Thursday, August 16, 2012
Back in May, the third annual California Roots Music & Arts Festival brought nearly 20,000 people to the Fairgrounds for a two-day event headlined by Pepper and SOJA. Saturday’s California Roots Summer Mix-Up – a scaled-down version of the spring event – may not be as large as its brother, but the vibes will enjoy similar genes.
Headliner Tribal Seeds – started by brothers Tony-Ray “T-Ray” (keyboardist/producer) and Steven Rene Jacobo (lead singer/rhythm guitarist) – have been a rock-reggae-roots favorite since their self-titled debut, which won “Best World Music” at the 2008 San Diego Music Awards. The six-piece has shared the stage with everyone from Jane’s Addiction to MGMT to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Bringing spiritual and political – and sometimes controversial – messages to the music contributes to the Seeds’ success.
“We are searching for truth,” T-Ray says. “Standing up for what is right – and [for] love.”
On the straightforward “Vampire,” the Seeds showcase their distrust: “The system is a vampire, system is a vampire/ Hiring assassinators, lies of a murderer/ Vampire, bound-to-fall empire.”
T-Ray elaborates: “Rebellion makes you an individual and steers you from having media, politics (and) money drive you into the ground.”
Their most recent release Soundwaves is an EP (featuring Eric Rachmany of Rebelution) the band made specifically to thank their supporters.
“We meet a lot of the fans that have a deep connection to the music,” T-Ray says. “We’ve met a few that get lyrics tattooed. We feel blessed to have people take something from it.”
Soundwaves’ spacey title track is full of affection: “I want to feel your love, I want to feel the high/ Raise us above dirtiness in our lives.”
The Seeds have taken a break from touring to work on an album they expect to release before year’s end.
“We feel like we’re growing as artists and songwriters,” T-Ray says. “We’re stoked about the new stuff.”
Hawaiian natives The Green – who performed Cali Roots back in May – also tasted success early on: Their self-titled debut made the Top 10 in Billboard’s 2010 year-end reggae chart and was iTunes’ Reggae Album of the Year. The quartet also scored at home with Best Reggae Album at the 2011 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. Their follow-up, Ways and Means, spent four weeks at the top of Billboard’s reggae chart.
The Green’s fusion of classic dub roots, modern pop and odes to indigenous Hawaiian tunes delivers tracks like R&B-heavy “Love & Affection” – which has racked up more than 130,000 views on YouTube and rocks steady with a combo of soul and native rhythms.
Thrive, Just Chill, One-A-Chord, The Closeouts, Keep it Lit, Bigga Happiness Sound, and Salinas’ favorite reggae source, Wasted Noise, also perform.
CALIFORNIA ROOTS SUMMER MIX-UP happens 2pm Saturday, Aug. 18, at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, 2004 Fairgrounds Road, Monterey. $29.25. www.cal-roots.com.