There’s something about Iration that inspires the Sierra Nevada heavens to break open and pour forth.
Perhaps it’s a Time Bomb that the band unleashes on the way up the hill. Perhaps it’s a reggae-inspired blessing designed to bust the drought. Whatever it is, Iration is right in the middle of it.
In June, the band headlined the annual Tahoe Reggae Festival, which was interrupted by an ominous thunderstorm that brought lightening cracking within a mile of the outdoor concert at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The storm chased rain-soaked fans indoors for more than an hour before reggae pioneer Don Carlos, roots-rapper Matisyahu and Iration closed the show beneath clouds of ganja and a fine mountain mist.
On Wednesday night, a blizzard struck Northern Nevada while Iration delivered a Hawaiian Punch to an enthusiastic, sold-out crowd at the Cargo in Reno. By the time it ended, the summit passes between Reno and Tahoe were pretty much impassable — unless you happened to be piloting a snow plow.
“Let’s rage,” said Micah Pueschel, Iration’s lead singer. “We have the day off tomorrow.”
It was plenty toasty inside the Whitney Peak Hotel venue downtown as Iration sang of moon-lit summer nights. An artist painted a parrot’s portrait, and fans jockeyed for position, vying for a spot near the stage.
Opening bands New Kingston from Brooklyn, New York, and fellow Hawaiian natives Pepper fired up 1,000 rasta lovers before Iration took the reins.
New Kingston, featuring brothers Tahir (keyboards), Stephen (guitar), and drummer Courtney Jr. Panton — and their dad Faddah P on bass — provided a high-energy opening set capped with the thoughts “We are who we are… I’m a rebel.”
Pepper salted the crowd with several songs from its new album, “Start You Up,” and dreamed about “going on vacation.” (The vacation probably started with chain installation for the tour vans and trailer before the Hawaiian Punch Tour could take aim on Seattle.)
Prior to the Reno stop, Pueschel credited Pepper for helping to teach its brothers from Iration how to take a reggae show on the road.
“They were the first band from the Big Island to make it on the mainland and become a national touring act. They took us on own first big tour in 2008. They laid the groundwork for us and were kind of our role models and big brothers…” Pueschel told Tahoe Onstage.
The Pepper players, Kaleo Wassman on guitar, Brett Bollinger on bass and Yessom Williams on drums, clearly were having good times interacting with the Cargo crowd, which responded in kind before the bands’ roles reversed and Iration closed the show.
Pueschel and bandmates Joe Dickens (drums), Adam Taylor (bass), Cayson Peterson (keyboards), Micah Brown (guitar) and King (dub controls), provided their positive vibrations and — on cue — plenty of precipitation fluttered down outside.
- Hawaiian Punch Tour
Iration, Pepper, New Kingston
Feb. 19 – Seattle (Sold out)
Feb. 20 – Portland (Sold out)
Feb. 21 – Eugene
Feb. 24 – Spokane
Feb. 25 – Boise
Feb. 26 – Boise
Feb. 27 – Billings
Feb. 28 – Bozeman
March 2 – Laramie
March 3 – Aspen
March 4 – Denver
- Hotting Up Tour
Iration, HIRIE and The Expanders
(Amp Live is on the tour March 30-April 8)
March 30 – Grand Theatre, Lawrence, Kansas
March 31 – Majestic Theatre, Madison, Wisconsin
April 1 – House of Blues, Chicago
April 2 – Varsity Theatre, Minneapolis
April 5 – The Intersection, Grand Rapids, Michigan
April 6 – Newport Music Hall, Columbus
April 7 – Rochester, New York
April 8 – Webster Hall, New York
April 9 – Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel, Providence, Rhode Island
April 12 – The National, Richmond, Virginia
April 13 – Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, North Carolina
April 14 – Greenfield Amphitheater, Wilmington, North Carolina
April 15 – Greenfield Amphitheater, Wilmington, North Carolina
April 16 – Variety Playhouse, Atlanta
April 19 – Music Farm, Charleston South Carolina
April 20 – The Orange Reel, Asheville, North Carolina
April 21 – Maverick’s, Jacksonville, Florida
April 22 – House of Blues, Orlando, Florida
April 23 – Vinyl Music Hall, Pensacola, Florida