Amidst the graffiti-decorated walls of the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma, there was an island vibe Wednesday night. The small, eclectic theater was packed to capacity to see Hawaiian reggae band The Green. Joining them on a palm tree-backed stage were duo the Wheeland Brothers and female sensation Hirie.
The Southern California siblings started the show by singing about what they know best: the beach and Mexican food. With hits like "Sand in My Sheets" and "Beans & Rice," they warmed up the growing crowd. Lead vocalist and guitarist Travis Wheeland was only missing his surfboard as he glided across the stage barefoot through their set.
There was a buzz in the air as the beautiful, charismatic Hirie got ready to take the stage. Donned in a short, flouncy skirt and her signature Jeffrey Campbell shoes, her smile was infectious as she opened with "Give Me" from her self-titled album. It was hard not to grin with her as she sang and danced through "Woman Comes First", "Turn Me On" and "I Wanna Be" among other hits. She closed the set with her popular debut single "Sensi Boy," prompting the crowd to join in on the chorus.
As the lights dimmed a mashup of hits began to play, culminating with a Bob Marley tune. The fans went nuts as The Green made their way onto the stage lead by frontman Caleb Keolanui. They didn't waste any time, jumping right into fan-favorites "Hold Me Tight" and "Alone". Their traditional Hawaiian roots shone through with their infectious, reggae beats. Keolanui proudly threw the Shaka sign in the air multiple times during the set, with the crowd mimicking with their own hands.
The 2014 Na Hoku Hanohano group of the year's show was full of nonstop action as they covered numerous hits from their 3 full length albums including "Come In", "Gotta Be" and "Love & Affection". To remind fans of how far they have come, they closed the set with "Wake Up" and "Rootsie Roots" from their self-titled effort, which won iTunes Best Reggae Album of the Year in 2010.
If you closed your eyes at all during the show, you could easily imagine yourself feeling the sand between your toes. For one night you were transported from a small venue in Northern California to a beach in Oahu.