Rebelution & Iration Live From Santa Barbara Bowl (Live Review 8/7/23)

Rebelution & Iration Live From Santa Barbara Bowl (Live Review 8/7/23)

There is nothing quite like the nostalgic energy of a hometown show. For Rebelution and Iration, Santa Barbara is no exception.

Between early days off El Colegio to now twenty years later selling out the Bowl, they hold a special spot in their hearts for the place that brought them all together from day one. Both bands plus their openers, The Expendables and Passafire, soft-launched the second leg of their summer Good Vibes tour the past two nights in back-to-back, back-to-school Fiesta weekend Bowl ragers.

Some of the best highlights (and a few fun facts) from Sunday and Monday’s night’s shows:

Micah Puschel yelled “Viva La Fiesta” and effectively set the energy level for the whole night. #ICYMI Fiesta is the biggest party weekend in Santa Barbara, with a parade and rampant partying the first weekend in August every year for the past 99 years.

Iration sampled two of the most iconic 90’s rock riffs of all time: Blink 182’s “What’s my Age Again” Saturday and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” Sunday. No chance this was anyone but Micah Brown’s idea.

Expendables’ Geoff Weers called – and made the entire crowd call – Ryan DeMars “Bass Daddy”. No explanation necessary.

Rebelution’s visuals, period. First, they had giant Gandalf-style smoke rings at the opening of the set. THEN they paired bubbles and lasers for the dreamiest trip-inducing effect (see photos). Think confetti without the cleanup.

Iration’s cover of Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane”. Petty was a well-known fan of the Bowl – and Santa Barbara in general – and first played on that very same stage almost 50 years ago when it was little more than a grassy knoll.

Monday night Eric Rachmany admitted to the crowd he was feeling under the weather, then followed it up with “Thank God cannabis makes everything better”. Pretty sure the entire crowd sparked one up after that.

A tour bus alarm went off twice during Rebelution’s Sunday set. Word on the street is that Marley Williams was to blame, however that claim remains unsubstantiated.

The whole Bowl lit up with flashlights during “Fade Away”. The Bowl pitches upwards sharply, and you can get a good feeling for how many people were actually in there from the ground level in GA. Sources say both night’s were close to or met the 4,500 person maximum capacity.

All the surprise guests and instrument switching and covers. It really keeps things interesting. Rebelution’s set kinda feels like what I imagine a Dead show was like sometimes.

Rebelution’s tribute to the late, great Gregory Isaacs with their rendition of “Night Nurse”, Once a classic, always a classic. I feel like being obsessed with this song at one point in your life is a canon event for reggae fans.

Story and Photos by Allie Adams