Review: Rebelution fill Jannus Live with positive vibes for the first of two sold-out shows in St. Petersburg
Wednesday night’s sold-out Rebelution show at Jannus Live is all the evidence anyone needs to know reggae rock has a thriving community of positive energy seekers in the Tampa Bay area.
On their just released fourth LP, Count Me In, Rebelution has a track called Roots Reggae Music, and the quintessential lyrics summed up the vibe on night one of their two-night stand at Jannus Live: “We wanna move, we wanna groove / We wanna move, we wanna play it non-stop / Because you can't stop this feeling / You can't stop this groove / Can't stop this music / You can't kill this mood.”
The devotion of the community was shining all throughout the night with a completely packed house of Aztec pattern and band T-shirt-wearing revelry that started at the early hour of 6:30 p.m. and was maintained until Rebelution's final bow at around 11 p.m.
So now that St. Pete has dutifully teed up Thursday’s round-two performance, here are a few tips for navigating the sold-out show.
1. Go for all the bands. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the first band takes the stage at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night’s show featured California’s Stick Figure as the opener with Hawaii’s The Green playing second. While the lineup might alternate, you don’t want to miss the tone-setting of these two talented groups. Keep your eye out for the impeccable stage presence of Cocoa, Stick Figure’s tour dog. Iration goes on before Rebelution and on night one, they put on a bass-heavy set full of fan favorites like Falling and Summer Nights. There was also a nod to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with a cover of Mary Jane's Last Dance that was a lot of fun.
2. Hydrate. It’s summer in Florida at an outdoor venue. Staying hydrated should be a given, but I saw four people pass out during last night’s festivities; two were carried out by security. Jannus security handled the situations with the quickness, but here is your warning: Do not overdo it on the alcohol, and drink a lot of water so you can soak up the love of this music all night long. Another, more secret tip: There are a few fans sprinkled throughout the venue. If you are feeling overheated, leave the crowd and find a blowing fan.
3. Be polite. Sold-out shows in June at Jannus tend to feel overly crowded and can be stagnant at times, which can typically lead to people being frustrated with one another. But this is a Rebelution show, where most fans show up with an open heart and communal sensibility. As you walk through the crowd, show respect by saying “excuse me” and “thank you,” and you're sure to move about the venue with ease. Mahalo.
4. Listen to Count Me In. Currently No. 1 on the Billboard Reggae Chart, you will definitely have an enhanced experience if you’re familiar with the chill new Rebelution tunes. The new album is the reason for the tour, after all. The Santa Barbara, Calif. rockers opened the show with Outta Control off 2009’s album Bright Side of Life and from there played several songs from previous efforts before putting the new music on sonic display, starting with the title track and including some of my favorites, More Love and Roots Reggae Music.
5. Pace your energy so you are going strong for Rebelution. Since I already told you to get there early to hear all four bands on the bill, I’ll now advise you to definitely pace your energy so you are around for the entire Rebelution set.
Night one’s performance was phenomenal in terms of energy. Lead singer Eric Rachmany is fully confident in his command of the sound. The saxophone interludes by New Orleans-native touring member Khris Royal oozed out of the instrument and into the consciousness of the swaying crowd.
As a band whose first full-length LP was called Courage to Grow, the five-member outfit has definitely grown, and they showed that by fully connecting with the approximately 2,000 people at Wednesday night’s Jannus gig with a solid set meant to promote a new album.
-- Amber McDonald, tbt*