With as much fervor as a tropical storm, Iration’s Hawaiian Punch Tour blew through The Catalyst Thursday. Fans were in for a treat as the night promised good vibes, talented musicians and even a special guest.
As the sky darkened and the venue filled, Hours Eastly took the stage first. With a sound more like New Found Glory than Bob Marley, the Florida-based trio kept the crowd on their feet with their pop punk and reggae influenced tunes. Not only was their sound unique, but they were also fronted by a singing bass player; a departure from the typical guitar-playing vocalist. This idea of uniqueness became a theme throughout the night as the storm raged on.
It was a family affair as the brothers of New Kingston emerged from the shadows for their set. Joined on stage by their father, they blew the crowd away with their reggae and R&B fusion. It was abundantly clear that musical ability ran in the family, as each sibling had their own unique voice and was proficient on their instrument. Their dad even showed his talent by trading his bass for some bongos halfway through the set. You couldn’t deny the band’s passion, especially watching their drummer, who seemed like he was in another world as he was consumed by the music. Though the influence of their reggae forefathers was apparent, New Kingston’s sound was all their own as they harmonized for “Honorable” to finish the set.
In a flurry of darkness followed by flashing lights Iration appeared, sending the crowd “Reelin.” Like a tsunami, they kept the hits flowing with “Turn Around” and “Wait and See” barely giving fans a chance to gasp for air. There was no doubt the “Electricity” in the venue was palpable as the crowd sang along to the song from their 2008 EP. The mood was right as we were transported to a beach in Hawaii, thinking about those “Summer Nights.” Paying tribute to the Rasta culture that inspired their name, they also threw in a cover of “Is This Love” by Bob Marley.
Taking advantage of the Santa Cruz reggae scene, Iration brought out The Expendables’ Geoff Weers to join them for a “Bowl for Two.” The entire crowd joined the effervescent singer for the chorus, ending the night on a high note before Iration left the stage.
Fans weren’t given much time to take cover, as the band reemerged to drop an explosive encore. Dedicating their chart-topping hit to all the “Time Bombs” in Santa Cruz, the sound of the crowd’s approval was deafening. There was no need to cut the wires as they caused the venue to detonate, leaving glassy eyes and sore throats in their wake. As fans stumbled from the wreckage one thing was for sure, Iration stayed true to their tour name by delivering a punch to the face we wouldn’t mind taking over and over again.