Groundation with Greenhouse Lounge

by Ora “Tre” Brasel
After enduring a less than pleasant experience in the world of reggae music just a few nights earlier, I went into this show worried about having a similar experience. Thankfully, this was not the case. It really is amazing how seeing something significantly different and original can so quickly bring you back around to feeling love for a type of music again. This show not only brought back the love I have for reggae music, but pushed it to new heights of appreciation that even concerts from various Marley brothers and sisters had never given me. Every aspect of this show pushed my senses into bliss overdrive from the opening band, Greenhouse Lounge, to the grand finale of Groundation’s deep, thoughtful and glorious presentation.
Starting off was the multi-faceted, incredibly talented local band, Greenhouse Lounge. These guys weren’t afraid to delve into multiple styles of music, and this almost instantly endeared me to them. Touching on everything from ambient, drum and bass, dub and, of course, reggae, they kept the audience fascinated with their ever-evolving set of sounds. The crowd had just started to form when they began their set, but it wasn’t long before they brought everyone to the stage and seemed to impress everyone in attendance, including myself. It was nice to see a band so willing to combine so many different elements to create such a complete work of art for everyone to experience and enjoy deeply.
Waiting right in front of the stage, it was mind-boggling to see how much equipment was being put out for Groundation to use. Eventually someone behind me mentioned that the band consisted of nine members, and I was quite taken aback that they were all going to attempt to cram themselves on Jack Rabbits’ small stage. Regardless of the tight quarters, once they took the stage it didn’t seem to be an issue to any of them as they quickly took their places to form one of the tightest units I have ever seen perform within any genre. Initially I was thinking I might gravitate to the back of the club to watch the rest of the show, but after the very first song I was so transfixed with what I heard that I didn’t want to move until the show ended. The reason this band is so captivating with their performance is how they manage to showcase each and every member’s astute musical ability, while at the same time still being there to offer their own touches to the overall landscape. The horn section, composed of both trumpet and trombone, often led your mind off into some sort of deep jazz trance when they took hold of you. The two drummers, one on a traditional drum set and the other on a mixture of congas, a snare and various other percussion instruments, both had the ability to make your body contort and move as if you were taking part in a tribal ceremony of the senses. Then there was the Hammond B-3/keyboard player, who channeled thoughts of some of the greatest keys players ever, in particular Ray Manzarek of the Doors. The bass guitar player was equally skilled, and on his solos took everyone another step farther into the trip we had all embarked on. To add even more compliments to the set were two beautiful girls at the side of the stage, adding the perfect background vocals to a nothing less than perfect performance. Last, but by no means least was the singer and guitar player, who not only dropped lyrics intended to and excelling at making you think on a deeper level, but also provided the perfect tones from his guitar that helped the crowd breath in all the life of beauty it had to offer.
The performance was captivating, alluring and heartfelt in a way that it will be hard to ever forget. I am so thankful I got the opportunity to come out and learn a thing or two about how deeply reggae could touch me. I truly believe this band has the power to turn a critic of the genre into a fan. Jah blessed me through the music of Groundation this evening and hopefully they will come back again someday very soon to repeat their blessing.