California Roots Reggae Festival
May 28, 2011
Monterey California, Monterey County Fairgrounds
It was a cold, rainy night in Monterey CA, but Iration still brought the heat. These Hawaiian natives had a lot to prove as headliners of day one of the 2nd annual California Roots Festival. Playing after big names such as Tomorrows Bad Seeds, Ooklah the Moc, and Tribal Seeds, I was worried they wouldn't prove to be worthy as headliners.Iration started their set with dub. Not only was it great to see the band jamming together, but it also built up anticipation towards what the first song of the night would be. So when lead guitarist Micah Pueschel started playing the main riff of “Wait and See”, the crowd was just as excited as they were when Iration first took the stage.
After playing the classics “Turn Around” and “Get Back to Me” from their “Time Bomb” album and the very appropriately titled “Summer Nights”, Iration really got things started. They brought up their buddy, Geoff Weers from The Expendables, to cover the song “Ganga Smuggling” by Eek a Mouse. Weers performed nothing shy of amazing, as he sang and danced on stage. He not only got the entire crowd cheering for him, but also all of Iration. They were able to take a break from the spotlight and just enjoy the moment.
Iration kept the energy level up as they played the fast paced “I'm With You” and their new song “Undertow.” But then they brought it back down with the song “All in You.” For this song, they brought up The Expendables lead guitarist, Raul Bianchi. Once again, Iration's use of other musicians made their performance much more enjoyable. Their songs weren't identical to the album, they brought something new and exciting to their live performance.
Now, it was time to get down to the meat of the show. Iration ended the night with arguably their three biggest hits; “Falling”, “Cookie Jar”, and “Time Bomb.” The band got us involved and had us sing lines from all three of these songs. As they strummed the last chord and crashed the final cymbal of “Time Bomb”, I was satisfied with what Iration had done, it was just about what I had expected. But the house music and lights didn't come on, and the crowd got louder and louder.
For the encore Pueschel took the stage by himself and played the acoustic hit from their new EP, “No Letter.” He didn't miss a note and sounded great by himself, but after he had finished with his time in the spotlight, the rest of Iration joined him on stage. I remember thinking about what else they could play, they had already done their biggest hits. So with none of their music left to play, they rocked one of my favorite songs by UB40, “The Way You Do the Things You Do.” The encore they played that night moved the show from the “B” category to the “A” category. Iration proved that they were without a doubt, a great headlining act.