Live: Passafire & Tatanka (10-30-11)

Live: Passafire & Tatanka (10-30-11)

Date: Sunday, October 30th, 2011
Line up: Passafire & Tatanka
Location: Crescent Ballroom Phoenix, Arizona

With the doors of Downtown Phoenix, Arizona’s Crescent Ballroom firmly opened, for the first time the nightclub hosted a reggae-rock band. Without a doubt, Savannah, Georgia’s Passafire opened the floodgates for a plethora of touring acts in the community. Phoenix has been a hotspot for reggae-rockers on tour, now there is a new venue for quality live music.

The standing room only crowd filtered into the dimly lit, rustic venue as the local showcase, No Coast, brought their mix of reggae and punk to the bill. It wasn’t the first sounds of sweet reggae the patrons absorbed, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last.

Passafire brought the Colorado based reggae jam band, Tatanka, on the road for their headlining, coast-to-cost fall tour. It was evident the tour was at its height, as the three-pieced rocky mountain band was in full spirit, yet playing injured.

As the lead singer and guitarist, Champian, jumped about the stage encouraging the crowd’s interaction, Malone (keyboard/synthesizer) stood idly by his keyboard rack with his right arm in a sling. A broken arm skateboarding days ago was the unfortunate culprit. However, Tatanka’s sound continued on uninterrupted.

At times, Mike DeGuzman, Passafire’s man behind the keys, stepped in and shared the stage with Tatanka to beef up the sound inside the ballroom. And the crowd responded to their dubstep ballads, making use of the expanding dance floor.

The walls didn’t quite comedown as Passafire hit the stage, but the crowd attempted as much. Opening up with “Divide,” from their critically acclaimed album Submersible, Passafire then unleashed nearly half of their new album on the ears of the Phoenix public.

Passafire’s latest, and fourth, studio album titled, “Start From Scratch” is almost an oxymoron. Their studio production quality and live artwork comes together during their set flawlessly. The added bonus is seeing Ted (guitar/vocals) and Will (bass/vocals) bounce off of each other during countless instrumental interludes. Afterall, Passafire did learn from some of the best showmen in the scene, Pepper.

After unveiling new tracks “Dimming Sky,” “Kiss My Head,” and “Trainwreck,” Passafire reached into their bag of tricks on the night before Halloween and brought back past favorites like “Ghost Man,” “Feel It,” “Barcelona” and “Kilo” before closing their set.

In this time of live music, the performers always want to play more, and the fans absolutely want to get their money’s worth. The lights went black for only a minute. Fans barely had time to think about calling for an encore before Ted and Will returned to the stage with acoustic guitars in hand.

Passafire’s song of choice was “Epiphany”. A calming affect filtered throughout the club after a hard-hitting night of reggae beats and heart-thumping basslines. Yet, there was still time for one more rodeo in “the pit”. The final notes of “Submersible” rang true throughout the crowd, and there were nothing but smiles, both on stage and among the attendees.

Ted leaned into the microphone one last time and belted out, “Phoenix, we love you!” Now, it is only a matter of when Phoenix and Passafire will meet again for another affair.

– Article by: Kris Siuta
– Photos by: Bill Colbridge
(Photos were used from shows on separate events)

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