Rebelution In Vancouver
Commodore Ballroom – Vancouver, BC
Positive vibes filled the air among other things Sunday night at Commodore Ballroom with Cali Reggae/Roots band Rebelution holding court over several hundred BC stoners. I use the term stoners bluntly because I’m not sure any of the evening’s attendees would ever take offence to the label. It was a relaxed but vibrant crowd. Amidst a thick green haze that snaked inside and outside of dancers, there was in fact music being played-good music.
The boys from Santa Barbara in Rebelution have released five albums since 2007 and are droping into Vancity on their Winter Greens Tour. Throughout the year the group tour extensively; playing California Roots and Reggae festivals as well as worldwide at mainstream festivals such as Glastonbuy Bonaroo and Outside Lands.
Rebelution’s music displays an impressive mix of thoughtful lyricism and high level musicianship. They are one of few bands that in my view sound better live than they do on the album. Tracks like Feeling Alright from their debut album Courage To Grow are filled with introspective verses. “It’s a struggle everyday we’re stressin’/ What’s a life without dedication.” Their catalogue features songs that are as much about the state of your mind as they are about the state of our world. Couple those words with a dynamite horn section of trumpet and alto sax along with the dextrous guitar work of lead singer Eric Rachmany and you have a high level offering of reggae and roots music. This band is not what you may think. Surfers and stoners are only a chapter in the Rebelution story.
Their ninety minute set started with up-tempo reggae bouncers De Stress and Outta Control; the latter featuring solo trades between saxophonist Khris Royal, trumpeter Zach Meyerowitz and Rachmany on guitar. The trio had people front to back jumping. Into the back half and slow burners Green To Black and 2014’s Roots, Reggae Music hypnotized. As smoke cleared (a little) and lights came up; the faces of the masses that spilled out onto Granville street were lit up with jubilation. It was time for the night to end. As Rachmany proclaims on the band’s breakthrough track; “When we come down, oh yeah, we’ll be dreaming Safe and Sound”. I have a feeling on this Sunday night Rebelution put everyone to bed satisfied.
+ Gavin Reid