Thursday night we headed to a sold out show at Highline Ballroom to see Stick Figure. I had not scene Stick Figure play live before and was honestly not familiar with much of their work aside from their newest 2015 release Set In Stone. I was intrigued to learn more about this band built around the talents of one man who writes, records, produces and performs all the songs on the album.
Raging Fyah was the opening set, coming from Kingston, Jamaica the do not play New York very often and I was excited. I missed what friends called an amazing show last time they played here at Milk River in Brooklyn. It was also great to see the mix of Caribbean reggae with West Coast reggae/rock as I think it opened Raging Fyah to a larger audience who would appreciate their music.
Raging Fyah put on a well balanced set, hitting classic tracks from their Destiny album released in 2014. Their new album Everlasting is due out May 27th. Jah Glory and Irie Vibe brought the tone to kick off the night. They closed with a beautiful cover of Dennis Brown ‘s Milk and Honey, which will be featured on the coming VP Records compilation We Remember Dennis Brown.
Following Raging Fyah, Fortunate Youth took the stage in a literal blaze of fire. The lead singer walked on carrying a giant blow up plastic joint. Kicking right into Pass The Herb, off their 2015 Don’t Think Twice album, they fired up a joint, passed it around stage and into the audience. While the crowd already had a halo of smoke, this set the tone for the rest of the show as the sweet aroma filled the air.
This past week we were able to catch up with Tomorrows Bad Seeds as they came through New York City’s Gramercy Theatre with Common Kings. We sat down before the show with lead singer Moises “Moi” Juarez, guitarist Sean Chapman, guitarist Matthew “Mets” McEwan, drummer Patrick Salmon and bassist Andre Davis. Here is what they had to say.
Reggae In NYC (RN)
Tomorrows Bad Seeds (TBS)
RN: How has it been touring with Common Kings?
TBS: It’s been amazing. We have been friends for a long time and we come from a similar area in California. They are from Orange County. We are from Los Angeles. We met in Hawaii in 2012. We did a whole tour; Maui, Big Island and Oahu. That’s where we linked up and became good friends and then just recently we signed with Regime Management, who also manages the Common Kings and that’s where now there is even more an inner link. We are pretty blessed, but the tour has been so great. The response has been great and the Kings are our boys, so it’s been nothing but fun.
RN: I know the band was on hiatus for a while, as you explored some other projects what has brought you back together and touring?
This past week we were able to catch up with the Common Kings as they came through New York City and the Gramercy Theatre on The Hits & Mrs. Tour. We sat down before the show with lead singer JR King, guitarist Taumata “Mata” Grey, bassist Ivan Kirimaua and drummer Jerome Taito. Here is what they had to say.
Reggae In NYC (RN)
Common Kings (CK)
RN: You have done some amazing tours with Justin Timberlake, Soja, Rebelution, just to name a few, how has it been headlining this tour?
CK: We have done headline tours before, but this one is special because it’s the first time on the East Coast. Usually, we just hit the southern states. Overall the tour has been great all around, every show we’ve had good turnout.
RN: What have been some of the memorable moments so far?
CK: D.C. was crazy. They showed a lot of love. It was probably because of the venue, it had low ceilings so everyone was just packed in there at the Rock and Roll Hotel. It’s a big time, well-known, punk rock venue, but it was dope. The crowd was live.
RN: Last time you were here were you at The Gramercy?
CK: We were supposed to, but it got snowed out. It was our first show that ever got cancelled. But this time we brought the Cali weather.
The Common Kings came to NYC last year, but the winter put an end to the show before it even started. A blizzard hit and the show was snowed out. Having missed them last year, I had to be there this time around and it seems NYC was finally ready. Nothing could be the more perfect setting then a 70 degree March Wednesday evening, putting everyone in a good mood and ready for a great show. Make sure you check back for the full interview we had with them before this show.
The show started with a set by local Long Island band Oogee Wawa. At 7:00pm there is usually an empty house, with stragglers grabbing beers, close friends and family and a few diehard fans. But Oogee Wawa is no normal band. They opened their set to an almost full house. After touring extensively, they have built up a large fan base who made sure they were well represented here in their home town. With upbeat tracks like Tips and more somber numbers like Jump Off they set the tone for the night. Oogee Wawa’s awesome mix of reggae, rock and hip hop showed why they have such a big local fan base and have been honored with opening for Steel Pulse when they come to town. I can’t wait for their next show.
Following a rocking opening set, Tomorrow Bad Seeds took the stage. They have been performing with Common Kings throughout this tour and this was my first opportunity to see them live. As soon as they started, the crowd was jumping, another group with loyal fans, no matter what city they are in. After a few songs to fire up the crowd, they paused to say, “I know it’s not legal here…” encouraging the crowd to fire up a spliff as they rocked a great rendition of Vices.