Date: Wednesday, November 25th, 2015
Line Up: The Expendables, Thrive & Ribsys Nickel
Location: The Catalyst Club. Santa Cruz, CA
The Expendables Live @ The Catalyst. Santa Cruz, CA
Santa Cruz got Down Down Down with local boys The Expendables, Thrive and Ribsys Nickel as they took over the Catalyst Club last night for a Pre-Thanksgiving party. This show was a celebration of the reggae rock trifecta grown out of Santa Cruz, bringing the community together with the common interests of great music, memories, and party down!
Opening up the show was Santa Cruz’s OG reggae-rock, surf band, Ribsys Nickel who has been together since the summer of 1998. As we waited for the doors to open I over-heard a group of friends talking about how much Ribsys Nickel reminds them of the good old days of chilling on the beach, skating and causing ruckus around Santa Cruz.
They started their set with one of their top 10 hits, “Top Seed”. Santa Cruz local fans, who had come to see Ribsys were clearly die-hard fans that seemed to know all of the lyrics to their songs. Still in the first half of their set, they came out with a cover Steele Pulse with “Your house”. It was fun seeing a shift in the crowd from rowdy rock fans to old school Rasta lovers. On their final stretch, we heard their number one hit “L.I.V.I.N.” pumping up the crowd for the night with their lyrics “living the life till the party’s over.”
While I waited for the next band to come on, I spoke with some fans of the sold-out show, many of them had come back into town for the holidays and shared that the night before Thanksgiving is one of the biggest party nights is Santa Cruz. The Catalyst is a more intimate concert venue, making it a great place to see old friends and get closer to the bands.
Up next was Thrive, best known for their jazzy horns, powerful lyricism and master keyboardist Matt Masih. Thrive has experienced a bit of roller-coaster ride over the past 2 years with the loss of Saxophonist, Scott Schipper to cancer, and the recent change in bass players. I had the chance to speak with them before and after their performance about their new team. It was interesting to learn that before joining the band, Trumpet player Daniel Herrera had collaborated with Scott and they had recorded together on Thrive’s last album Relentless.
Their live set consisted of a varietal mix up of songs from both albums Gratitude Attitude, Relentless and their July 2015 EP. “Workin” being their highlight song of the night, included solo’s from Keyboard player Matt and Trumpet player Daniel. This was the song of the night where the crowd really let go; relaying the message that hard work pays off and once it does it feels so good!
What will 2016 look like for Thrive? Post playing, lead vocalist Aaron shared with me that they are halfway done with writing their next album. They were announced in the first round lineup release for California Roots 2016 and Thrive plans on having a couple new songs to dose their fans with.
The Expendables have spent the majority of this year on tour featuring their January 2015 album Sand in the Sky, so they thought why not come home and a throw a big bash just in time for the holidays? By the time The Expendables took the stage the crowd was anticipating them to come on hard rallying everyone. It was a bit surprising when they started off with lighter hits such as “Tight Squeeze” and “Let Her Go”. However, they didn’t waste much time as they transitioned into popular mosh pit songs, “Let Loose” and “Sacrifice”. One constant you can always expect from an Expendables show are a few rowdy mosh pits.
At the latter end of their set, we suddenly hear the beating of the keyboard as they lead into a cover of “I got 5 on It”, from artist Luniz. The addition of this song to their set brought the energy of the crowd to another level. The Expendables did a great job with their performance as it carried their fans through many different feelings; ranging from chilling out to getting down on the dance floor.
Concluding the night with “Bowl for Two”, lead singer Geoff split the crowd down the middle to sing along with him. Engaging fans by having one side sing “oh I packed this bowl for two” while the other side replied “and I’m gonna wanna smoke it with you”. He then turned the show into a who can sing it louder contest, where the losers are packing the next bowl. Everyone in the crowd was singing as loud as they could, I even caught the security guards joining in on the fun. This was the perfect way to end the party.
Moving forward The Expendables are playing another hometown show in Santa Cruz this Saturday. They plan to continue touring in 2016 and will be joining Thrive at The California Roots Music festival Memorial Day weekend.
1. Mother Earth
3. Looking Away
5. The Gift
7. Too Much Pressure
10. Better Day
The Expendables Set-List:
1. Tight Squeeze
2. Let Her Go
3. Starry Night
4. Ganja Smugglin’
5. Donkey Show
6. Music Move Me
7. Drift Away
8. Get What I Need
9. Bow For Two
10. Let Loose
11. Positive Mind
12. Down Down Down
The Expendables Website
Ribseys Nickel Website
Article by: Julia Goodman
Photos By: Robert Smith