Hawaiian raised self described indie reggae rock group Iration performed in front of a sold out show at Showbox Sodo on January 21, 2011 supporting Rebelution’s Winter Greens Tour. Battling a wicked cold, I got doped up on Dayquil and ventured out on that cold winter night to check it out.
Having been to Showbox Sodo on numerous occasions for a wide variety of shows, this was my first experience with such a mellow and unbelievably friendly crowd. And more eclectic than I have ever experienced! Hipsters, skaters, Microsofties and hippies rubbed elbows in the cavernous space – it was something to see! I managed to snag a chair at a small table occupied by a cute young couple named Sylvia and Nathan, in exchange for lively discussion and a Flotzam business card. (Side note: my first assignment, and imagine my surprise at the number of people who approached me asking what I was writing? What did I just write? Who did I work for? What did I think?) Iration performed in the middle of the lineup, after L.A. based funk group Orgone and before the tours headliner, Santa Barbara based reggae group Rebelution.
Iration opened their set with an amazing song sans vocals, marked by the simple and repetitive chord structures and beats that we know and love about this kind of music. With more of a “traditional” reggae sound than the first group, the crowd immediately shifted gears and settled into the hypnotic head bobbing and hand waving I was expecting. With delicious keys and a wailing and grinding guitar, I embraced that familiar 2/4 beat that defines this genre. For their second song, they performed their hit “Time Bomb” and that got the crowd REALLY riled up! (This 2010 title track has been as as high as #12 on the US iTunes reggae singles chart.) It was during this song that I really noticed what an incredible stage presence this group has. They come across as being very relaxed and in tune with one another. I enjoy this, and it makes watching them feel very comfortable and totally confident in the show they are giving you. Next up is “Cookie Jar” a single that reached number one on a local station in Hawaii and was featured on Fuel TV’s Triple Crown of Surfing recap. This song has a very warm, “beachy” feeling and highlights the talents of the groups incredible drummer. The song is also carried by amazing vocals and a simple keys section that crescendos up, up, up – embellished by a simple soft guitar. “Get Back to Me” as well, builds and builds, gets the crowd clapping and employs the classic call and response that audiences love to get into. Crowd participation is big on this song – I adore it. (Side note: cold medicine is working, I am totally amped – but with the loss of taste and smell, my whiskey is like a spicy water, and I can’t smell the pot, but I know it’s there…I haven’t lost my sense of sight, after all!)
During their entire set I was extremely drawn in by the vocals. Vocals and lyrics are very important me; I have a pet peeve for vocalists without diction, cupping the mike, singing too fast. These vocalists have me! They are clear and crisp and confident. The night ends with top notch performances of “Electricity”, “I’m With You” and “Turn Around”. It seems as if the sold out crowd knows every song. I resolve to go home and learn them too.
According to their website, Iration was recently named one of iTunes’ “Best Upcoming Artists.” I can rally around this statement with confidence. This is a clean, tight group that seamlessly combines elements of traditional reggae with a modern edge and their own relaxed and self-assured style. Besides, a sold out crowd at Showbox Sodo who sings along with every song doesn’t lie. These boys are Seattle favorites for sure. Iration’s next record - Fresh Grounds EP - is scheduled for an iTunes debut release on February 1, 2011.
Got a chance to do an email interview with Micah Pueschel from Iration, who play tomorrow night at Showbox Sodo. Pretty interesting as far as a band that has really really embraced the internet – pick the internet meme and they are on it. Was curious about this and other things, which you can read about below:
You seem very internet savvy -- lots of videos on YouTube, photos on Flickr, blogging from your phone, etc. Do you think this has helped your popularity? Is there a downside to all this exposure, to the internet?
There are always pluses and minuses to everything and the internet is no different. You do open yourself up to public criticism and you have to be able to deal with it. But yes, it has helped a great deal.
You've answered over 400 questions on FanBridge! (http://iration.fanbridge.com/fan_questions) How has that been? Are there any questions that fans asked that you decided not to answer?
We had some questions on fanbridge that went a little overboard so we tend to answer the non anonymous ones.
Why is it called The Winter Green tour?
Winter Green is in reference to the tour being as 'green' as possible environmentally.
Twitter or Facebook?
Email or SMS?
Apple or Microsoft?
Digital or analog?
Old school or new school?
Spliff or jay?
Ego or id?
Ego, id and super ego (psych major over here!)