Live: Passafire (2-18-12)

Live: Passafire (2-18-12)

Date: Saturday, February 18th 2012
Line up: Passafire & Scholars Word
Location: The Social. Orlando, FL

Passafire begun the winter leg of their the Start From Scratch tour with four amazing shows around Florida. After touring around the Northeast and Midwest , including a few dates with Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds, Passafire headed back to the south, showing their Florida fans some love, by ending the tour with two great sets in Jacksonville and Orlando. The SOLD OUT Orlando crowd was blown away by Passafire’s explosive performance, and The Pier was there to catch it all.

The Social was pretty full before the first band even began. I got a chance to speak with Passfire’s Ted Bowne and what makes Passafire’s sound so unique, is that every band member is influenced by many different artists, and these influences seep into the Passafire sound. These guys love music, they see and listen to a good amount of artists. So when Ted said, “You got to watch this next band, we always go see them when they play in Savannah, GA” I knew the crowd was about to see something good…

Scholars Word took the stage around 10:30, and instantly stirred up the crowd when they dropped the first beat only verifying Ted’s endorsement. This band was certainly a cool surprise. Scholars Word has a familiar roots reggae sound as they’re very engaging with catchy dub sounds, that is real easy to jam along with. It was obvious the members of Scholars Word all have played for many years. They are really talented and were fun to watch tear up the stage. Their sound and style really reminded me of SOJA. Scholars Word was a great pick to open for Passafire.

I have never seen so many fans wearing Passafire shirts, or for that matter, I have never seen that many people wear that many band shirts to a concert at all before. Passafire fans seem super supportive. I told Ted that “Start From Scratch” is truly Grammy worthy, and when I asked him what Passafire thought about the fans voting “Start From Scratch” 2011 Pier Awards he said “I am honored, I can’t believe it! We have been playing a lot of the new stuff on the tour…the fans love it.”

It is amazing to see someone so truly humbled by his fans. The Members of Passafire took time to talk with everyone and it’s apparent that they don’t take their fans for granted. That has to be their secret. It is that positive energy on and off stage, matched with their amazingly unique sound that will propel them further.

As I walked around. I noticed a bunch of members of other bands in the crowd. Members of the Supervillains, Savi Fernandez, Innercoastal, among others all there to watch Passafire. I once read that Passafire is your favorite bands’, favorite band. I asked Ted about this, he said “yea Pepper said that! It’s really crazy!” You know a band has a real special sound when other bands, infamous bands, keep that band’s album on repeat.

Passafire has a reggae rock core that fuses multiple styles of music including, various forms of rock, funk, punk, psychedelic, country, acoustic, electric, and electronic synthesized effects. This musical style, mixed with well written songs, really reveals the way in which modern rock is moving. Passafire has evolved to new levels through the years. They are now touring with their fourth album, “Start From Scratch”. This album is an instant classic. It is said that what got you here, will not get you there. It seems as if Passafire used this mentality when creating the album. They kept their root sound while creating something completely and captivatingly modern.

By 11:30 The Social was shoulder to shoulder. After an hour of dancing and bouncing with Scholars Word, the jam packed crowd was more than ready for their favorite band. Passafire walked onto stage, Ted said “I guess there’s no point in wasting any time because you guys look like you are ready to go.”

Passafire went right into a song off the new album, “Kiss My Head.” That song is an excellent opener and instantly introduces the audience to the talents of Mike DeGuzman. The crowd bounces to his funky piano lines in first few bars of “Kiss My Head.” Then the pit goes crazy when Mike swings his guitar around walks upfront, and jams on the bridge of the song with Ted, and Will. On keys, melodica, keytar, guitar, and cowbell… Mike is a virtuoso and the addition has really opened a lot of doors, musically for Passafire. The band is now able to encompass a wider variety of musical genres into their unique mix of music.

Every part of the 18 song set was strong. The middle was particularly cool. Ted announced “don’t hurt anyone on this one” before playing “Reverie” with a cool piano interlude. Then they slowed down with an impressive acoustic version of “Dimming Sky.” During which Nick sat on a bass drum out front, hitting that and a tambourine for the beat, while Will switched over to a ukulele.

Toward the end of the set, Passafire broke out a cover of Miike Snow’s “Animal.” It’s a great cover, that they make their own, by adding their unique sound. Asking around.. the fans seem to really love the new song.

Around 12:30 the set ended with two older hits, “Barcelona,” and “Submersible.” These two songs are what helped Passafire gain their first fans, and the response of the crowd showed the love for these original hits. Once again, the crew didn’t hesitate, and came right back out for a quick encore. The band did a killer sing-a-long of the title track “Start From Scratch” and then ended with “Kilo.” Passafire destroyed! I could go on for pages, about every song, but it is really something you just have to go see. They did what every band should do after a show… leave the crowd wanting more.

Passafire Set list:
Kiss My Head >Feel It
Shapes and Colors (ft. Cowbell)
Ghost Man
Winter Wren
Leave the Lights On
Reverie (piano interlude)
Dimming Sky (acoustic ft. ukulele)
Rude Boi (by request, ft. piano & guitar interlude)
Who You Know (ft. melodica)
Bad Taste (ft. keytar)
Rubber Bands
Animal (Miike Snow cover)
Start from Scratch

Article & Photos By: Aaron Solomon