Shedding a bit of sunshine onto the cold, grey streets of New York City this past Monday, Hawaiian roots-reggae band, The Green, got everyone’s week off to a lively start. As part of their “Chocolate & Roses Tour,” the band managed to pack Gramercy Theatre with throngs of enthusiastic revelers looking to leave their worries at the door.
The band’s fusion of traditional island music with elements of pop, and roots-reggae created the perfect mix to attract an extremely diverse crowd. The four singers in the group, Caleb Keolanui, JP Kennedy, Ikaika Antone and Zion Thompson all possessed powerful voices that held enough variation between each that when they switched off singing lead on songs, it kept their sound fresh. On the song “Wake Up,” from their 2010 self-titled album, which was also impressively named iTunes Best Reggae Album of The Year; the harmonies were especially crisp and beautiful, coupled with driving bass that I could feel in my chest from the back of the venue.
The band also had great stage presence and banter. They joked about getting tattoos in the green room and while I thought the weather was quite balmy at 38 degrees, they quipped it’s the coldest weather they’ve seen yet. They were all very excited to purchase proper winter coats, so I’m glad they were able have that experience in my fair city.
Other highlights included a wonderful sing-a-long during “I’m Yours,” fellow reggae band New Kingston joining them onstage for a song, and a killer cover of Minnie Riperton’s classic “Lovin’ You” that had the crowd slow dancing until the last note.
The Green’s unique blend of music styles culminated in a show that was shockingly lively for a Monday night in February, a true testament of their talent and loyal fanbase.
Of course, part of the reason is attributed to opening band, Through The Roots, hailing from San Diego. Getting the crowd off to a early start, the band played surprisingly danceable tracks, which were quite rock and pop influenced, created what they dubbed a “cali-roots” sound, but still grounded enough in traditional reggae music to maintain it’s authenticity.
Article by: Lesley Keller