Date: Friday, October 19th 2012
Line up: Groundation w/ Trevor Hall and Jaden Carlson
Location: The Ogden Theatre. Denver, CO
The Fall Tour season has been loaded with some dynamic band matches for tour, and in some cases three-band traveling shows. In terms of a live performance, the duo of Groundation and Trevor Hall is right at the top of that list this year!
With the fall slowly turning to winter, and at a more rapid pace in Denver, Colorado, often times bands will pack up their gear and head home for the holidays. That was not Groundation’s mind set at all. The nine-piece international touring band from Sonoma Valley, California, have lived up to their billing, traveling across the globe for the past year.
The United States portion of the group’s Building An Ark World Tour 2012 just commenced and Groundation brought the South Carolina raised singer/songwriter/guitarist, Trevor Hall, along for the ride. Also on the bill for the Colorado dates of this particular tour was eleven-year-old Jaden Carlson. Perhaps you’re thinking, “People paid money to see an eleven-year-old open up for two renowned musical touring acts?”
It wasn’t so much paying to see Carlson rip solos throughout the thirty-minute set for the three-piece band, instead it was to showcase the talents that most kids at Carlson’s age either haven’t developed or realized the passion for music yet. However, Carlson realized the drive to make it in the music industry long before even reaching junior high school. Believe it or not, her two biggest influences growing up were none other than Trevor Hall and the roots-reggae band headlining the evening, Groundation. This almost reads like a fairytale, but taking it one step further, Carlson also got to jam during soundcheck with Trevor Hall, playing the drums rather than his customary guitar, at the historic Ogden Theatre. So, long before the doors even opened to the venue, Carlson’s night lived up to the hype.
With The Ogden Theatre nearing it’s capacity following the Jaden Carlson Band’s rock-reggae-pop musical melting pot of a set, Trevor Hall with his accompanying bassist and drummer walked out from the backstage area to a resounding ovation from the crowd. Often times with a big tour for a headlining band, the opening act’s crowd isn’t ideal or fully invested in the music, but the female fans in attendance began screaming out, taking pictures instantly.
For the male portion in the audience, Trevor Hall’s music did the rest. Whether it is soothing sounds of his acoustic guitar or his uplifting, inspirational lyrics layered throughout each song, there are really no complaints within a Trevor Hall live performance. Hall could be playing any number of his hits over the last five years like, “Well I say…”, “Brand New Day”, “Unity” or “The Lime Tree”. Everyone within the two layered venue moved in unison, sang the choruses, and even later called for an encore-something that rarely happens for a band who’s not the headlining act. It was evident that Hall had taken control of The Ogden Theatre with his set, and the crowd wanted more.
Speaking of taking control of a large crowd, Groundation continued to follow suit as the first lyrics out of Harrison Stafford’s mouth were the only directions the nearly 1,700 fans needed. Opening up with the self-titled song to their 2012 Building An Ark album, the United States portion of the world tour was officially underway. For a typical live show, most bands will extend their songs from maybe three minutes to four, or more, with a special impromptu guitar solo or add in an instrumental interlude featuring percussion’s or horns. In Groundation’s case, their music recorded on their albums already feature lengthy musical masterpieces by all nine of the artists present in the studio and on the stage for shows.
The band’s sound is solidified by a trio of musicians with the aforementioned Stafford (lead singer/guitarist), Ryan Newman (bass) and Marcus Urani (keys) who all met each other at Sonoma State University in California. From those early days practicing in a drum room in California to now traveling the globe spreading their own unique form of reggae to all their attendees. And, for everyone within the venue walls, they felt the strength that Groundation’s music embodies.
Groundation’s live sound is traditional, yet also completely different than most of the average reggae-rock bands today, due to how much jazz is infused within their sound. The band’s sound is reggae, but almost it’s own style of reggae, in their own category. All the while, Groundation’s sound feels familiar. Containing nine members, complete with a percussionist, two female back-up singers, a trombone player, as well as a trumpet, everything comes together to create the full all-encompassing live experience; and the crowd at The Ogden Theatre could not get enough!
Playing some of their latest material like “Humility”, “Payaka Way”, “Merry-Go-Round” & “Who Is Gonna”, there is a clear display in the difference between Groundation and typical American reggae bands. Largely in part because of their touring success overseas, more and more bands from the United States have been able to venture off to Europe and South America. Groundation has even been fortunate enough to host other bands, even legendary bands, like The Abyssinians for their first trip to South America.
So, to experience a band like Groundation in the comfort of your own neighborhood musical confines, one must attend their live performance. And, on a big musical weekend for Denver’s Arts District with such bands like the Deftones, All-American Rejects, and many more from the mainstream musical genres in town, Groundation’s show continued long after the clock struck midnight, and other nearby concerts had already ushered out their patrons for the evening.
With Groundation holding their musical and spiritual gathering, time was not a concern, only playing their beautiful music to the fans’ enjoyment. Once again, reggae music proves to be long lasting and fulfilling for all parties!
Article By: Kris Siuta
Photos By:Kit Chalberg
Check out more of the photos from the night!