Date: September 21st 2012
Line up: Tribal Seeds & Ballyhoo!
Location: High Dive. Gainesville, FL
Over the recent past, The Pier has been fortunate enough to be able to catch Tribal Seeds play their unique blend of reggae, at several big shows around California. Now, well into their month long twenty date run of the Night & Day Fall Tour, Tribal Seeds with special guest, Ballyhoo!, have hit east side of the nation! The Pier was able to catch the tour in Gainesville for the first show of the long Florida weekend, before raging around the peninsula, and then home, after a few final shows throughout the Texas market.
Both bands live on the road, touring season to season. However, Tribal Seeds is from San Diego, and Ballyhoo! is based out of Maryland. The two bands have musical styles that are in the same genre, but are as different as their hometowns. Tribal Seeds has a real roots reggae sound and Ballyhoo is known for their party-like reggae-rock. For this tour Tribal Seeds and Ballyhoo! have joined forces to bring their devoted fan bases a fusion of East and West Coast reggae-rock.
How did this line-up form? Why are these bands, with different takes on the genre, playing a tour together? It may be as simple as both bands have the same booking agent, but there is more to it than that. As fans have seen over the past Summer, weirdly cool collaborative tours are the thing to do. Even if bands play with different styles, they are in the same musical community.
Artists and management have figured out that by branching out & combing bands that are as different as night and day, together the groups develop a broader fan base collectively. When two bands whom each have a hardcore fan base come together on a bill, the crowd is made up of the best of both crowds, and each band will attract new fans that they may not normally attract. This is a big part of the Reggae Rock scene’s evolving community & we need to continue to display our support!
The High Dive, is a small dingy bar venue with a capacity of about 400 people. Being used to seeing these bands on a large festival stage, this intimate setting was a welcomed change, reminiscent of a house party. The night started out slow as the local opener started. As people trickled in, Naked Jane played, warming up the system for the first hour.
Around 10:15 PM, Ballyhoo! took the stage to a crowd anxiously awaiting some sweet reggae music. As they played the first progression, Ballyhoo! instantly commanded the crowd. Effortlessly bringing the energy level of the room from zero to 60, in mere seconds! The Law Records’ reggae-rock veterans really changed up the set list from the last few times The Pier has seen the band perform. In their hour on stage, they played a nice blend of songs, laying into their new album, Daydreams, and also mixing it up with older hits and even several rarer tracks.
For their opener, they reached back in their discography and whipped out “Boner!”. A rarer track, from earlier in the bands career, released as the seventh track on Sense Boardwear’s 2007 Diamonds In The Ruff compilation disc. The Pier was also very excited to hear “Love Letters,” and “Scarlet Blue” live! Tracks featured on volume five and six of Sense Boardwear’s compilation discs. “Scarlet Blue” was very cool live, as the band cleverly went into Sublime’s cover of“Scarlet Begonias” during the song!
After tearing through fourteen songs, Ballyhoo! closed the set with a song that exemplifies the sound of the band, “Groove Rock.” With Ballyhoo! the energy doesn’t stop until the music does. With their party anthems, Ballyhoo! is one of the more fun bands to watch in the genre! By the time the ringing of Ballyhoo’s guitars had subsided, the venue was packed and pumped up to hear San Diego’s Tribal Seeds.
Right at 11:30 Tribal Seeds filled the tiny stage. The 90 minute headlining set, was filled with Tribal Seed hits, moving the crowd with their smooth lyrics, dense layers of instrumentation and sound effects. It is very rare to see younger players play roots reggae so well, but Tribal Seeds successfully accomplishes it with what seems like ease.
Toward the end of the set, I stepped outside into the smoking area, and ran into a fan wearing an older Tribal Seeds tee shirt. “I had to take a breather, its hot in there!… I can’t believe they are still going, they’ve played everything I wanted to hear!” He made a good point, the band played a good amount of songs that have become major hits in the scene recently, as well as a new song or two off their upcoming album.
The Encore of Tribal Seeds’ set was the highlight of the show. Full on energy, including a weed leaf Airzooka, blowing giant smoke rings into the crowd as the band came back to the stage! The DJ started up the intro track, and the six piece reggae outfit went into “Vampire” then right into Run the Dub,” an extended dub version of their new single “Run the show.” off their new album due out early next year. During this 15 minute encore Ballyhoo’s Howi Spangler came out & killed it for an unexpected verse! Then, surprisingly, E.N Young stepped onto the stage! Forced to work sound on his birthday, the rising reggae star chimed in on melodica to help close the set!
Tribal Seeds was great, however the sounds of live horns we missed. The crowd also was not as adoring or as into the band as they may be elsewhere like out west. Tribal Seeds plays roots music, which I feel is not appreciated as much on the east side of the nation.
After their set, when asked about the crowds, and fans on tour, Ballyhoo Front man Howi Spangler told The Pier ” It’s a different crowd. When we play, they seemed surprised and taken back a little, and we alter the set list to make it more laid back for the reggae crowd.. but as long as the crowd is rocking …it’s all good!”
There were fans that were obviously there to see Tribal Seeds and Ballyhoo!, but there were a lot of “plus ones,” or even “plus 3s and 4s.” A big portion of people there that night, came because their friend said “you got to come downtown and check out these bands.” This is an amazing thing for the scene and the reggae rock community however, the newer crowd makes for a slightly calmer scene. The night lacked the hordes of fans signing along to every word.
To promote their new album, Ballyhoo has been focusing on a new single every few months. First is was a music video and radio play for “Say I’m Wrong.” Then the group, released a video for “Last Night,” which played on the air waves around the nation, even winning the DC101 radio cage match!
Now the band is pushing the third track off their new album, “Walk Away” as the new radio single. With the new push, Ballyhoo has used their time in Florida wisely. First, the band did a special live streaming performance in the Orlando market on WJRR 101.1, and then before the Fort Lauderdale show, the band was hard at work in Port St. Lucie, filming the video for “Walk away,” which is expected out later in the Fall!
Generally, it was interesting to see the dissonance of west coast and east coast styles of reggae, and see how the fans react to the different styles of the genre. Tribal Seeds and Ballyhoo! make for a great show, together, or as separate headliners. Overall, it was a cool night of reggae-rock, and a good start to their third week of play on the Night & Day Tour.
Tribal Seeds Set List:
In Your Eyes>
All I Know
Dawn Of Time
Night & Day
Run The Dub
Ballyhoo! Set List:
Article By: Aaron Solomon
Photos By: Lorena Young