Date: Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014
Line Up: J Boog, Hot Rain, Mike Love
Location: Belly Up Tavern. Solana Beach, CA
Stage Presence: A-
Live Sound: A
Stage Presence: B
Live Sound: C
Stage Presence: A-
Live Sound: A
J Boog’s Run’em Hard Tour 2014
J Boog’s Run Em’ Hard Tour gave San Diego County not one, but two nights of music from Hawaii this week. The venue of choice was the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, located just walking distance away from the shore. This infamous independent venue has been historically known for its interior décor that features a giant shark with piercing red eyes and menacing teeth above the main bar, looking right at the stage. This atmosphere was prime for the crowd to quickly start trickling in once the doors opened at 8:00 P.M.
It’s never surprising to see that J Boog managed to pull in a full house at any particular venue in California, however, the fact that this show was right in the middle of the week made it even more impressive. The folks that were in attendance wanted to be there at all costs, and they didn’t really care about the next day hangover or waking up for work.
When Mike Love promptly took the stage at 9:00 P.M., I really didn’t know what to expect. I was told by The Pier’s photographer, David Norris, that Love’s style would be different than anything I’ve ever heard. He told me to pay attention to the looping techniques Love would use.
Mike Love’s band is comprised of three people: Mike Love, as singer, guitarist, and pedal-looping master, along with a percussionist and bassist. The first song of his set started out with a simplistic loop created by Mike Love himself on vocals. He would then loop that specific section and work on another loop, continuously repeating these loops to create an array of rhythmic sounds to complement his voice throughout the song. The bassist would lay down his own bass line and the percussionist on the opposite side would also loop some sounds at the beginning of songs and then continue playing on top of the layered tracks.
What’s very important to point out here is that the only man responsible for making sure all the loops were in order was Mike Love. When they first came out, Mike Love took a seat, and I thought his stage presence would be lacking because of that. On the contrary, once I realized the number of pedals Mike Love controlled with his bare feet while playing guitar and singing, it was clear that it would be best for him to sit through this performance.
The level of coordination and timing to be able to accomplish these loops while on stage must have taken years to master. Overall, Mike Love’s style of music is primarily reggae, with hints of Latin influences in the percussion section, while dabbling with dub effects during some of his songs.
The venue, in the meantime, had reached capacity in no time, and it seemed clear by the reactions of the crowd to the overall performance that Mike Love delivered, that they were amazed by this opening act. It’s unusual to have two of three members in a band sitting down while performing and still be able to get the crowd going.
Not too long after Mike Love had made his mark on the attendees, another reggae band by the name of Hot Rain took the stage. This band was more mobile with their stage presence, and was able to move the crowd during some points in their set. Their most memorable moments were thanks to their keyboardist who was able to recreate the sounds of some brass-wind instruments during a few of the band’s songs. Another memorable moment was when the keyboardist started playing the infamous James Bond Theme Song-Riff. While credit must be given to the band for being able to keep the crowd alive, their reggae music was a bit repetitive overall and I couldn’t wait for J Boog to take the stage.
Around 11:30 P.M. J Boog was given a big musical introduction, as he was welcomed to the stage by the rest of the Hot Rain Band. For those who are unfamiliar with a live show by J Boog, you might be surprised to find out that their songs come across as heavy reggae, meaning that the guitars are distorted in some parts of the song, while the elements of reggae are still audibly present – This primarily occurred during “Coldest Zone,” from the band’s self-titled EP that was released in 2011.
When J Boog played “Mary Jane” a few people were met with the unfortunate surprise of being greeted by security that was instructed by management to escort these individuals outside. Luckily for some, the majority of people who got away with smoking inside the venue vastly outnumbered the handful that was forced to leave.
It’s my guess that the piercing red eyes of the shark on the ceiling had been a direct result of people smoking weed.
Near the end of the set, J Boog finally delivered the band’s biggest hit to date, “Let’s Do It Again.” It was at this precise moment, not a second before, that the crowd collectively sang along to J Boog’s biggest hit. Ultimately, this wouldn’t be the last song of the night, as the crowd demanded, through cheers and chants, for more live music. J Boog granted that wish, and ended the night with “Sunshine Girl,” from the latest album, Backyard Boogie.
It was clear that great times were had by everyone in attendance and the likely hangover most had following the show will was well worth it. The sound is always on point, the lights are spot on, and the music was imported directly from Hawaii. Nothing says summer more than going to a Hawaiian reggae show at a venue a few hundred feet from the beach on a warm September night.
J Boog Set List:
2.) Coldest Zone
3.) Give Thanks
4.) Break Us Apart
6.) Old Medley
7.) Love Affair (One Verse)
8.) Hook and Out
9.) Lifetime Lover (One Verse)
10.) Hook and Out
11.) Police and Thieves
13.) Every Little Thing
14.) Mary Jane
15.) Bomb Buds
16.) Let It Blaze
17.) Hear Me Roar (Fancy Remix)
18.) Musical Breakdown
19.) Love Season
20.) Leaving With Me
21.) Lets Do It Again
23.) Sunshine Girl
J Boog Music Website
Hot Rain Facebook
Mike Love Website
Article by: Juan Barragan
Photos by: David Norris
More photos from the event…