Kicking off their 2016 fall tour, San Jose pop-reggae outfit The Holdup took the Knitting Factory stage on Sunday night with support from Oogee Wawa (NY) and Brother Jerome (NJ). Each band brought their own distinct flavor of reggae to the Brooklyn venue. Brother Jerome with smooth, saxophone driven ballads, Oogee Wawa a powerful combo of rap and rock, and The Holdup's signature blend of R&B and pop hooks over reggae rhythms.
Leading things off was Brother Jerome, a quartet from Pompton Plains, NJ. Brother Jerome played much of their set as a trio because their drummer unfortunately got stuck in Miami due to Hurricane Matthew. Despite playing short-handed, the band still impressed with tender vocals from lead singer/guitarist Ryan Bria, and sweet tones provided by saxophone player Dan Chetnik. Towards the end of their set, Brother Jerome invited Oogee Wawa's Chad Chadwick to the stage to play drums. Chadwick, clearly a multi-talented musician, is actually Oogee Wawa's bass player, but he looked and sounded right at home behind the kit.
Following Brother Jerome, local favorites Oogee Wawa jumped on stage, performing with absolutely unrivaled energy. The Long Island-based band played several songs off their most recent album More Sand Than Money, including “Pretty,” “More Sand Than Money,” and “Late Night.” They also played two singles released earlier this year, “Just Another Day” and “Waiting on the Sunrise,” which was co-written with South Carolina reggae-jam band Treehouse!. Donning a black T-shirt with “Brooklyn” on the front, lead vocalist Jesse Lee Roenbeck delivered a barrage of clever rhymes throughout the night. Contrasting well with Roenbeck's raps, guitarist JP Aceto and drummer Nick Loiodice provided a number of extremely catchy choruses and verses. Already the unsung hero of the evening for filling in on drums for Brother Jerome, bassist Chad Chadwick had the audience in a frenzy when he jumped down from the stage and continued to stroke his bass guitar while dancing his way through the crowd. Oogee Wawa definitely left the stage warmed up for the headliners.
To close off the night, The Holdup entered the room dressed in all black attire (likely a nod to their band's name). The Holdup began by rattling off a few of their classics: “I'm Obsessed With Success,” “Hunnies,” and “Summertime Baby.” Mike Garmany, lead singer and founder of The Holdup, expressed his excitement to be playing in New York City for only the 2nd time. He also revealed that the band's new album would be titled “Leaves In The Pool,” and could be expected to drop in November.
The Holdup then played a few songs that will be on that upcoming record, including this year's hit single “Imperfections” and an unreleased track “Bullshit Job.” Other songs included fan favorites like “The Drugs” and “Girls Love Toast.” The set also included a cover of TLC's “No Scrubs” and a brief tease of “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John. The Holdup definitely have a special way of mashing up all of their musical influences and then putting their own unique stamp on it. That was on full display throughout their set, which they capped off with “Sativa,” a song from their 2012 album Consequence.
Sunday's show at the Knitting Factory marked another great night of reggae music at the cozy Williamsburg venue. Just a few days removed from Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad's show, and just ahead of Passafire's scheduled performance on October 14th. Brother Jerome, Oogee Wawa, and The Holdup each brought something special to stage Sunday night. Be sure to support The Holdup's new album once it releases, and check back in with Reggae In NYC for all upcoming reggae concerts in the city!