the connection is very apparent.
J Boog’s Links:
J Boog’s Website
J Boog’s Facebook
Article By: Allie Gordon
Photo By: Dave Norris