Iration – Tales From The Sea Tour Review VIP Experience
By: Lesa Browning
Last night I had the pleasure of enjoying a great night of Reggae. Iration brought their Tales From The Sea Tour to Spokane, Washington as they travel across the country in preparation to release a new album sometime this summer. Supporting Iration was Stick Figure and Hours Eastly.
Iration played the spokane Knitting Factory, a 1,500 capacity music venue widely considered as a Northwest premier concert venue, restaurant and club. I am a regular here, artists of all genres come through Spokane and the “Knit” is the common stop for non arena shows. I must admit, Reggae is not a genre that I profess to be super knowledgable on. I dabble at best. Before going to the show last night I was only somewhat familiar with the headliner and had not even heard of the two opening acts. Wanting to know more about Iration, I decided to pony up for the special “VIP Meet & Greet Package Upgrade” so I could learn a little more about the band before the show. This turned out to be a good choice.
The VIP Experience:
There was just a small group for the VIP experience, less than 20 people. This made for a more intimate experience and allowed everyone more time in a relaxed setting. We met up at the venue at 4:00 pm and were greeted by a member of the Iration team. We checked in and were given lanyards and some fun tour merch. including a can coozie, a magnet, temporary tattoo and a photo frame for the polaroid photos we would be taking with the band.
We were then ushered into the floor area of the venue, right next to the stage where the band was warming up. They introduced themselves and chatted with the group, asking for requests. There was some fun banter between a couple fans who had requested some very old songs and eventually we all decided “as a group” on what we really wanted to hear. It was all fun and the band made everyone feel welcomed as we got to hear our own little private show. Next up would be our photos and meet & greet session. Probably due to the small size of our group, the band took plenty of time to introduce themselves and make small talk with each of the fans. It was really fun and gave us all a little insight into the personalities of these six talented people. The photos were polaroids, which have come a long way over the years and provided the instant gratification of going home with your special souvenir. The fun all ended about 5:00 for us, but we were at the front of the meet up line, so maybe 5:30 for those at the end. Overall I would say doing the VIP experience was well worth it. VIP ticket holders did not have to wait in line when they returned for the main show, they were allowed to bypass the line and go in first for their choice of table seating or up front GA spots. There was also a very large merch area for all three bands and I thought it was well stocked with great stuff, especially by Stick Figure. VIP ticket holders had the option to shop early before the crowds came.
Show Time begins with Hours Eastly:
The show started on time with Hours Eastly. This band was completely new to me but I was instantly taken by them. Hailing from Jacksonville, Florida, Hours Eastly is comprised of Mark Hodges on bass & vocals, Joey Petnam on guitar and Darrin Lindsay on drums. This trio comes together to produce a sound that is what I would call Rock with a Reggae twist. Whatever you want to call it, it is good. I was not alone in this opinion as everyone around me was talking about this band saying things like “who are they again?” and “they rock!” When no one knew their name by the third song, and the Soundhound app was no help, I finally went to the bartender and asked if she knew the name of the band on stage. Luckily the Knit has a great upstairs bartender and she filled me in. Rock is exactly what these guys continued to do. The crowd was just starting to fill in and was appreciating the sounds coming from the stage. Hours Eastly really had the crowd going as they were literally just walking in the doors. Great stage presence. I have since gone back and listened to all three of their CDs and I am impressed. One of my favorites is probably their song “Pretty Little Face” from the early album Florida Farrago way back in 2008. Next came the Vol. 2 album in 2009 and a great song titled “Not Me”. In 2012 they released an EP titled “Eat The Planes” with six songs, all seem wildly popular. My favs are “Rock the Boat” and “Shoot Me Dead.” Hours Eastly is planning to release their new album “Monster” soon and I plan to buy it when it is released.
Next up Stick Figure:
When Hours Eastly wrapped up their set I made a quick trip down to the merch section. What I found was loads of stuff for sale! I am a sucker for two things, good tee shirts and vinyl. There was plenty to choose from including vinyl from both Iration and Stick Figure. (of course I bought both as well as tee shirts from all three bands) There were also loads of people streaming in, the Knit was filling up fast! I made my way back up to the special spot we were in upstairs, as members of the Knitting Factory, we do avoid the typical scramble for space. It was not long before Stick Figure took the stage.
Stick figure has an interesting history, having released four studio albums with only Scott Woodruff as the “one man band” and then the fifth with Woodruff and a full studio band. All of these with much success. It was not until 2012, after the release of the fifth album “Burial Ground” that the current group was formed by adding Kevin Bong on keys, Kevin Offitzer on drums and Tommy Suliman on bass. This new group, along with Cocoa the tour dog, would form what we all saw last night as an amazingly entertaining and talented Reggae Rock band. Yeah, I can’t leave out “rock” because that is what these guys inspired in everyone in the room, rockin’ out. They had the crowd movin’ and groovin’ from the start and if their job was to warm up the fans for Iration, it was a job well done. These guys have great stage presence and the crowd loved every minute of it. Some of their biggest fan favorites are “Vibes Alive,” “Livin’ It,” “Heartland” and my personal favorite “Breathe.” With loads of percussion and so much energy, it is really hard not to love these guys from the start. (Cocoa the tour dog? Not so high energy… but adorable) Stick figure is set to release a sixth studio album in 2015 and it is being heralded by some as the most anticipated album in Reggae music.
Finally! The Main Event… Iration!
I think it was getting late, but none of us noticed or cared as we were having so much fun. After a very brief break to reset the stage it was finally time for what we were all waiting for… IRATION! I am not kidding when I say the crowd went wild. Now, this was a chill group, in a state where recreational marijuana use is legal I might add…. But they got a little crazy when the band came out. It was crazy fun. Frontman Micah Pueschel was very clear with the crowd that it was Saturday night, we had no place to be the next day and we were there to party. The audience was very much in agreement. And party we did. No messing around, there was very little chit chat from the stage. The band played songs from all of their albums, from what fans around me indicated anyway. (much more knowledgeable people in my midst were filling me in) They started early on playing a new song, which we all agreed was a keeper, reportedly from their new album due out soon. The crowd danced and sang to EVERY song which tells me that these six native Hawaiians have plenty of fans here in chilly Washington state. The crowd got really excited when they played a cover of the classic Bob Marley song “Is This Love” and encouraged everyone to sing along. But THE most fan involved song of the night had to be the hit song “Falling” from the 2010 album Time Bomb. It went on for a while and I think I saw girls actually shedding tears… No joke. (OK, I am making fun of the silly girls, but I actually do love this song!)
Iration was awesome. I loved every minute of the show and enjoyed meeting the band. These guys are amazingly talented, fun and the recent changes to their line up have not seemed to shake them professionally at all. They seem to be moving full steam ahead and doing it with great success. I look forward to the new album and to my next chance at seeing them live. (Maybe the next time they are back in Hawaii….)
- Cayson Peterson – Keyboards
- Joseph Dickens – Drums
- Adam Taylor – Bass
- Joseph King – Dub Controls, Live Sound
- Micah Pueschel – Guitar, Vocals
- Micah Brown – Guitar, Vocals
You can find more information on all of the bands that rocked the Knit last night on their sites listed below:
Stick Figure: www.Stickfiguremusic.com
Hours Eastly: http://hourseastly.bandcamp.com