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Tomorrows Bad Seeds (featured above) and Iration brought down the proverbial house at Friday night’s show at the Roxy. The evening was a perfect example of the unifying power of surf-rock reggae music. Lots of young people filed into the jam-packed Roxy amid a torrential downpour outside (well, at least by LA standards). Concerts of this genre have been very successful lately in this area, and this show was no exception. The place was packed with a lively crowd, who were into each of the bands’ performances, cheering and in some cases singing along with the songs.

Opening the show was Mudluscious, an interesting Primus-inspired hip hop/rock fusion band. They were a pleasant surprise, due to their unique sound and tight, effective performance. This band might soon find itself in a nice niche in the Southern California scene, if this night was any indication. The lead singer rocked a pretty sweet moustache too. Next up was Natives of the New Dawn, another weirdly awesome jazz/rock fusion band with rapping, high-pitched soul-like vocals, and clever song structures. These gentlemen from Detroit have soul, and the result is an interesting and pretty impressive package onstage.

Then there was Tomorrows Bad Seeds, from here in Southern California. TBS is a band struck from the same type of mold as Santa Cruz’s the Expendables, with songs ranging from relaxing smoke-out jams celebrating a particular green leafy substance, to harder-edged reggae rockers, such as ‘Warrior Poet’, with which the band closed their set. In fact, the guys in Tomorrows Bad Seeds look like they could be buddies with the Expendables from the way they dress, their hair styles, and even their stage presence. The crowd seemed to enjoy the performance, even though a percentage of them seemed unfamiliar with the band. There were a healthy number of TBS fans in the crowd, who sang along with joy and gusto.

This is a genre of music that brings people together and makes everyone have a good time. The band had a nice tight sound, and their songs translated well live. Lead singer Moi is a solid front man with engaging stage presence. For their song, ‘Ready Fe Rock’, one of the guitarists took over MC responsibilities, and the result was a delicious hybrid of reggae and hip/hop that was a set highlight. (Check out the video below).

Overall, Tomorrows Bad Seeds demonstrated that they belong in the same conversations as the Expendables, Pepper, Rebelution, and other such bands in the emerging and popular reggae-rock movement going on in California.

Hawaii’s own Iration closed this show, and they also did not disappoint. The band’s songs were keyboard-driven, breezy numbers with island beats and good vibes. Hawaii seems to be a popular breeding ground for reggae-rock bands, already having exported Pepper, a band that continues to thrive and play sold-out shows across the country. Iration seems cut out of that same mold, and judging by the crowd reception at the Roxy, they should soon climb to the level of success felt by Pepper and other bands of this genre. One of the set’s highlights was opener ‘Cookie Jar’ (clip at end of this article). It had a good, smooth melody and helped prime the crowd for the rest of the night’s good times. It doesn’t matter that the type of music on display at the Roxy on Friday is not the most avant-garde or groundbreaking stuff around. The crowd loves it because it makes them feel good, and the bands clearly have a lot of fun putting on the show.

Smooth grooves, nice rhythms and infectious melody are at the forefront for these bands, and judging by this show and the recent HOB show by Santa Barbara’s Rebelution, the future looks very bright for bands of this genre.

Tomorrows Bad Seeds at the Roxy:

Iration – Cookie Jar live at the Roxy:

Pictures from the show below: