(Reno Nev) Sunday March 6, 2016 Reggae rockers Stick Figure along with Jamaica’s most promising band Raging Fyah packed the Cargo Concert Hall Reno located inside the Whitney Peak Hotel in downtown Reno. This was to be a three band show, but unfortunately Fortunate Youth ran into some bad weather coming over hill and missed the gig. Attendance for the show was very good with well over seven hundred reggae fans there who danced and sang along to nearly every song.
This Examiner doesn’t go to many reggae shows, it certainly is not what I’m used to (I’m a rock and roll kinda guy). One of the things I noticed,was everyone there seemed so happy and mellow, it was like they all knew each other before the show. There was not a bad vibe in the house. I don’t know for sure, but it might have been something everyone was smoking before or during the show. There was a very strange smell in the air outside the venue, it smelled kinda like a skunk got ran over nearby or something, I’m not really sure, I can’t remember seeing any skunk’s in the area.
The show started a little bit late due to the weather coming over the hill, but nobody seemed to care. Raging Fyah started things off with what can only be called a great show opener. This is the band’s first U.S.tour.
Regarded as one of Jamaica’s most promising young acts, the band Raging Fyah makes music that is tethered to their island’s enduring, much emulated roots rock reggae tradition yet is distinguished by an expansive vision that propels their musical journey forward.
The band received critical acclaim for the intricate harmonies, nuanced musicianship and impressive songwriting skills showcased on their previous self-released albums, Judgement Day (2011) and Destiny (2014), while songs such as the redemptive “Nah Look Back” and the spiritually enriching “Jah Glory” earned comparisons to legendary reggae outfits including England’s Aswad and Steel Pulse, and Jamaica’s beloved Third World.
One of few self contained groups (as opposed an artist’s backing band) within contemporary Jamaican music, Raging Fyah is now poised for a significant impact upon America’s vast reggae landscape (dominated by homegrown bands) with the Spring 2016 release of Everlasting, their debut album for VP Records’ Dub Rockers imprint. Recorded live at Kingston’s legendary Tuff Gong Studios producer Llamar “Riff Raff” Brown (whose credits include Stephen and Damian Marley, Richie Spice, T.O.K and 2016 Grammy Award winners Morgan Heritage) incorporates broad based influences, various acoustic subtleties, and a few guest artists, all of which enhances as well as expands Raging Fyah’s established reggae identity.
Current members are, Kumar Bent (lead vocals, guitar), Delroy Hamilton (bass), Anthony Watson (drums), Courtland White (guitar), Demar Gayle (keyboard 1) and Andre Dennis (keyboard 2).
The band got nearly 60 minutes to show why they are headed to the top of the reggae charts, unfortunately there was no set list on stage.
These guys from Jamaica really know how to get a show started, the band never lost touch with the audience throughout the entire performance. The fans in attendance seemed to really know just about every song they played, they have a huge following for never having played in the U.S. before. After the show it was hard to tell just who the headliner was, they were that good. If you’re a fan of reggae music, you won’t want to miss Raging Fyah the next time they come through town, next time as the headliner I’m sure.
Headlining the show was a homegrown American reggae band from Southern California, Stick Figure. This band was the reason everyone came to Cargo in the first place.
Stick Figure is an American reggae and dub band based in Southern California. The group has released five full-length albums, all of which were written and produced by frontman Scott Woodruff, a singer-songwriter who until 2009 was based in Massachusetts.
In 2012 Woodruff released the fifth Stick Figure album, Burial Ground, to critical acclaim. The album reached no. 1 on the iTunes and Billboard Reggae charts. The band began touring with a new line up after the release of Burial Ground and has since toured throughout the United States with reggae groups such as Rebelution, The Green, Passafire, Tribal Seeds, The Expendables and now Raging Fyah.
The current line-up includes, Scott Woodruff (vocals, guitar), Kevin Bong (keyboards), Tommy Suliman (bass), Johnny Cosmic aka John Gray (keyboards, backup vocals & guitar) and Kevin Offitzer (drums).
The headlining set went around ninety minutes and went like this (from the set list on stage),
“Welcome Intro,” “Breathe,” “Fire On The Horizon,” “White Fire / Latin,” “Vibes Alive,” “Thick N Thin,” “Heartland,” “Shadow,” “Shelter,” “Sound Of The Sea,” “Mind block,” “Weary Eyes,” “Burial Ground”, “Coming Home”, “Choice Is Yours”, “Cosmic Intro”, “Weight Of Sound,” “Hawaii Song” and three encore songs, “Songs Of Yesterday,” “Smiles On Faces” and “Smokin Love.”
This is not the first time this examiner has been to a Stick Figure show before, I went the last time they came through Reno and from what I can remember, this show was bigger and better than the last one. The guys really fine tuned their set from what I could hear.
There was one thing about this show that really bothered me and I feel I have to mention it. As a photographer, I really can’t understand why some of the national bands (like this one) that come through Reno don’t let the venue’s own house lighting tech run the lights, he knows what’s up with the lighting they have. Instead the band uses their own guy, who knows nothing about the venue’s system and really blows the whole set by letting his band play basically in the dark. Maybe that’s their plan, I really don’t know. What I do know is that Cargo has one of the best, if not the best lighting guys in town with Justin Bell. Not only did he set up the 300 (+) thousand dollar lighting system they have, but he knows how to use it. The difference between Raging Fyah’s lighting (which Bell did) and Stick Figure’s lighting (which their guy did) was like night & day in difference. Okay, my lighting rant is finished.
This Examiner can truthfully say that being a hard core rock and roller, I really did enjoy myself at this reggae show, the people in attendance were all awesome and very friendly with everyone.
Both bands did an incredible job and I’m sure all the fans that were there will remember it for some time to come. If you missed this one, you really missed a good one.
A great time was had by all.
There is no way that anybody can say anything bad about the Cargo Concert Hall Reno, they have really stepped it up and are bringing bigger and better bands with every show they book. To see who’s next at Cargo (click here). To see all the photos from Raging Fyah at this show (click here).
All Photos by JOHN TUCKNESS
As with all this Examiners reviews and feature stories, “The Photos Are What It’s All About”, so check out the photo slideshow and enjoy the show.
Support your local bands and venues … Go To A Show.