February 15, 2014
On Saturday, Feb 15th I was privileged to bear witness to the fantastic Rock ‘n’ Roll spectacle that is Passafire Live (review of their album Vines). I won’t be graphic about where, but rest assured, folks… an itch was scratched.
First, a nod to the other bands; opening the show was Huntington Beach’s Pacific Dub, whose sound was tight, and polished, high energy and impressive both musically and visually. Make sure to check them out on the upcoming Van’s Warped Tour or their other tour dates when they hit your town.
Next up was Co-headliner Ballyhoo! – bringing with them an awesomely smooth blend of pop-punk and reggae dub rock. They kicked in hard and didn’t let up until the final strains, and I have to say, they know how to make asses shake. Lead singer / Guitarist Howi Spangler is a dynamic front man, impossible to ignore (I mean, the dude is like 6′ 7”) but keenly aware of his audience and how to connect with them. Well capable of headlining their own tour, I’ll make certain to see them again next time I have the opportunity.
Lastly, the night took a step up when Passafire hit the stage, bringing in a more aggressive blend of rock and dub-rock, dual vocal leads with incredible harmonies that held up live extremely well, and one of the tightest rhythm sections I’ve ever witnessed (which I noted from the Vines release I reviewed recently, but was all the more impressed with live).
To call these guys polished is to say Mona Lisa is some broad who didn’t like smiling. Passafire not only brought it musically, but managed to command the stage in a way that was organic, real, and without pretense. I can’t speak enough of how hard these guys pushed it onstage. I’m certain bassist Will Kubley and singer/ guitarist Ted Bowne had to have dropped 3-4 lbs. in sweat in that one set.
Get hip to all these bands, but aspiring bands, take note – this is how Rock ‘n’ Roll shows are done.