Written By: Brian Winters
All the way from San Diego, CA, Through The Roots brought their high-energy brand of reggae rock to midtown's American Beauty during a stop on their Bloodshot Eyes Fall Tour. Through The Roots was joined by Sun-Dried Vibes, a trio out of South Carolina, and local favorites CC Roots.
CC Roots, formerly Cecilia Celeste, began the night with a hybrid clash of reggae, progressive rock, and blues. Despite their name, the Jersey City based group is as much a jam band as they are a roots band. The six-piece band had a killer rhythm section, a pair of impressive guitarist, and a jack-of-all trades musician playing everything from harmonica to trumpet. Paying homage to both Peter Tosh and Chuck Berry, CC Roots closed out their opening set by playing a tight rendition of “Johnny B. Goode.”
Next, Sun-Dried Vibes took the stage and delivered a huge sound with just a guitar, bass, and drum-kit. Lead singer Zach Fowler's voice was outstanding, every line ringing out loud and crisp. Quite far from their hometown of Fort Mill, SC, Sun-Dried Vibes had a small, but devout group of fans hanging on to every word. Sun-Dried Vibes set consisted mainly of songs from their 2014 album Back2Square1, including “Nugg It,” “Irie Vibes,” and “Young One,” but the track “Trouble” off their debut album Give Thanks (2011) was a definite highlight. Sun-Dried Vibes have been steadily gaining hype as one of the top emerging reggae rock acts on the East Coast, and they definitely lived up to expectation.
Finally, headliners Through The Roots joined in on the action. In past visits to New York, Through The Roots has opened for reggae rock giants Tribal Seeds and Rebelution, but as the main act they were able to play an extended mixture of both early and new material. Through The Roots started with “Fed Up,” a killer track off the band's 2011 EP Here To Stay. The next song was “On This Vibe,” which stood out for it's floor shaking bass. TTR continued with one for the ladies in “Miss Lovely,” then moved on to “Bigger Than You & Me,” “Take You There,” “Weekend,” and “Slow Down.” Lead singer and frontman Evan Hawkins has a super smooth voice and a knack for coming up with catchy choruses that combine elements of pop and reggae rock.
The second half of the set included “Dancing In The Rain,” the band's newest track “Bloodshot Eyes,” and Through The Root's earliest hit “Here To Stay.” Through The Roots closed things off with “Higher” and “Bear With Me,” a song written with Eric Rachmany of Rebelution.
American Beauty has been booking a ton of young, up-and-coming reggae rock acts lately, and this night continued that trend. Through The Roots, has made a quick transition from head-turning opening act to a headlining reggae rock force, and Sun-Dried Vibes is easily one of the most promising bands on the East Coast. Don't sleep on CC Roots either, the local group has an impressive sound that straddles both the reggae and jam scenes.