February 23rd at House of Blues
By: Vanessa Gershbein
On February 23rd, Tribal Seeds, a reggae band based in San Diego, took over House of Blues with their Winter Roots Tour. Despite this being my first experience seeing a reggae band live, I could not have been more satisfied. Not only were the performers entertaining and amusing, but the crowd was fun and lighthearted; a mix that is hard to find in Boston’s rougher music culture.
Although the night started out very stagnant–with scattered couples huddling around the corners of the House of Blues–the night escalated into a filled room with people bumping, swaying, and actively participating in the musical festivities. Nattali Rize, an Australian singer, opened the night off with a soulful and socially conscious set. Among her songs were “Generations Will Rise” and “Rebel.” She promoted powerfully political and spiritually driven messages, which were profoundly empowering and rooted in political activism. She set the vibe for the rest of the concert, often taking time to talk to the crowd; all of the performers made an active effort to engage with the audience. They had call and response segments and encouraged clapping and other unifying actions that helped create a positive climate within the venue.
Raging Fyah, a five person reggae band from Kingston, Jamaica, took the stage next. Racing Fyah has a rock vibe, infused with a soulful reggae sound. Their latest album, Everlasting (out on the Dub Rockers), made up most of their set, although they have two other albums out– 2011’s Judgement Day and 2014’s Destiny. The lead vocalist, Bent, has an impressive soothing, rhythmic, and hypnotic quality to his voice. The vocals harmonized well with the blues and rock sound created by the guitarist Courtland White, drummer Anthony Watson, pianist Demar Gayle, and bass player Delroy “Pele” Hamilton. With this, it culminated in a wonderfully delightful sound – at one point they had the audience stomping to keep a beat as they played.
Tribal Seeds has a refreshing rock vibe but the group is rooted in the style of reggae. Their tour consisted of a repertoire from their 2014, full studio album Representing. Tribal Seeds is made up of six members; Steven Rene Jacobo, Victor Navarro, Ryan Gonzo & Luis Castillo, Danny Lopilato, and Jamey “Zeb” Dekofsky. Throughout their performance the members often shifted rolls, showcasing each of their various talents. Most members doubled as vocalists for at least one song during their performance, a feature that made their set particularly entertaining and unique. Collectively, Tribal Seeds had a mesmerizing and playful performance style, jumping around the stage most of the set.
At the end of the concert, everybody who performed throughout the night came back on stage and gave the audience a musical sendoff, with many of the artists showing off their rapping skills. I walked away from this concert reveling in the amount of talent I saw all across the board.